This season, the Sooners are banking on a third straight conference title to help their College Football Playoff cause.
Let’s be honest: The Big 12 is just not a good enough conference to get a second-place team into the College Football Playoff field like the Big Ten did last year. Oklahoma knows that, and even an unbeaten conference mark a year ago was not enough to get them back into the four-team field after two early-season losses.
This season, the Sooners are banking on a third straight conference title to help their cause as the -120 favorites (bet $120 to win $100) on the odds to win the Big 12 championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, and there may not be much competition challenging them again.
Sooners senior quarterback Baker Mayfield has won the Big 12 in each of his first two years in Norman since transferring from Texas Tech. Mayfield has looked like a much different signal-caller than he was as a freshman for the Red Raiders, totaling 76 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions since the start of 2015, while the Sooners have gone an impressive 22–4 overall and 17–1 in Big 12 play.
The difference this season is that he will be without wide receiver Dede Westbrook and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, who were all selected in this spring’s NFL draft.
There are only really three other schools in the conference that figure to stand in the way of Oklahoma’s bid for a Big 12 three-peat: Oklahoma State (+300), Texas (+500) and Kansas State (+600).
The Cowboys have tied for second in the Big 12 each of the previous two years with a 7–2 in-conference mark, and they’ve gone 20–6 overall. Oklahoma State senior quarterback Mason Rudolph has blossomed into a top NFL prospect would like nothing more than to finally beat the Sooners on his third try.
The Longhorns certainly have the talent to compete with the best teams in the conference. Now first-year head coach Tom Herman will attempt to harness it in a way his predecessor Charlie Strong never could. Herman went 22–4 in two years at Houston his previous stop.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats begin a new year under veteran head coach Bill Snyder, who will attempt to win 10 games for the first time since 2012, when Kansas State went to the Fiesta Bowl and lost 35–17 to Oregon . The Wildcats are well back of the nation’s elite teams, sitting at +7500 on the national title odds for the season ahead.