The Big 12 may not have a conference championship game this season, but that won’t make the title race any less interesting, and the intrigue all begins when you look at the additions to the conference.
Sure, the conference has lost Missouri and Texas A&M, but the teams they added aren’t exactly going to chopped liver. West Virginia and TCU are more than adequate replacements.
In fact, they each won at least a share of their conference titles a year ago, making the Big 12 the only conference with three teams defending a conference championship in 2012. This should make for an exciting battle atop the new Big 12, as well as an interesting college football betting option.
Oklahoma 1-1 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
While the league may have had some turnover in the off-season, odd makers are obviously still projecting it to go as it usually does with the Sooners at the top. Who could blame them when Landry Jones is set to take the snaps yet again. However, many are still wondering what could have changed from last season to this season after OU was projected by many to win it all, and came up well short.
Well, for starters, healthy key players, natural progression, and the welcoming back of defensive coordinator, Mike Stoops. He was on the sidelines when the Sooners won the title back in 2000, and now he’s back. Do not overlook this hire when it comes to the always-vaunted Oklahoma defensive unit.
Texas 4-1 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
As always, the Longhorns are predicted to do well in most preseason polls. And 2012 is no different. Whether they actually perform on the field is another story. Nevertheless, the talent is always puts them in a position to succeed. They have both quarterbacks back from a year ago in Case McCoy and David Ash. If they want any form of consistency from the position though, they are going to have to finally make a choice. Pick one guy, and stick with him. The ‘Horns also have nine total starters on the offensive side of the ball returning. Most notably is running back, Malcolm Brown.
They also have the advantage of returning seven starters on the defensive side of the ball. This group is headlined by the trio of Jackson Jeffcoat (LB), Alex Okafor (DL), and Carrington Byndom (DB). All of whom were All-Conference performers a year ago, and will be expected to play at a similar level in the coming season.
TCU 11-2 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
One of the newcomers looks poised to make some noise in their inaugural Big 12 season. Not many Mountain West teams could have lost a quarterback the caliber or Andy Dalton and replaced him without losing a beat. That is what the Horned Frogs did a year ago with Casey Pachall. He even broke a few records in his first year under center to boot. Passing yards, passing completions, and completion percentage are the noteworthy ones. Needless to say, he’s back, and looking to build on that success. Alongside Pachall are three of his four main targets from a year ago. Including his favorite Josh Boyce.
The Horned Frogs also return three of their top four rushing leaders from a year ago, making the offense look primed for another outstanding year. While the defense looks inexperienced on paper, returning only five starters, most every new starter saw significant playing time a year ago on the 11-2 squad. Do not count this team out.
West Virginia 6-1 Odds To Win BIG 12 Championship
While West Virginia happens to lie fourth in most of the preseason predictions, the rank as my sleeper team here, as I expect then to win the league outright in their first season as a member. The reason. Geno Smith. Single-handedly, he is the man that will decide almost everything for this Mountaineer team.
While the defense will have to be better than a year ago to propel them in the long run, Smith is one of those rare talents that can overcome slight defensive deficiencies. They get Oklahoma at home, so that’s a break, but if they can pass the major test — a road game against the Longhorns–there is no doubt that this could turn into the team to beat.