This does mean, however, that a lot of teams not ordinarily viewed as league title contenders will have a chance to pull off a surprise and steal a Bowl Championship Series berth. Which of these teams should you include in your college football picks?
Here’s a look at what to expect from the Big 12 in 2013:
Sleeper: Baylor (over 8 wins is at +105 at 5Dimes)
The Bears still can’t play a lick of defense, but who needs defense in the offense-crazy, pass-happy Big 12? This is a conference in which defenses have steadily been falling further behind offenses. You can win 40-35 games in this conference, and if you win enough of them, you can rise in the standings. The key is to find just enough defense to prevail, making key stops at the right times. Baylor found this ingredient in last season’s November upset of a Kansas State team that had its national championship dreams ruined by the Bears and head coach Art Briles. If there’s a team that can sneak up on the big boys and climb past the more established names in the conference this season, Baylor rates as that type of dark horse.
Team With the Easiest Schedule: Oklahoma State (+265 to win Big 12 at 5Dimes)
The Cowboys received the right mixture of games this season. They do have to go to Texas to play the Longhorns, but they get the other top Big 12 contenders –TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma– at home this season. That kind of detail matters in what is expected to be a contentious race for Big 12 supremacy. Oklahoma State might not have the best team, but with the best schedule in a cluttered race such as this one, the Cowboys might be the squad that finishes in first place when the smoke clears on the South Central Plains. Consider them for your sports picks.
Team With the Toughest Schedule: TCU (under 8 wins is +105 at 5Dimes)
The Horned Frogs do get Texas and Baylor at home, but they have to play at the two Oklahoma schools. What has to concern the Frogs and head coach Gary Patterson is that their games against the Oklahoma schools and Texas all come within a span of 22 days. The month of October is going to be brutal for TCU. It visits Oklahoma on October 5th, gets a slight breather against Kansas on October 12th, and then has to play Oklahoma State on October 19th before taking on Texas on October 26th. If the Horned Frogs can survive that stretch, they can win the league… but will they?Probably not, according to the college football odds. It’s a bad break for TCU, to be sure, to get all those tough games in succession.
Team Most Likely To Win: Oklahoma State
It’s just hard to pick against the Cowboys, given that they should be able to handle all of their tough home games against Oklahoma, Baylor, and TCU. This season’s Big 12 champion is more likely to be 10-2 than 11-1. No team figures to dominate the league this year. Oklahoma State should win the right games and get the tiebreakers it will need to win the conference.
Excited for the upcoming season? Share your picks on our forum!