The Big 12 has made four appearances in the College Football Playoff and is still looking for its first win as Oklahoma is 0-4. The Sooners represent the best chance once again for a victory as we enter the 2021 season. Most sportsbooks have Iowa State right behind them in the futures market with Texas and Oklahoma State rounding out the top four.
As we return to normal in college football, it's time to dissect the season win totals for every team in college football. This article will be the first of many to provide my opinion on the posted total and if there's any value in either direction. Sometimes the number is just right and I'll say so. We've got full 12-game slates including non-conference contests that we didn't see last year.
Note: Win total numbers courtesy of DraftKings.
Baylor (Over 5.5 +110...Under 5.5 -139)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 8th
Non-Conference Games: at Texas State, Texas Southern, BYU
Schedule Notes: The Bears get Iowa State and Oklahoma at home as part of a stretch where they leave Waco twice from Sept. 25-Nov. 13.
QB Battle: Junior Gerry Bohanon vs. sophomore Jacob Zeno vs. freshmen Blake Shapen and Kyron Drones
Roster Notes: Former BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes has some work to do with quarterback Charlie Brewer transferring to Utah. His departure leaves the team looking for a new signal-caller with potentially four options. Whoever wins the job will have a trifecta of awesome WRs and an offensive line infused with transfer talent. The portal also was kind to the Bears' defense, adding former LSU tackle Siaki Ika's size (6-4, 250) to their front. The secondary returns intact while the linebacking corps must overcome the loss of William Bradley-King. Improvement is coming for Baylor in head coach Dave Aranda's second season.
Prediction: Slight lean to the over because of the price. If Baylor can find a quarterback, six or seven wins are highly attainable. The Bears dealt with multiple COVID-related interruptions last year on their way to finishing 2-7 with three of those losses coming by just one score.
Related: Big 12 Football 2021 Predictions
Iowa State (Over 9.5 +110...Under 9.5 -139)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 2nd
Non-Conference Games: Northern Iowa, Iowa, at UNLV
Schedule Notes: After two straight at home to open up the slate, six of Iowa State's next nine contests are on the road including a tilt in Oklahoma. Beware of the Nov. 13 game at Texas Tech sandwiched in between a home contest against Texas and the showdown in Norman with Sooners.
QB: Brock Purdy
Roster Notes: Nearly everyone (19 of 22 starters) is back with Purdy and Breece Hall leading the way on offense. Purdy has security blankets in place in senior tight ends Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen. Seven offensive linemen with 93 combined starts will block for all this talent. The reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year is back in linebacker Mike Rose as well as safety Greg Eisworth II. Both are part of an experienced defense returning that must deal with high expectations. There are no excuses for Matt Campbell's Cyclones after a Fiesta Bowl win last season.
Prediction: Lean to the over especially at +110. There aren't a ton of toss-up games on this slate.
Kansas (Over 1 -195...Under 1 +150)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 10th
Non-Conference Games: South Dakota, at Coastal Carolina, at Duke
Schedule Notes: FCS South Dakota represents the best chance for a win this season and rarely are there easy wins against teams from the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Jayhawks will likely go winless in the Big 12 again with home games against Baylor and Kansas State representing the "best" chances for a victory.
QB Battle: North Texas transfer Jason Bean vs. sophomore Jalon Daniels vs. senior Miles Kendrick
Roster Notes: Kansas' defense returns the majority of its starters and features a pretty solid secondary. The problem is that the front seven isn't very strong, which puts even more pressure on the back end. RB Pooka Williams and WR Andrew Parchment are gone, but there is some talent at wide receiver. Former Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold was a great hire for the program but he's got a massive rebuilding job ahead of him.
Prediction: No play here as I see one win and I'm certainly not taking the over at that price.
Kansas State (Over 5.5 -139...Under 5.5 +110)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 7th
Non-Conference Games: Stanford (Arlington, Texas), Southern Illinois, Nevada
Schedule Notes: The Wildcats have just two road games through October with the last two coming at Kansas and Texas. KSU also hosts Oklahoma and Iowa State with a bye week in between both matchups.
QB: Skylar Thompson
Roster Notes: Thompson will need more from players not named Deuce Vaughn, the Wildcats' leading rusher and receiver last season. We'll see what Illinois transfer Daniel Imatorbhebhe can bring at tight end as he tries to replace Briley Moore, who had 22 receptions and three touchdowns. I don't know what to make of KSU's defense with Wyatt Hubert and Elijah Sullivan leaving, but there's an infusion of talent from the transfer portal that should hopefully improve things on this side of the ball.
Prediction: This team should go over its posted total especially if you think Kansas State wins its neutral-site opener against Stanford.
