College football will soon be upon us again and, as always, eyes will be on the Big 12.
There’s no getting around it, the conference title will be the Oklahoma Sooners’ to lose, as it has been the past four seasons. And they’re heading into the upcoming campaign as the obvious favorites despite no longer having Kyler Murray in their ranks, with the star quarterback now in the NFL.
The team’s very formidable offense will have a few new pieces to make up for the loss of Murray, as well as the departure of four starters from the offensive line. Former Alabama Crimson Tide QB Jalen Hurts is now at coach Lincoln Riley’s disposal and the 20-year-old is joined by some top talent.
Riley will, of course, ensure that the Sooners maintain their high standards but has fired a warning to his new players, letting them know that they won’t be automatic starters and will have to work for their positions.
“They have to come win (the competition) just like Kyler (Murray) did last year,” Riley said, per The Dallas Morning News. “Same with Baker (Mayfield) when I first got there… And we’ve got really good other players in that room. It’s either going to make somebody better or reveal another individual as better.”
The coach’s philosophy and his refusal to show favoritism will be one of the driving factors while the season approaches as players will know that they will have to put in the work and earn their spots in the team.
The Sooners also have a new defensive coordinator in Alex Grinch and his arrival should spark even more progress.
The Texas Longhorns, though, could pose a major threat for the top spot in the conference. The team also has players to replace both on offense and defense but they’re also replete with young talent itching to prove their worth.
Keeping Sam Ehlinger healthy will be a top priority for coach Tom Herman. The quarterback is tipped to chase All-American honors but his fitness could prove to be an issue.
The Iowa State Cyclones are projected to finish in third and they’re likely to nip the Longhorns’ heels all season if they remain behind. Coach Matt Campbell is doing a great job with the program, especially defensively, and sophomore QB Brock Purdy is also predicted to have a top campaign.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ schedule could leave them in a great position as the TCU Horned Frogs, the Sooners, and the Kansas State Wildcats are all to visit them at Stillwater.
The Cowboys offense is brimming with potential this summer and redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders is looking the most likely player to come in as a replacement for Taylor Cornelius at quarterback.
As you’ve probably suspected, the bookies have the Sooners as favorites to top the Big 12 and if you’re keen on any football betting tips, a visit to Online Sportsbetting wouldn’t go amiss. Bet365 has odds of -125.00 on Riley’s team keeping their position while Texas is at +250.00 with the same bookmakers.
The West Virginia Mountaineers, despite being projected lower, are Bet365’s third favorites for the top spot and are +1000.00 to win the conference, with the Cyclones favored slightly less at +1100.00.
According to Bet365, the Kansas State Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks are the longest shots to win the Big12 at +4000.00 and +5000.00, respectively.
Of course, football could be one of the most unpredictable sports at times but it would take a whole lot to shift the odds in the favor of the bottom two teams while the Sooners would have to experience a drastic slide to give up their crown in the conference.