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July 23, 2009

Huskers picked as Big 12 North preseason favorite

While there's still plenty of debate over whom the Big 12 North Division favorite should be entering the 2009-10 season, the conference's media have thrown in their two cents to help settle the issue.

The Big 12 Conference announced its preseason football poll on Thursday, and Nebraska has been tabbed to win the North after receiving 17-of-32 first-place votes and a total of 172 points. The Huskers edged out Kansas, who followed right behind with 12 first-place votes and 164 points.

Missouri, the only other North team to receive any first-place votes with three, was picked third, and Colorado, Kansas State and Iowa State all followed up to round out the division.

Though they tied with 174 points, Texas edged out Oklahoma with 17 first-place votes in the South Division to OU's 15. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor and Texas A&M made up the rest of the projected South standings, respectively.

For Nebraska, the selection marks the first time since 2006 that it's been tabbed the North favorite since 2006, when the Huskers went on to win the division and play Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. Overall, NU has been picked to win the North eight times since the conference was created in 1996, and has gone on to win the division title four times.

Last season the Huskers were picked third in the North in the preseason media poll, but ended up posting a 9-4 record and a share of the division title with Missouri. However, the Tigers went on to play in the conference championship because they won via tiebreaker.

The debate for most of the offseason was how much Nebraska's inexperience at certain positions - specifically quarterback and wide receiver - would impact their chances at making another Big 12 title run. Many argued that Kansas should be the early favorite because it's the only team in the division to return its starting quarterback from last season in senior Todd Reesing.

Even Missouri got some consideration on the point that even though it lost a ton of talent from last year, especially on offense, it's new starters this season would be more than capable of picking up the slack.

However, in the end the Big 12's media decided that even with some question marks on their roster, the Huskers the team seemingly the most poised to represent the North in the conference championship.

The Big 12 plans to release the results of its preseason All-Big 12 Team on Friday.



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