TCU has been picked to finish fifth in this year’s Big 12 football standings, based on Thursday’s preseason poll of media members who regularly cover the league.
Oklahoma, the two-time defending league champion, earned the favorite’s role by capturing 19 of 32 available first-place votes. The remaining teams in the top five of the media poll, with first-place votes, included Oklahoma State (12), Kansas State (1), Texas and TCU.
Thursday’s poll was not surprising to TCU coach Gary Patterson, whose team’s highest preseason projection this summer came from Lindy’s College Football National Preview. The magazine pegged the Horned Frogs, a 6-7 team last season, to finish third in the league and No. 20 in nation.
TCU returns 16 starters, tying Texas and Oklahoma for the most among Big 12 teams, and Patterson acknowledged he will not lost sleep over being picked to finish fifth in this year’s poll.
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“In 2014, when we tied for the conference title, we were picked sixth,” said Patterson, adding that breakthrough seasons that year by quarterback Trevone Boykin, receiver Josh Doctson and others helped the Frogs surprise outsiders. “I really like this group. I’m hoping we have some more surprises.”
The history to rebound from disappointing seasons has been part of TCU’s DNA during the Patterson era. The Frogs have failed to post a winning record in only four of Patterson’s 16 seasons as head coach, including last year. In the first three instances, TCU rebounded to post a conference title the next season with strong bounceback years in 2002, 2005 and 2014.
Following TCU, in poll order, were West Virginia, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Kansas. The poll was released one day after the Frogs landed four players on Wednesday’s All-Big 12 preseason team: center Austin Schlottmann, kick returner KaVontae Turpin, linebacker Travin Howard and safety Nick Orr.
Only Texas and Oklahoma, with five selections each, placed more players on the 29-member squad than TCU. The annual Big 12 football media days are scheduled Monday and Tuesday in Frisco.
Big 12 preseason poll
2. Oklahoma State
6. West Virginia
8. Texas Tech
9. Iowa State