College Football is right around the corner and I will look to continue my College Previews with a look at the Big 12 Conference. Here are the current Odds (Courtesy of BetOnline) for the Big 12 this year: Oklahoma (-125); Texas (+300); Texas Christian (+500); West Virginia (+575); Kansas State (+1000); Oklahoma State (+2500); Texas Tech (+2800); Baylor (+4000); Iowa State (+6000); Kansas (+12500).
Oklahoma: The Sooners were preseason favorites to win the BCS title last year, but a rash of offensive injuries down the stretch contributed to them losing 3 of their final 7 games. Landry Jones returns as Oklahoma’s all-time leading passer and he has talented weapons to use including junior WR Kenny Stills (849 yds, 8 TD’s). With Whaley (627 rush yds, 5.5 ypc 9 TD in 6 games) and Roy Finch (605 rush yds, 5.5 ypc) running behind a great offensive line, the Sooners offense will remain explosive. Defensively the Sooners have one of the best and most fiercest front sevens in the nation, but some holes in a secondary that allowed 241 ypg last need to be plugged up a bit. Last year the Sooners ranked 12th in both Sacks (3.1) and tackles for loss (7.5) and this year front seven may be even better, but the problem for this group is a secondary that allowed 241 ypg through the air. They have potential to be a good group but still need some work. Overall this defense, that loses just 7 lettermen, is one of the best in the nation. The Sooners do face West Virginia and TCU on the road, but this is clearly the best team in the Big 12 and they have a legitimate shot at playing for the National Title in January.
Texas: Last year the Longhorns bounced back from a dismal 2010 to post an 8-5 record and a solid win over California in the Holiday Bowl. This year’s edition is even stronger. On offense the Longhorns bring back 9 starters including both QB’s Ash and McCoy (Case) and they may get their best performance from the QB’s since Colt McCoy ran the show. Ash and McCoy have plenty of talent to work with at the skill positions as their top 2 RB’s and top 4 pass catchers all return. And they will be operating behind the top OL in the Big 12. Look for a more explosive offense from Texas this year. Defensively they have 6 starts back, but they have lost 3 of their top 4 tacklers. Still they have the best DL in the Big 12 and a top notch set of DB’s and I look for this group to easily allow less than the 22,8 ppg they allowed last year. The Horns have to travel to OSU, but they do get WVU and TCU at home and should finish 2nd in a pretty deep Big 12 this year.
West Virginia: The Moutanieers are one of the two new kids on the block, but their head coach, Dana Holgorsen, has been here before. Dana ran some pretty high octane offenses in the Big 12 with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State and he will be bringing another potent offense in his return to the conference. The ‘Neers bring back 8 starters to an offense that put up 37.6 ppg last year, including the 2nd best QB (Geno Smith) in the Big 12. Geno has allot of talent at the skill positions as their top 4 RB’s and top 3 WR’s all return, plus they have one of the best OL’s in the league. This group could top 40 ppg this year. The problem comes on defense as the Mountaineers allowed 31.3 ppg in their last 7 games last year and Big 12 offenses are much more potent than the Big East. WVU brings back just 4 of their top 9 tacklers and one of the losses was DL Bruce Irvin, who was a first round draft pick. Road dates at Texas and Oklahoma State will be tough, but even with their defensive weaknesses I will still call for a big year WVU and a 3rd place finish in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State: The Schedule isn’t too tough for the Cowboys as they do get TCU and WVU at home, while a road date vs Oklahoma looks to be their toughest test, but I still expect a fourth place finish due to the loss of Weedon and Blackmon and the fact that they were +21 in TO’s last year and teams usually regress after posting a number like that. Still back in 2010 the Cowboys brought back 4 offensive starters (like this year) and they still put up 44.2 ppg. Not saying they will do that this year, but they will still be explosive with the best RB in the league returning in Joseph Randall, who had 26 total TD’s last year. The defense for this team will be a concern once again despite getting 8 starters back. In the last 7 years the Cowboys have allowed 25.6 ppg or more in 6 of those years and it probably won’t be much better this year. Look for the Cowboys to take a step or two back this year.
Texas Christian: The Horned Frogs are the other new kids on the block in the Big 12, but unlike their first year in the MWC, they will not be winning the conference. The Offense is in great hands with returning QB Casey Pachall, to go along with their top 5 RB’s and top 3 WR’s. They do have to replace 3 OL, but this group should still be capable of 35+ ppg. TCU has just 5 starters back from a defense that allowed 21.5 ppg last year, which is the most in a very long time for this team and it may not get better for them this year. The Frogs do have a solid front 7, but their secondary vs this pass happy conference will be a problem. The Frogs have a tough road slate with trips to OSU, Texas and West Virginia and that along with the problems they could have on defense a reason I have them at here, but if they don’t get their OL figured out and their secondary really struggles then they could drop behind the Wildcats. I still expect a bowl trip from TCU this year.
