The Oklahoma Sooners have won the past two Big 12 titles in college football, and they are -110 favorites to take home their third in a row this year. The big question is, can another school from the conference prevent a three-peat?
Bettors would love to know the answer before the season kicks off, but there appears to be only three other top contenders to win the Big 12 in 2017 according to oddsmakers.
First of all, the Sooners obviously will be difficult to beat with the experience of winning the last two conference titles, going 17-1 in the Big 12 and 22-4 overall during that stretch. They also have one of the early Heisman Trophy favorites in senior quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has thrown 76 touchdowns and 15 interceptions at Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys (+300), Texas Longhorns (+500) and Kansas State Wildcats (+600) look to be the main challengers for the conference championship, although none of them have tied or won it since 2012. That year, the Wildcats tied the Sooners for the title with an 8-1 mark while the Cowboys and Longhorns tied for second at 5-4. Oklahoma State has also finished second in the Big 12 the past two years.
The Cowboys have a senior quarterback as well in Mason Rudolph, and he is hoping the third time is the charm for him to beat Mayfield and intrastate rival Oklahoma. Rudolph has come up short in his first two chances, but winning the annual Bedlam matchup this year could end up determining the conference championship.
Kansas State and Texas will try to play spoilers too by winning the Big 12 title. The Wildcats went 6-4 in conference play last year and 9-4 overall, bouncing back nicely from losing marks in 2015 behind veteran head coach Bill Snyder.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns underachieved with losing records in each of the three years under former head coach Charlie Strong despite him continuing to bring in top talent. But new Texas head coach Tom Herman went 22-4 in two years leading the Houston Cougars, and he seems more than ready to handle a much tougher task in Austin.