The new look Big 12 has four new members and two teams in their last season in the conference in Texas and Oklahoma have the best odds to win the title.
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Odds to Win Big 12
Is this the season Texas is back to being a football powerhouse? Quinn Ewers is a more than solid QB with a bit of Heisman buzz and it helps he has one of the better WR corps in the nation. The offensive line returns all five starters and the defense was much improved last season and while that unit lost some key players there are six returning starters. Star RB Bijan Robinson will be missed but the run game should still be solid for the Longhorns. No shock that the Red River rivalry game with Oklahoma is big but the team also hosts two other tough games facing Kansas State and Texas Tech. Texas also has a big-time early season non-conference game facing Alabama.
Oklahoma stumbled to a 6-7 record last season in Brent Venables’ head coaching debut but the team is poised for a rebound. They have some stability in the offense with QB Dillon Gabriel and the RB duo Gavin Sawchuk and Jovantae Barnes. However, they have some issues in the WR corps and offensive line that have to be addressed. The defense, especially the run defense, was shredded last season and OU hit the transfer portal hard to help that unit. The schedule favors the Sooners not having to face Texas Tech, Baylor, or Kansas State.
Kansas State 5/1
Kansas State lost some key players in the secondary and star RB Deuce Vaughn, but do not count them out. They have an emerging star at QB in Will Howard, some good skill players, and what is, arguably, the best offensive line in the nation. Some transfers and young players have to step up on the defensive side of the ball this season. Two of their tougher games facing Texas and Texas Tech are on the road.
Texas Tech 11/1
Texas Tech looks to pick up where they left off last season where they won their last four games. Tyler Shough had a solid season under center and the WR corps is legit led by emerging star Jerand Bradley (51 catches for 744 yards). The offensive line needs improvement after giving up 41 sacks last season and while the D at Tech is always a work in progress that unit returns six starters and two of the top DL in the Big 12 in Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford Jr. The Red Raiders host Kansas State and TCU but hits the road to face Baylor and Texas.
Baylor fell to 6-7 last season after going 12-2 in the previous season. Blake Shapen was tested in spring ball but is back as the starting QB and they have a good RB in Richard Reese. The defense has to improve after giving up 30.7 ppg in Big 12 play and the offensive line will have four new starters. Texas Tech and Texas are a home but at the end of the season face Kansas State and TCU on the road.
Can TCU get back to the Big 12 title game after losing QB Max Duggan, RB Kendre Miller and WR Quentin Johnston? Tall task. They have a solid QB in Chandler Morris and hit the transfer portal to get skill players. The defense should be solid led by CB Josh Newton. The Horned Frogs have a killer end of the season schedule facing Kansas State, Texas Tech, Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma in their last five games.
UCF is a newcomer to the Big 12 and they have a dynamic QB in John Rhys Plumlee and a solid set of skill players. The defense returns six starters and up front they have two preseason All Big 12 players in Tre’Mon Morris-Brash and Ricky Barber. In their first season in the Big 12 the Knights will be welcomed with three tough road games facing Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech.
Iowa State 36/1
Iowa State was only 4-8 last season but RB Hunter Dekkers returns and the defense led the Big 12 last season in points allowed (20.3 ppg). There are still big issues on the offensive line and the thin WR corps.
Kansas may not be the laughingstock of the conference any longer winning six games last season. QB Jalon Daniels is one of the 17 starters back and while the offense should be good the defense needs major improvement after giving up 35.5 ppg last season.
Oklahoma State 51/1
OSU has a QB competition going on but they have a solid 1-2 punch at RB in Ollie Gordon II and Jaden Nixon behind. The Cowboys only return two starters on defense but the schedule favors them with five conference games and they do not face Texas Tech, TCU, or Texas.
Cincy is another newcomer to the conference and they may have some growing pains. They only return seven starters and they have a new head coach in Scott Satterfield.
West Virginia 71/1
WVU was 5-7 last season and while the offense should be ok the defense gave up 32.9 ppg last season and gave up many big plays.
The third newcomer BYU has a good QB in Pitt transfer Kedon Slovis and the team hit the transfer portal to fill skill player needs. The D may be a concern after giving up nearly 30 ppg last season.
The last newcomer in Houston has the worst odds to win the conference. While they have two solid transfers in QB Donovan Smith and RB Tony Mathis there are big question marks on both sides of the ball, especially for the defense, which gave up 32.2 ppg last season.