Texas Tech a Dark Horse, Iowa State a Longshot to Make CFP in 2023-24
The Big 12 is coming off one of the most memorable seasons in recent history, as TCU ascended to the peak of college football to play in the 2023 National Championship game against Georgia.
The Horned Frogs didn’t fare well in that game, but it did make it there, which is something that no other Big 12 team has managed to do. It also did it after starting the season at 200-1 odds of winning the national championship.
So, in the spirit of TCU’s outstanding season, CBS Sports came up with a list of longshots that are looking to follow TCU’s footsteps. One such team, is Iowa State, with the exact same odds that TCU had entering last season.
Here’s what Shehan Jeyarajah had to say about the Cyclones.
Iowa State (200-1)
The 2022 season was a bust, but don’t sell all your Matt Campbell stock just yet. The offensive line is filled with upperclassmen and quarterback Hunter Dekkers was quietly pretty darn good. Six of the eight losses came by fewer than one score. Luck can flip in a Big 12 that’s been as wide open as ever in recent years.
Jeyarajah also listed a “Dark Horse” from each Power Five conference that could crash the College Football Playoff party. In this situation a dark horse was any team that had worse than 50-1 odds, but better than 200-1 odds.
The Big 12’s dark horse College Football Playoff contender? Texas Tech.
Big 12: Texas Tech (125-1)
The Red Raiders have not won an outright conference title since 1955 as a member of the Border Conference. They haven’t played for a conference championship since divisions were established after losing a tiebreaker to Oklahoma in 2008. But unlike those previous teams, this Texas Tech squad is led by Joey McGuire.
McGuire is a former Texas high school coach who led the Red Raiders to their best record since 2013 in his first season. More importantly to the fanbase, McGuire’s team beat Texas and Oklahoma in the same season for the first time in program history. Texas Tech has some key pieces to replace defensively, but a strong recruiting class mixed with a few targeted transfers gives the Red Raiders a chance to have a strong sophomore campaign.
In a conference that seems to be as wide open as it’s been in years, the Red Raiders look primed to jump into the upper echelon of teams in Joey McGuire’s second year. With a returning starter at quarterback and several key back on defense, Texas Tech should be a team to watch for in the Big 12 title race, at the very least.