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neal brownie

WVU football coach Neal Brown

The Big 12’s media thinks West Virginia University’s football team has some work to do.

The conference released its preseason media poll Friday afternoon, and voters picked the Mountaineers to finish eighth among the Big 12’s 10 teams. It’s the same spot West Virginia found itself in the 2019 preseason poll. WVU finished seventh in the conference last season in coach Neal Brown’s first year running the team.

WVU returns 14 starters, two quarterbacks with starting experience and the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in defensive lineman Darius Stills. Yet the Mountaineers also have to find a way to improve on a scoring offense and rushing offense that was among the worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2019.

Oklahoma was picked for the fifth straight year to finish first in the conference. It’s also the eighth time since 2011 that the Sooners were picked to finish first. OU has won a record 13 Big 12 titles, including the last five.

The Sooners picked up 80 of the 90 first-place votes in the poll. Second-place Oklahoma State, which returns All-America running back and Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Chuba Hubbard, earned six of the remaining first-place votes. Texas, which returns quarterback Sam Ehlinger, came in third and scored the last four first-place votes.

Iowa State, which returns quarterback Brock Purdy, was picked to finish fourth. Baylor, which played for the Big 12 championship last season but lost head coach Matt Rhule to the Carolina Panthers, was picked to finish fifth. TCU and Kansas State — both of which lost to WVU last season — were picked to finish sixth and seventh, respectively.

Behind WVU, Texas Tech was picked to finish ninth and Kansas was picked to finish last.

Contact Derek Redd at 304-348-1712 or derek.redd@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.