New coach, new quarterback, similar position.
The Big 12 Conference released its annual preseason media football poll on Wednesday, and Kansas University was picked to finish fourth in the North.
The preseason prediction marks the third time in the last five years the Jayhawks have been penciled into that position and the first since 2007. That year, the Jayhawks finished second in the North — 12-1 overall — and went on to win the Orange Bowl, knocking off Virginia Tech, 24-21, in the school’s first appearance in a BCS bowl game.
KU was picked second heading into each of the last two seasons, but fell short of those expectations, finishing third in 2008 (at 4-4) and sixth a season ago (at 1-7).
It’s instances such as those that leave first-year KU coach Turner Gill skeptical about rankings in July.
“I do not get excited about preseason picks,” Gill said. “It’s all about being productive on the field.”
The Jayhawks received 70 points in this year’s voting, nine points behind Kansas State, which was picked to finish third. Nebraska, in what is likely to be its final season in the conference, was the media’s unanimous pick to win the North, securing 156 points and all 26 first-place votes.
Missouri (125) was picked second, with Colorado (fifth, 61) and Iowa State (sixth, 55) rounding out the division.
The voting in the South was closer, as Oklahoma edged out Texas for the top spot. Bob Stoops’ Sooners received 146 points and 16 first-place votes. Mack Brown’s Longhorns racked up 140 points and 10 first-place votes.
Texas A&M; (97), Texas Tech (68), Oklahoma State (53) and Baylor (42) rounded out the South.