Tyler Palmateer/The Norman TranscriptOklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley sits down with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt earlier this month. The Sooners were picked No. 1 in the Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll.

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s third consecutive conference championship is imminent, according to reporters who cover the league.

That’s been a trend lately.

The Sooners are No. 1 in the Big 12 preseason media poll for the fifth time since 2011. They have captured a Big 12-record 10 league titles, including the last two. Their lowest projection since the league was reduced to 10 teams was third in 2015.

OU earned 19 of 32 first-place votes. Oklahoma State was picked second with 12 first-place votes. Kansas State is third and received a first-place vote.

Texas and TCU rounded out the top five followed by West Virginia, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Kansas.

The Sooners open the season Sept. 2 at home against UTEP, equipped with 16 total returning starters, including five preseason All-Big 12 candidates. Among them is quarterback Baker Mayfield, the conference preseason offensive player of the year and 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist.

The Sooners welcome back 16 starters from offense and defense, including senior quarterback Baker Mayfield, a 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist. Mayfield repeated as the Conference’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

Head coaches and select student-athletes will converge in Frisco, Texas, July 17-18 for the annual Big 12 Football Media Days.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.