Texas has 17 starters back from last year's 11-1 squad that won the Rose Bowl and finished runner-up to national title game participant Oklahoma in the Big 12 South. The Longhorns tallied 40 first place votes (out of a possible 50 media ballots) in the poll. Defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma (9 votes) was chosen second followed by Texas A&M (one first-place vote), Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Colorado returns 18 starters from last year's Big 12 North championship team that went 8-5 and won the EV1.net Houston Bowl against UTEP, 33-28. The Buffs received 25 first place votes. Iowa State was picked second followed by Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State and Kansas. Every team but Kansas in the mediocre Big 12 North received a first place vote for the division title.
Both Texas and Colorado are looking to fill the cleats of a standout running back who etched his name in his program's record book. Texas is looking to sophomore RB Ramonce Taylor or junior RB Selvin Young as the heir apparent to Doak Walker winning RB Cedric Benson, who finished his collegiate career as the Horns' No. 2 all-time rusher and as the No. 6 leading rusher in college football history. Meanwhile, the Buffs look to replace Bobby Purify, who finished as the program's No. 3 all-time rusher.
Both programs have early non-conference showdowns that shape up as a barometer to the strength of this year's team. Texas, of course, has that Sept. 10 tilt at Ohio State that is clearly the intersectional game of the year while Colorado travels to Miami to face the 'Canes two weeks later.
The Big 12 South title should once again be decided the second Saturday in October. The media panelists give Texas the nod over arch-rival Oklahoma because the Sooners are replacing Heisman-winning QB Jason White, All-American WR Mark Clayton, Outland Trophy-winning OT Jammal Brown, plus seven defensive starters from 2004. Colorado has the edge in the North because, well, somebody has to win it and the Buffs get Missouri and Nebraska at home.
The winners of the North and South divisions will square off for the 2005 Big 12 Championship Dec. 3, at Houston's Reliant Stadium. The game will be telecast nationally by ABC at 12 p.m. (CST).
Big 12 teams will be in Houston, Tuesday-Thursday, for the annual Big 12 Football Media Day conference. The regular season gets underway with a full slate of non-conference games on Sept. 3. The Horns open against Louisiana-Lafayette.
2005 Big 12 Media Preseason Football Poll (Media Vote)
1. Texas (40) 287
2. Oklahoma (9) 248
3. Texas A&M (1) 195
4. Texas Tech 162
5. Oklahoma State 104
6. Baylor 51
1. Colorado (25) 257
2. Iowa State (14) 231
3. Nebraska (5) 204
4. Missouri (5) 170
5. Kansas State (1) 111
6. Kansas 78