This article is part of our College Football Fantasy Five series.
Summer is here and it's a perfect time to take a look at some college football futures and identify some early value plays before people buy their college football magazines and place their wagers. Last week I examined the ACC over/unders (linked below) and now I'll take a look at the Big 12.
College Football Fantasy Five: ACC Over/Under Win Totals Check-In (6/28)
*BEST BET - Georgia Tech Under 5.0 Wins
College Football Fantasy Five: Conference Champion Odds Check-In (6/21)
*BEST BET - Arizona State (+450 to win Pac-12)
College Football Fantasy Five: Heisman Odds Check-In (6/14)
*BEST BET - Iowa State's RB Breece Hall (+4000 or 40/1 to win Heisman)
College Football Fantasy Five: Championship Futures Check-In (6/7)
*BEST BET - Georgia (+800 or 8/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
For these win total articles, I'm going to utilize a similar format where I mention my fade (a team too tough to call), my two best under plays and my two favorite over plays. Odds are subject to change over time.
Let's get in to the Big 12 that breaks down as follows with a 12-game schedule:
11.0 - Oklahoma
9.5 - Iowa State
8.0 - Texas
7.5 - Oklahoma State
7.5 - TCU
6.5 - West Virginia
5.5 - Baylor
5.5 - Kansas State
4.5 - Texas Tech
1.5 - Kansas
FADE ALERT (TOO TOUGH TO CALL)
5.) Kansas (1.5 Wins)
Just for perspective, Kansas has not won more than one conference game since 2008, so this will not be done in Big 12 play alone and they won't be favored at Coastal Carolina or at Duke. Vegas has the perfect line here because they may win their season-opener against South Dakota, but who knows if they can win more one game. They do bring in a new coach in Lance Leipold from Buffalo, however, the talent is pretty bare in Lawrence right now. Ask me again in 2022 and I may start looking at the over for this team.
BEST UNDER PLAYS
4.) Texas (8.0 Wins)
This was a tough call for me as I like the head coach hire with Steve Sarkisian and I'm a buyer of this Texas team long-term as they are accumulating a ton of talent. While I'm a bit worried about the Longhorns starting a new quarterback in Casey Thompson or Hudson Card, Sarkisian is one of the best in the business at developing signal-callers. On the flip side, there's typically a transition year and they have tough games on the road at Arkansas, at TCU, at Iowa State and at West Virginia.
3.) Baylor (5.5 Wins)
When eliminating the Jayhawks from the conversation as they are on a different level of bad, Baylor was the worst team in the Big 12 while finishing 2-7 last season. QB Charlie Brewer jumped ship and transferred to Utah, so the team has to break in a new quarterback in Gerry Bohanon or Jacob Zeno. They had one of the worst offenses in the nation and averaged a meager 23.3 points per game which ranked 100th in the nation in 2020. Coach Dave Aranda is a defensive mind and has hired a new offensive coordinator in Jeff Grimes from BYU, so I'll bank on the team having a transition year. They do have easier non-conference games with Texas State and Texas Southern, but will likely struggle in-conference and do play BYU (interesting!) in October.
BEST OVER PLAYS
2.) TCU (7.5 Wins)
Similar to the Longhorns above, this was a tough call, but I like getting a half-game discount on the Horned Frogs which makes the probability of the over a bit better. They are the most experienced team in the conference with 18 returning starters and QB Max Duggan has played a ton of college football in his first couple of years. Even if they can't win on the road at Iowa State, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, they should be a solid home team and have easier non-conference games against Duquesne, California and SMU. Gary Patterson always does a great job on the coaching end and this could be his best team of the last few years.
1.) Iowa State (9.5 Wins) & Oklahoma (11.0 Wins) *BEST BET
Both the Cyclones and the Sooners will be two of the best teams in college football in 2021. Iowa State gets Texas, TCU and Oklahoma State all at home while Oklahoma has one of the easier schedules in the nation. Iowa State and Oklahoma will meet in Norman, OK, on November 20th and even if the Cyclones pull off the upset, you can still push as I don't see Oklahoma dropping a game against anyone else. There would need to be some type of back luck with injuries or another team in the conference having an unexpected surge for these two teams to not have a rematch in the conference title game. Media attention will focus on the flashy stars like QB Spencer Rattler, QB Brock Purdy, and RB Breece Hall, but the defenses for these teams are top-10 units, creating two of the most complete teams in the nation.