2013 Big 12 Predictions and College Football Futures Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 8/16/2013
The Big 12 – where no three-touchdown lead is safe.
The Big 12 is still leading the sport in offensive innovation. Their 66.6 total points per game dwarfed the game totals of leagues like the Big East (46.1) and the almighty SEC (51.0). And all that scoring has made the Big 12 one of the most difficult leagues in the country for bettors to predict.
It is not surprising that the Big 12 is wide-open again this year. A shocking six teams in the 10-team league received first place votes in the annual Big 12 media poll. Oklahoma State (365 points) edged out Oklahoma (355) as the top vote getter. And OU (8), TCU (9) and Texas (8) were all seen with nearly an equal chance of taking the league title.
The Favorite: Texas (+200)
This is really a big season for Mack Brown. After three straight underachieving years – by Texas’ lofty standards – it is almost make-or-break time for ol’ Mack. The Longhorns have 19 starters back, and this is probably the deepest, most experienced team that they have had since going to the National Championship Game back in 2009. The big issue is that they finally seem to have their quarterback situation worked out, and Brown finally committed to David Ash as the undisputed starter. Now Ash has to earn it. Texas has an incredible four three-year starters along the offensive line, and they should be able to match or top last year’s 35.7 points per game from the offense. But the key for the Longhorns will be to get improved play out of the defense. They allowed almost 30 points per game last year and were No. 69 in total yards and No. 90 in rush defense. This group needs to bow its back a bit if the Longhorns are going to get this thing turned around.
The Challenger: Oklahoma State (+250)
Some teams have a stable of running backs. Mike Gundy has a stable of quarterbacks. Oklahoma State could go with any one of three quarterbacks this year, and the big storyline in their camp this August is which one will seize the reigns for the opening week. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter who is under center because if we know anything about Ok. State it is that they are going to score. A lot. The Cowboys have averaged 44 or more points in three straight seasons, and they have eight starters back on that side of the ball this year. Last season was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but the Cowboys still won eight games, including a bowl blowout. Oklahoma State has a very favorable early schedule and should bet off to a great start. But they end at Texas and then with home games against Baylor and Oklahoma, and that will tell the tale of how they stack up in the Big 12.
The Dark Horse: Oklahoma (+350)
It wasn’t long ago that any Sooners loss was considered shocking. But L’s have become commonplace over the past two years as OU has gone 20-6, and they are almost a National Championship afterthought. Bob Stoops is starting to feel some heat – and why not, he has only gone 106-28 over the last decade – and this feels like a big season for the Sooners. Landry Jones has graduated and left the attack to either junior Blake Bell or freshman Trevor Knight. Regardless of who is under center, the key for the Sooners will be the defense. Oklahoma has seen its points per game allowed increase in each of the last four seasons. They have just four starters back on the stop unit and need to find answers in the secondary. Oklahoma also has the toughest schedule of the top contenders in the Big 12, with a neutral-site matchup with Texas and road games at Baylor, at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State. Add in a nonconference road game at Notre Dame, and this could be another three-loss season for Stoops.
The X-Factor: TCU (+750)
I was skeptical of the Horned Frogs stepping up in class in the Big 12 last year. After years of dominating in lesser conferences, I wasn’t sure how they would stack up against top-tier competition week-in and week-out. TCU went just 7-6, but they had one of the youngest TCU teams in Gary Patterson’s 13 years. The Horned Frogs were also derailed when quarterback Casey Pachall’s drunken antics cost him the starting gig in the middle of last year. Pachall is back, along with 15 other starters, and the Horned Frogs boast one of the best defenses in the league. I still don’t think they are good enough to compete for the Big 12 title. But they face Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas in October and will be a thorn in the side of those top contenders. We will find out how this program stacks up with the big boys this season.
The Disappointment: Kansas State (+1400)
I am not in a hurry to throw money down against a Bill Snyder-coached team. The man is a master, and the Wildcats have been one of the best bets in college football the last two seasons (19-6 against the spread). But after two awesome seasons, this looks like a rebuilding year. Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein is gone on offense, and the defense lost 11 of its top 15 tacklers. The Wildcats have a soft nonconference schedule but have to play at Texas and in Stillwater this year. There are a lot of Big 12 teams that will be out for revenge against K-State, and this team simply isn’t as strong as the last two versions. I expect a significant step back after back-to-back years of double-digit wins.
Baylor (+1200) –Art Briles is one of those coaches that just know how to get the most out of his teams. Briles’ teams are always going to be among the nation’s highest-scoring. They are on their third quarterback in three years, but I’m sure junior Bryce Petty will be fine under Briles tutelage. If he isn’t, the Bears will be in big trouble. Because even though they have seven defensive starters back, this team allowed nearly 40 points per game for the second straight season. Look for a hot start from the Bears. But their November schedule is brutal.
West Virginia (+2500) – The Mountaineers got off to a great start to their first season in the Big 12, including a big upset win in Austin. But the wheels came off in the middle of last year, and the season ended with an embarrassing loss to Syracuse in the bowl game. Dana Holgorsen will have to completely rebuild his offense after losing his quarterback and top playmakers. But like Briles, Stoops and the like, Holgorsen just has a brilliant offensive system, and he will find ways to score. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, they have a midseason stretch with four of six games on the road, and they also have to travel to Oklahoma the second week of the season. The schedule is unforgiving for this young team, and it will be a scramble for this team to stay bowl eligible.
Texas Tech (+2500) –Tommy Tuberville’s odd marriage with the Red Raiders is over, and former standout quarterback Kliff Kingsbury is a rookie coach with this bunch. Tech underachieved each of the last three years under Tuberville, and it is tough to get a read on where this program really is. They have beaten up on bottom-feeders the last few seasons but have been outclassed seemingly every time they took on one of the Big 12’s best. I know the expectations for Kingsbury and his spread offense are high. And the schedule sets up so that Tech could be 5-1 in mid-October. But I think these guys are pretenders once again.
Iowa State (+4000) –Paul Rhoads has done a great job with this moribund program, getting the Cyclones to back-to-back bowl games. Iowa State lost both of those, but that’s still a vast improvement for this group. Unfortunately, Rhoads went from having one of the most experienced teams in the league to one of the least, with just nine starters back. Iowa State has won just three conference games or less in seven straight seasons, and I’ll be surprised if they can pull off two wins in the league this year.
Kansas (+10000) –Even Charlie Weis was trashing the talent level on this Jayhawks team during the offseason. That’s never a good sign. Weis is a loser anyway and has a below-.500 record coaching in college. With just nine returning starters and not a lot of top-flight recruits, I don’t think this year will be much better than the two- and three-win seasons we’ve come to expect from KU. Weis is praying that his junior college influx will help. But I am not holding my breath.
2012 Big 12 Conference Predictions: Predicted Order of Finish
3. Oklahoma State
6. Kansas State
7. West Virginia
8. Texas Tech
9. Iowa State
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc’s Sport and he has earned over $9,000 in football profit for his clients over the last 15 football months. He went 5-1 last week with his NFL preseason selections and will have a 7-Unit and a 6-Unit NFL futures bet released this week. Also, for the first time ever, Robert will release selections from his incredible KING College Football Betting System. (Learn more HERE.) We are so confident that you will be amazed by this moneymaking system we are going to give you a free, no-strings-attached $60 credit to use toward a purchase of Robert’s football selections. CLICK HERE for $60 absolutely free!
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