The betting odds for the 2017 college football season are out, revealing which Big 12 teams are favored to compete for a league championship and playoff contention.
Oklahoma will spend the offseason as the prohibitive favorite to win a third straight Big 12 championship. And that makes fans in Norman really, really nervous.
You want to rattle the Sooners? Rank them in the top 5 this summer. Under Bob Stoops, Oklahoma has had a track record for missing the mark when expectations are soaring, yet overachieving when being overlooked. Of the 17 times OU was ranked in the preseason AP poll during the Stoops era, the team
finished lower than its initial projection in a dozen years. And sure, this past season ended with 10 straight wins, but it began with a loss to Houston and bottomed out with a three-touchdown pummeling at the hands of Ohio State on Sept. 17.
The Sooners don’t often deliver when expected. But, like it or not, they’re the Big 12 program everyone is trying to catch. They’ve got the best coach, Stoops, the top quarterback, Baker Mayfield, and the muscle memory for holding off the rest of the teams in the league. If, however, the inevitable stumble winds up occurring in a league game, which team will be ready to pounce and take advantage?
Oklahoma State is most likely to dethrone the Sooners in 2017. The Cowboys have been the runner-up the past two seasons, falling to OU in the de facto title game to close the regular season. Like their rival, they’re also formidable with the coach-QB combo of Mike Gundy and Mason Rudolph, and Bedlam this fall takes place in Stillwater on Nov. 4.
If some Big 12 football squad other than an Oklahoma school wins the conference in 2017, it’ll be labeled an upset. The offseason odds are against it. However, Texas is a program with a high ceiling now that Tom Herman is coaching Charlie Strong’s recruits. Strong and his staff attracted a lot of prime talent to Austin, but three straight seven-loss seasons showcased an inability to maximize personnel. If Herman, along with coordinators Tim Beck and Todd Orlando, can coach up the kids they inherited, look out. The Horns have the right mix to be this season’s biggest Big 12 surprise.
West Virginia and Kansas State were solid last season, combining for 19 wins, and should be competitive again in 2017. The Cats are steady and reliable under Bill Snyder, while the Mountaineers have a wild card becoming eligible this season. Florida transfer Will Grier could give West Virginia its best quarterback since Geno Smith was putting up huge numbers and flirting with Heisman contention in 2012.
Now that Baylor and TCU have stumbled, how long before they return to serious contention? It was only two years ago that both were vying for playoff berths, and neither administration is going to be content with also-ran status. Still, the Bears are going through a massive transition under new coach Matt Rhule and the Frogs must retool the D and decide if Kenny Hill is the right quarterback to ignite the offense.
Rounding out the Big 12 pecking order is Iowa State, Texas Tech and Kansas. The Cyclones and Jayhawks believe they’re heading north for young coaches, even if it’s not reflected in the standings. Lubbock, though, is home to the coach, Kliff Kingsbury, facing the most heat to engineer a turnaround in 2017.
Big 12 Football Betting Odds For National Championship
- Oklahoma – 17/2
- Texas – 28/1
- Oklahoma State – 35/1
- Kansas State – 55/1
- West Virginia – 65/1
- TCU – 85/1
- Baylor – 300/1
- Iowa State – 500/1
- Texas Tech – 500/1
- Kansas – 1,000/1