Three months after a Big 12 team was an overtime win away from making the national championship, Vegas isn’t crazy about the conference’s chances to win it all next year. Five of the top six contenders are from the Big Ten and the SEC.
More than anything, odds that come out five months before the season starts speak to the perception of different teams. It should be no surprise, then, that reigning conference champion Oklahoma is the early Big 12 favorite. Even with a number of offensive stars departing for the NFL, the Sooners are getting the best odds in the conference at 20-1.
That probably speaks to faith in head coach Lincoln Riley to reload on offense with players like Kyler Murray, Rodney Anderson and Marquise Brown.
Michigan, PennSt 12/1
OU, Washington 20/1
Auburn, FSU 25/1
LSU, Texas, Wisconsin 30/1
Miami, USC, Virginia Tech, West Virginia 40/1
Notre Dame, Stanford 50/1
MichSt, Texas A&M 60/1
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) April 9, 2018
One big surprise here is that Texas is getting better odds to win the CFP than Miami, USC and Notre Dame. All three of those programs won at least ten games last season, while Texas finished 7-6 after beating Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
Vegas seems to like Tom Herman’s chances in his second year with the Longhorns, though, a perception that might be bolstered by Texas landing the No. 3 ranked recruiting class in the country. The Longhorns have a moderate amount of returning starters back this season, but they are also having to replace some key pieces on defense.
The only other Big 12 team on the list, West Virginia, returns playmakers like quarterback Will Grier, who might end up being the best signal caller in the conference. Top shelf play at the quarterback position is generally considered a prerequisite for winning the Big 12 championship, a feat that would certainly boost the Mountaineers’ hopes of a playoff birth.
The Big 12 will get chances early next season to change the perception that the conference might not have a CFP contender. West Virginia takes on SEC foe Tennessee (Sept. 1), but both TCU and Texas take on two teams from this list of title contenders when they play Ohio State(Sept. 15) and USC (Sept. 15), repsectively.