After narrowly missing a third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Colorado Buffaloes volleyball team apparently will have to play its way back into respectability in the Pac-12 Conference.

On Wednesday, the league released its annual preseason poll of Pac-12 coaches, with the Buffs coming in at No. 7. Junior outside hitter Gabby Simpson was the only CU player named to the preseason All-Pac-12 team.

Stanford received top honors, netting nine of 12 first-place votes. UCLA, Washington, Oregon, and USC rounded out the top five, with sixth-place Arizona finishing with 22 more points than the seventh-place Buffs. CU finished just two points ahead of eighth-place Utah and four ahead of ninth-place Washington State.

While the Cardinal took the top spot in the league's preseason poll, Stanford was tabbed at No. 11 in the preseason national poll released last week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Washington and USC took the top honors from the Pac-12 nationally, beginning the season in a tie at No. 7.

Under first-year head coach Jesse Mahoney, the Buffs open the 2016 season against Texas Tech on Aug. 26 in the Portland State Invitational. CU also will Portland State and Long Beach State before opening the home portion of its schedule against No. 9 Penn State on Sept. 3.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07



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