Kansas State: Last year the Wildcats came out of nowhere to take second place in the Big 12. They were dogs in 9 of their 13 games, yet finished the year at 10-3. Despite the great year the Cats were still -108 ypg in Big 12 play. They put up 31.8 ppg last year and with 8 starters back, including QB Collin Klien, who was also their leading rusher (1141 yards and 27 TDs on the ground). Overall their top 5 ball carriers and their top 4 WR’s are back, making this a very dangerous offense. Defensively they struggled last year, allowing 27.9 ppg, but with 6 starters back they should improve some on that side of the ball, while their special teams are among the best in the nation. Road dates at Oklahoma, WVU and TCU will be tough on this team, plus they won’t be able to sneak up on teams like they did last year, but I still will call for them to make it back to a bowl game.
Texas Tech: The Red Raider has a tough year as they went 5-7 overall and just 2-7 in the Big 12, but they bring back 49 lettermen and 17 starters and that should make them one of the most improved teams in the big 12. The offense for TT was explosive last year as they averaged 33.8 ppg and 471 ypg and they should be even more explosive this year as 8 starters return, including QB Seth Dodge, who passed for 4004 yards and 28 TD’s last year. He has 5 of his top 6 WR’s from last year back and their top 2 RB’s return as well, so there is no reason to think they can’t put up 35+ ppg this year. After a miserable year on the defensive side of the ball, Tommy Tuberville brought in UNC’s Art Kaufman as defensive coordinator. He’s looking to spice things up for a unit that allowed 39.3 PPG and 486 YPG, which both placed among the seven worst schools in FBS. With 9 starters back this should be a very improved group. Look for the Red Raiders to pull a surprise or two and most likely make it back to a bowl game.
Baylor: I expect the Bears to take a few steps back this year as they lose RG3 to the NFL. The Bears will now rely on SR QB Nick Florence, who played well in the one game he started against Texas Tech last year (165 total yards, 3 TD’s), but he has more career picks (9) than TD Passes (8). The Offense also loses RB Ganaway and WR Wright, who combined for 36 TD’s in 2011, but SR WR Terrance Williams (957 rec yds, 11 TD’s) does return. Still I really don’t see this offense coming close to the 45 ppg they averaged last year. That will not be good if they can’t outscore their opponents as this defense has struggled year in and year out. The do bring back 25 of 30 lettermen on the defensive side, and they will be improved, but they had a lot of ground to make up after allowed 37 ppg last year. The Bears do not have the kind of offense that can bail them out this year and that may just leave them at home come bowl season.
Iowa State: The Cyclones pulled a couple of big surprises last year, by knocking off 10-0 Oklahoma State and crushing Texas Tech on the road, but they still finished the season a 6-7 and that included losing 7 of their last 10 games. Although QB Jared Barnett threw for 376 yards and 3 TD against OSU, he struggled down the stretch and opened up a QB controversy with Steele Jantz that will continue this year. The Cyclones are losing two of their better WRs and quality players on their offensive line, but top RB James White (743 rush yds, 8 TD) comes back. Defensively the Cyclones have not been great the last 2 years and this year they may struggle even more with just 5 starters back. Last year the DL generated just 1.3 sacks per game (106th in the country) and they lose 3 starters from that group. They do get AJ Klein back, who may be the best LB in the Big 12, but still too many holes on this side of the ball to think the defense can help this team get back to a bowl. Iowa will be on the sidelines come Bowl Season.
Kansas: Charlie Weis has been brought in but he has a lot of work to do after the Jayhawks went 0-9 and were outgained by 218 ypg in Big 12 last year. The new head coach made a big move for his new program by getting his former QB Dayne Crist to transfer from Notre Dame. Crist (16 TD, 9 INT, 6.9 YPA in career) has a strong arm and leadership qualities to provide stability at the most important position in football. Junior RB James Sims (727 rush yds, 9 TD) and speedy sophomore Tony Pierson (88-yd TD run in spring game) are the keys to a strong rushing attack. The defense ranked last among all 120 FBS teams in both yards (516 YPG) and scoring (43.8 PPG), and will most likely struggle again as they lost a few starters and didn’t land any big-time transfers or recruits. Charlie isn’t really a great coach and while this team, will be improved they still have a long way to go to escape the basement of the Big 12.
-25 of picks FREE! No Obligation - No Credit Card Required - Becoming a member is Fast and Free!
-Fan of sports betting? Enter the free $10,000 Match Marco MLB Contest and take a shot at winning anywhere from $500.00 all the way up to a Grand Prize of 10k!
Wiseguy Franks Preparation for Football SeasonHost RJ Bell talks with Wiseguy Frank about his experiences last season, betting strategies, and this upcoming season.