College Football Playoff Invite Bleak for Big 12 in 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 2:28 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 22, 2018 2:28 PM UTC

The Big 12 is in danger of leaving a team out of the College Football Playoff for the third time in five years. The betting market is cool on the high-octane conference with the top contenders dealing with inexperience, exploitable weaknesses and tough schedules. 

<p>Oddsmakers believe the Big 12 is the weak link among Power Five football conferences this season. Oklahoma, at +1800 odds, is the only program listed among the top 15 betting choices to win the 2018-19 College Football Playoff (CFP). Here are the odds for each school <a href=";book=5dimes" rel="nofollow">as offered at 5Dimes:</a></p><table cellpadding="3" cellspacing="3" style="width:400px"> <tbody> <tr> <th><u>School</u></th> <th><u>National Champion Odds</u></th> </tr> <tr> <td>Oklahoma</td> <td>+1800</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Texas</td> <td>+4400</td> </tr> <tr> <td>West Virginia</td> <td>+6300</td> </tr> <tr> <td>TCU</td> <td>+9000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Oklahoma State</td> <td>+13000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Kansas State</td> <td>+22500</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Texas Tech</td> <td>+50000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Iowa State</td> <td>+50000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Baylor</td> <td>+100000</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Kansas</td> <td>+200000</td> </tr> </tbody></table><p> </p><p>The plain truth is teams cannot lose multiple games in the regular season and expect to receive an invitation from the CFP selection committee. One blemish is all a program can afford. The Big 12 does not field a team with the balance, consistency, leadership or depth to assure a one-loss season. Let’s look at the top four contenders to see why.</p><h2>Oklahoma Sooners (+1800)</h2><p><em>2017 Record: 12-2 SU, 8-5-1 ATS</em></p><p>The Sooners will have to adjust to life without quarterback Baker Mayfield, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, No. 1 overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft and arguably the best player in program history. He is one of three unanimous All-Americans departed for the upcoming season (OT Orlando Brown, TE Mark Andrews).</p><p>The situation under center is murky finding a replacement. <a href="">Two-sport star Kyler Murray</a> is favorite to win the job over redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall. Murray, an outfielder on the Sooners' baseball team, is a top target in this summer’s MLB draft. A multi-million dollar payday could tempt the slugger into forgoing collegiate football for a professional career. It is certainly advantageous for any program with national title aspirations to have their signal caller situation settled headed into the summer.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;M3 | Kyler Murray gets all of it for his 10th home run of the season.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;OU 5, Kansas 0 &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Oklahoma Baseball (@OU_Baseball) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;May 18, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>Oklahoma represented the Big 12 in the CFP last season, falling 54-48 to Georgia in double overtime at the Rose Bowl. A porous pass defense let them down in that game, and it will be the team’s likely undoing again this year. The Sooners ranked 79<sup>th</sup> nationally in opponents yards per pass (7.5) and generated an interception on just 1.8 percent of pass plays (107<sup>th</sup>) in 2017. The secondary loses both starting safeties and All-Big 12 cornerback Jordan Thomas. Five defensive backs comprised the nine true freshmen hitting the field for spring practices. Expect growing pains, inconsistency, and a pair of regular-season losses.</p><h2>Texas (+4400)</h2><p><em>2017 Record: 7-6 SU, 8-4-1 ATS</em></p><p>The Longhorns own the sixth-toughest schedule in the country per ESPN’s FPI rankings. After opening against Maryland and Tulsa, they welcome national powerhouse USC to Austin in Week 3. Texas has dropped five straight to Pac-12 competition. Tricky travel tests at Kansas State and Oklahoma State bookend a pair of home dates vs. Oklahoma and Baylor. A pair of losses could easily occur in this five game stretch. Oh, and then there’s TCU, West Virginia, and Texas Tech also on the schedule.</p><p>Head coach Tom Herman is righting the ship, but the program is still a year or two away from contending for a national title. Since 2010, it is 10-29 SU and <a href="">17-22 ATS against ranked competition</a>, and Texas will face plenty in this category in the upcoming campaign.</p><h2>West Virginia (+6300)</h2><p><em>2017 Record: 7-6 SU, 5-7-1 ATS</em></p><p><a href="">Quarterback Will Grier (+2000)</a> is a legitimate Heisman candidate and top-rated NFL Draft prospect. Armed with arguably the best wide receiving corps in the country, the Mountaineers offense will put up video game numbers this season. Like Oklahoma, the defense leaves a lot to desire. The unit allowed 34.7 points per game against Big 12 opponents last year, and has never surrendered fewer than 24.0 since head coach Dana Holgerson took over in 2011. The Mountaineers, in fact, are 23-28 SU and 20-30-1 ATS in his tenure against offenses averaging better than 29.5 points per game entering a matchup. The defense yields an average 34.9 points in this spot, leaving little room for error for Grier and Co.</p><h2>TCU (+9000)</h2><p><em>2017 Record: 11-3 SU, 7-6-1 ATS</em></p><p>Practically speaking, TCU will have to run the table in the Big 12 to receive a CFP invite. Why? It travels to Ohio State in Week 3. Expect the Horned Frogs to kick off double-digit underdogs in Columbus and lose. They’ll catch points at Texas the following week, and likely at home against Oklahoma in Week 7 and at West Virginia in Week 10. TCU is 24-30 SU as an underdog under longtime head coach Gary Patterson.</p>
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