BIG XII teams fill three of top five spots

Saturday, August 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ The Big 12 goes into this season boasting three of the five top teams in the country, according to The Associated Press preseason top 25 released Saturday.

Defending national champion Oklahoma is ranked third, followed by Nebraska at fourth and Texas at fifth.

Kansas State, at 13th, is the conference's fourth and final team in the top 25. Colorado, Texas A&M, Iowa State and Kansas all were among teams receiving votes.

While the Big 12 doesn't have the most teams in the Top 25 _ that goes to the Southeastern Conference, with six _ it is arguably the strongest league with so many teams ranked so high. Four of the six SEC teams are ranked 14th or lower. The SEC also has the No. 1 team in Florida.

Oklahoma, which has 16 starters back from the last year's squad that went 13-0 and won the school's seventh national title, received 10 of the 72 first-place votes.

Nebraska was No. 1 on four ballots and Texas got the top spot on five lists.

The Longhorns have the second-easiest schedule among ranked teams as their foes' winning percentage from last year is .468. Only No. 24 Colorado State (.458) has an easier road. Texas' only ranked opponent is Oklahoma.

Kansas State has one of the toughest schedules as its foes had a .579 winning percentage last season.

Oklahoma plays Kansas State at home on Sept. 29. The next week, the Sooners travel to Dallas for the annual game against Texas. Three weeks later, OU will be at Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers and Wildcats play Nov. 10 in Lincoln.

The Big 12 title game _ pitting the champions of the North and South divisions _ will be Dec. 1 at Texas Stadium in Irving.

Colorado received the second-most votes of teams missing the Top 25, making it the 27th-best vote-getter. Texas A&M was 34th and Iowa State and Kansas tied at 46th. There were 54 teams receiving points.

In the 2000 postseason poll, Oklahoma was No. 1, Nebraska was No. 8, Kansas State was No. 9 and Texas was No. 12.