The Big 12 released its preseason media poll on Thursday and it features a high-profile spot for the Kansas State Wildcats and a long-awaited rise for the Kansas Jayhawks.
K-State was picked second in this year’s preseason poll, with KU checking in at No. 9.
The only team ahead of K-State this year is the Texas Longhorns, the expected Big 12 title favorites who received 41 of the 67 available first-place votes. The Wildcats had the second-most with 14 first-place votes while no other team had more than four (though four schools received at least one vote). K-State enters the 2023 season as the reigning conference champions, and this marks the highest preseason poll position for the Wildcats since the Big 12 got rid of divisions before the 2011 season.
As for the Jayhawks, the last time they were picked anything but last place in the preseason poll was the final year of the Big 12’s divisional format, 2010. The UCF Knights, newcomers to the Big 12 this year, edged out KU for eighth place in the poll by just two points, with a sizable gap between Kansas and the 10th-place pick, the Iowa State Cyclones. Fresh off the program’s first bowl game appearance since 2008, KU has the most returning experience in the country per Phil Steele’s 2023 College Football Preview.
After Texas and K-State, the rest of the top five in the poll includes the Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Tech Red Raiders and the TCU Horned Frogs, the latter of whom reached the College Football Playoff National Championship last season. UCF is highest-ranked team among the four conference newcomers this year. The BYU Cougars, Houston Cougars and Cincinnati Bearcats are all ranked 11-13, all edging out the last-place West Virginia Mountaineers.
The full Big 12 preseason poll can be seen below, with first-place votes in parentheses.
1. Texas (41)
2. KANSAS STATE (14)
3. Oklahoma (4)
4. Texas Tech (4)
5. TCU (3)
7. Oklahoma State (1)
10. Iowa State
14. West Virginia