Odds to Win Title
The Big 12 looked to be doomed as we headed into the offseason with Texas and Oklahoma looking to bolt, joining those who left the year before, Nebraska and Colorado, as well as Missouri and Texas A&M who left this year. But the Big 12, with 10 teams, is alive and well for at least another year. They picked up TCU and West Virginia in the process which should make for an interesting year in 2012. College football will continue to change over the next couple of years. Those of us who like the long time traditions and rivalries are just going to have to get used to it. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders in this years version of the Big 12.
Oklahoma – You’d have to put the Sooners at the top of the pack in the Big 12. The Sooners have won 11 or more Games in 7 of the last 10 years with their worst years being a pair of 8 win seasons. They return 8 starters on offense and 7 on defense to a 10 win team. Among the returning starters will be QB LAndry Jones. The Sooners GAve up a bucket load of points in their 3 losses last year, 41 to Texas Tech, 45 to Baylor and 44 to Oklahoma State, so there’s still some coNCern on the defensive side of the ball. You can be sure opposing offensive coordinators will be watching tapes of those Games! Three Games to watch will be their road Games against Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU. Those 3 Games will likely define the Sooners season.
Texas – The Longhorns return 9 starters to the offense iNCluding QB’s David Ash and Case McCoy, and 6 starters to the defense, but the Long Horns have some work to do. There are some GAps that need to be closed before we are ready to list the Longhorns as contenders. Specifically, losing 55-17 to Oklahoma and 48-24 to Baylor. We could also throw in their 38-26 loss to Oklahoma State. When you lose by those margins, to the best teams in the conference, not to mention losses to Missouri and Kansas State, and very close Games with just about everyone else, it’s hard to make a case for Texas to be sitting on top in the Big 12 this year. They’ll start the year 3-0, but then things get tough the rest of the way with the only Game we’d give them an automatic win being against Kansas. This looks like an 8 or 9 win team.
Oklahoma State – The Cowboys missed out on the National Title Game due to a 37-31 loss to Iowa State in their 2nd to last Game of the year. They got it done with their high powered offense which unfortunately returns just 4 starters and lost QB Brandon Weeden. Very difficult to see them coming close to last year’s success. The first half of their Schedule is the easy half. If they can get by Texas, they could start 6-0. But then the fun starts with their final 6 Games as they face TCU, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor. Should be interesting. We’ll give the Cowboys a shot at 9 wins.
West Virginia – The Mountaineers begin Big 12 play this year and are sure to get each teams best effort as their “Welcome to the Big 12 tOur” progresses. It’s tough to predict how West Virginia will perform against Big 12 competition. West Virginia was 10-3 last year but it’s not as if they dominated their Big East opponents. There were plenty of close Games that could have gone either way, most of them in fact, not to mention losses to Syracuse and Louisville and of course, getting blown out in their toughest test of the year, 41-27 to LSU. They did however, whip Clemson in the Orange Bowl, 70-33, and return 8 starters to that offense.
TCU – Looking forward to watching TCU in the Big 12. TCU has had some fantastic seasons over the last decade but it’s safe to say that run is over. Not that TCU won’t have a good team and won’t be able to compete in the Big 12, they will. However, their biggest knock over the years has been their Schedule, specifically, the strength of it. That will no longer be an issue and it will be interesting to see how they do. It’s one thing to step up in class oNCe or twice a year. It’s quite another to step up in class, or play at that level, many weeks in a row. A 5 Game stretch to end the year with road Games at Oklahoma State, WVA and Texas and home Games against Kansas State and Oklahoma will likely take their toll on this team.
Elsewhere, Kansas State returns 14 starters to a 10 win team, Baylor loses RG3 and Texas Tech is loaded with returning starters but to a 5 win team. Iowa State and Kansas figure to have typical Iowa State and Kansas years.
Listed below are the current odds to win the Big 12 Football Championship, courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbook. The best value on the board looks to be Kansas State at 22 to 1. They were 10-3 a year ago and return a healthy number of starters and are coached by a proven winner in Bill Snyder. They went toe to toe with everyone but Oklahoma last year, a 58-17 loss, so a talent GAp exists and their road Schedule, iNCluding the Sooners, looks tough. But 22 to 1 worth a shot.
West Virginia +500
Oklahoma State +800
Kansas State +2200
Texas Tech +3300
Iowa State +8500