Defending Big 12 champ Baylor tabbed preseason favorite

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IRVING, Texas — Defending Big 12 champion Baylor has been tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the conference title again, based on a poll of media who cover the league.

It is the first time Baylor has been favored in the preseason vote. Coach Dave Aranda‘s Bears got 17 of the 41 first-place votes in the poll released Thursday.

Oklahoma was picked second ahead of Oklahoma State, which lost 21-16 to Baylor in the Big 12 championship game last December. Baylor and Oklahoma State were both 12-2 last season, while the Sooners were 11-2.

Texas junior running back Bijan Robinson, who ran for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, was named the preseason offensive player of the year in the media vote.

Kansas State junior linebacker Felix Anudike-Uzomah was picked as the top defender and Oklahoma junior quarterback Dillon Gabriel the best newcomer.

Anudike-Uzomah had 11 sacks and 14 1/2 tackles for loss last year. Gabriel transferred from UCF to Oklahoma after throwing for 8,037 yards and 70 touchdowns in 26 games with the Golden Knights.

The Sooners were picked as the preseason favorite each of the past six years. They saw their run of six consecutive conference titles end last season when they didn’t make the Big 12 title game.

Oklahoma got 12 first-place votes. Oklahoma State got nine and Texas, picked fourth, got two. Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas rounded out the poll. Iowa State got the final first-place vote.

The Big 12 will be the first Power Five conference to conduct its football media days this summer. Its two-day session begins Wednesday with the introductory news conference for Brett Yormark, the conference’s incoming commissioner.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.