Oklahoma (Over 11 -113...Under 11 -113)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 1st
Non-Conference Games: at Tulane, Western Carolina, Nebraska
Schedule Notes: The Sooners close with a home game against Iowa State and then Bedlam in Oklahoma State. They have just three true road games over the first two months of the season.
QB: Spencer Rattler
Roster Notes: Rattler has to stay healthy with two of his backups transferring out. In Lincoln Riley's system Rattler should have another tremendous season with Marvin Mims, Theo Wease, Drake Stoops, Austin Stogner and Arkansas transfer Mike Woods among the options to throw to. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is going to have to continue working his magic with a couple of key pieces either transferring out or going pro. He will have a fantastic secondary to work with though.
Prediction: There are two tough games on this schedule. Most likely I see Oklahoma losing one of those so there's no value either way.
Oklahoma State (Over 7.5 -113...Under 7.5 -113)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 4th
Non-Conference Games: Missouri State, Tulsa, at Boise State
Schedule Notes: Four of Oklahoma State's first five games are at home, but that is followed up by four of their next six on the road including back-to-back trips to Texas and Iowa State.
QB: Spencer Sanders
Roster Notes: Three key losses for the Cowboys on offense with running back Chuba Hubbard, wide receiver Tylan Wallace, and standout left tackle Teven Jenkins all departed. The backfield has some solid options with Utah State transfer Jaylen Warren joining the mix. Outside of Jenkins, the offensive line wasn't great last year, but Miami (Ohio) transfer Danny Godlevske provides stability at center. The defense has eight starters back from a unit that led the nation in third down defense.
Prediction: I see 7-8 wins so no play here.
TCU (Over 7.5 -125...Under EVEN)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 5th
Non-Conference Games: Duquesne, California, SMU
Schedule Notes: The first four games are at home, but then five of the next eight are on the road. TCU has road trips to Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in conference play.
QB: Max Duggan
Roster Notes: The team brings back 13 starters from a squad that won five of their last six games after a rough start last season. The Horned Frogs had four different players rush for 100 yards in 2020 and all of them are back including Duggan. The defense is led by defensive ends Khari Coleman and Ochaun Mathis, but has to replace a couple of really good safeties.
Prediction: I see 7-8 wins once again so no play here.
Texas (Over 8 +110...Under 8 -139)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 3rd
Non-Conference Games: Louisiana, at Arkansas, Rice
Schedule Notes: There are just three true home games over the last two months of the season. The road trip at Arkansas in week two is an early interesting test.
QB Battle: junior Casey Thompson vs. redshirt freshman Hudson Card
Roster Notes: Steve Sarkisian takes over in Austin and while he has some uncertainty at quarterback, whoever wins the job gets to hand the ball off to Bijan Robinson. He had only 86 carries last year, but averaged more than eight yards per carry and ran roughshod over Buffalo in the Alamo Bowl. The offensive line lost its anchor but four starters are back. Four of the team's top five tacklers are gone, but new defensive coordinators Pete Kwiatkowski and Jeff Choate are inheriting plenty of talent on all three levels.
Prediction: Push on the eight wins with a slight lean to the under.
Texas Tech (Over 4.5 -152...Under 4.5 +120)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 9th
Non-Conference Games: at Houston (NRG Stadium), Stephen F. Austin, FIU
Schedule Notes: Road trips to Texas and Oklahoma make Big 12 play harder for the Red Raiders who could start 2-1 with a manageable non-conference slate. Getting OU, Iowa State and Oklahoma State back-to-back could be ugly.
QB Battle: Oregon transfer Tyler Shough vs. senior Henri Colombi
Roster Notes: Sonny Cumbie is back to coordinate an offense that could be reminiscent of the past. Shough looked good in the spring and figures to win the QB job. The skill positions took a hit with a couple of guys transferring while T.J. Vasher went pro. The defense brought in 10 Power 5 transfers. Combine that with 11 of the top 13 tacklers returning and the unit should see some improvement.
Prediction: Love the over here, but not at -152. It's probably my favorite play in the conference. Shop around and find something better.
West Virginia (Over 6.5 -141...Under 6.5 +110)
Preseason Big 12 Poll Rank: 6th
Non-Conference Games: at Maryland, LIU, Virginia Tech
Schedule Notes: The first month features road trips to Maryland and Oklahoma as well as a home date with Virginia Tech. Three of West Virginia's final five games are at home, including back-to-back matchups with Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
QB: Jarret Doege
Roster Notes: Austin Kendall transferring out means the quarterback job belongs to Doege. He's got Leddie Brown in the backfield and several options out wide as head coach Neal Brown hopes his team takes another step forward in his third season at the helm. The defense lost several key pieces to the NFL and transfer, but linemen Dante Stills and Akheem Mesidor are back to anchor the front.
Prediction: I came up with about 6-7 wins here so no play.