Big 12 Football Season Coverage: College Football Betting

Willie Bee

Thursday, July 18, 2013 11:32 AM GMT

The Big 12 is a big mystery entering the 2013 college football betting season, and we're going to try an answer some of the questions in this NCAA odds preseason preview.

Scuttlebutt around 2013 preseason college football roundtables is the Big 12 could turn into the Little Ten.  That sentiment is echoed in the NCAA futures odds where the best teams the conference has to offer for the BCS title are mid-level long shots at best.

Those years of the Big 12 giving the SEC a good run for its money with perennial powerhouses on the college football landscape seem long ago entering this season.  Consider that one offshore betting site recently pegged its field at 20/1 to win the BCS Championship, while Texas and Oklahoma State were 30/1, the lowest odds of any teams in the Big 12, and you have a general idea of what shape the conference is in.

That doesn't mean we won't see good and exciting football still played this fall by the 10 schools, and it certainly doesn't mean that one or two of them won't prove to be good enough for BCS games, or even stay in the title hunt.  The expectations, however, are that no single squad from the Big 12 will emerge as a bona fide top 10 team, and the eventual champion could have two, perhaps three, conference losses which would mean one automatic BCS berth, likely the Fiesta Bowl.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.  Two key questions top my list for the conference long before we get to the bowl season, and those are: 1) Who can play the best defense, and; 2) Which team will find early, consistent quarterback play with many new faces under center this year?

Texas Tops Most Preseason Polls

This is a huge year for Mack Brown and the Longhorns (2/1 to win Big 12).  Texas is coming off a 9-4 season which may not seem like something that would put a coach on the hot seat, but that was following 5-7 and 8-5 records, with that 2009 BCS showdown vs. Alabama seeming much further in the past.

Not to mention last year's four losses included an absolute embarrassing performance against Oklahoma and a meltdown in the regular season finale at Kansas State with the conference title on the line.  Texas does have an experienced QB to trot out there in David Ash, his 18 career starts tops among all Big 12 pivots, and the 'Horns are counting on a much improved defense led by a healthy Jackson Jeffcoat.

Staying with the subject of defense, Kansas State (20/1 to win Big 12) had the best overall unit in 2012 and still ranked 46th nationally in the yardage allowed column.  But Bill Snyder's squad will be plugging in a lot of new faces on that side in 2013.  Texas Tech (15/1) allowed fewer yards than K-State, but much of that was padded by the early schedule and once conference play rolled around, the Red Raiders were riddled on the scoreboard.

Texas and TCU (5/1) appear to be the most talented stop units entering '13, but I'm also expecting much better play from Oklahoma (3/1) in 2013.  Seeing some of these defensive units step up, along with some top QBs from 2012 not coming back, is something to file away early when the UNDER might be a solid play in contests involving Big 12 teams.

QB Controversies In Ft. Worth, Norman & Stillwater

The same question hounds coaches at TCU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (5/2), and that is who's under center?  Casey Pachall, suspended for the last nine games in 2012, is expected to reclaim his starting QB job over Trevone Boykin.  Blake Bell is the obvious choice for the Sooners, but if the big fellow can't prove he's more than just a big load on the ground, don't bet against Bob Stoops making an early switch to either Trevor Knight or Drew Allen.  And it's a colossal mess for Mike 'The Man' Gundy to sort through for the Cowboys, but a good one to have with a talented trio like Clint Chelf, JW Walsh and Wes Lunt.

Baylor (12/1) reloaded after the Robert Griffin III era with Nick Florence who led college football in 2012 with more than 4,300 yards passing and a 157.5 rating.  Art Briles now turns to Bryce Petty who could be every bit as good on the passing side.  KSU is also replacing a pretty solid QB in Collin Klein, a Heisman finalist last year.  Daniel Sams and Jake Waters emerged from spring camp still battling for coach Snyder's approval.

The remaining Big 12 crews -- Iowa State 20/1, Kansas 50/1 and West Virginia 25/1 -- aren't likely to figure into the conference race themselves, but that doesn't mean one or more of the trio won't play a role in the ultimate title.  We'll discuss them more and cover some of the potential upset spots in the coming weeks to really nail down our college football picks as the season approaches.

SCHOOL

BIG 12 ODDS

BCS ODDS

Baylor

12/1

Field (20/1

Iowa State

20/1

Field

Kansas

50/1

Field

Kansas State

20/1

150/1

Oklahoma

5/2

40/1

Oklahoma State

5/2

30/1

TCU

5/1

80/1

Texas

2/1

30/1

Texas Tech

15/1

Field

West Virginia

25/1

250/1