In all honesty, the Big 12 is among the most exciting college football conferences in the country, especially if you like offense. And it should come as no surprise that Oklahoma has won the conference four-straight years now. The reason it shouldn’t be that surprising is that the Sooners have featured each of the last two Heisman Trophy winners that also went on to become No. 1 draft picks the following April. It’s hard to imagine Lincoln Riley’s career as Oklahoma head coach getting off to a better start.
Well… I guess a national championship could have helped. Nevertheless, Oklahoma is favored to win the Big 12 once again in 2019; however, it’s not going to be as easy as in years past. Texas put a stamp on a much-improved season in 2018 by defeating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Tom Herman is returning stud QB Sam Ehlinger and could make a push for his first Big 12 title since leaving Houston for Austin a few years ago.
In this article, I will be talking highlighting whether or not you should stick with the Sooners, as well as a couple other surprising picks in the Big 12. Without further ado, here are the 2019 Big 12 conference title odds.
The Favorite: Oklahoma (-135)
Lincoln Riley has shown the ability to produce explosive offenses and win plenty of games. He’s turned in consecutive 12-2 seasons and won the Big 12 in both seasons as head coach. In addition, Riley has led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff in consecutive seasons. The only knock on him thus far is that he hasn’t been able to win a bowl game. Of course, losing to Georgia by six in double overtime and falling to Alabama by 11 could have been much worse. Two extremely tough opponents.
With that being said, he’s had the last two Heisman Trophy winners, who also happen to be the last two No. 1 NFL Draft picks. First, Baker Mayfield had a record-setting season in 2017 and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns first overall the following April. Then, Kyler Murray has such a great season in 2018 that he decided to pass up his MLB first-round contract to enter the NFL Draft… where he was drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Talk about athletic.
Coach Riley continues to be spoiled, as he brought in former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts, who has already won a national championship in his career. Hurts is not expected to be of the same caliber as Mayfield or Murray, but his experience and winning mentality will be plenty for Riley to mold him into an elite passer. The real upside for Oklahoma in 2019 comes in the form of new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who spent last season as co-DC at Ohio State. He should change the culture on the defensive side of the ball, which is all this team has lacked over the last two seasons.
Click to Page 2 for my top Big 12 contender and a sleeper to watch out for in 2019.