As the whole world now knows, the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns will join the SEC in 2025, adding even more depth to an already stacked conference. But until that time, the two schools will remain on the shortlist of teams with dreams of winning the Big 12 Championship each season.
Oklahoma has won each of the last six Big 12 Championships, and while Texas hasn’t claimed a conference title since 2009, the Longhorns remain a perennial contender.
Defense could get Oklahoma over CFP struggles
Oklahoma comes into this season as the Big 12 favorite, and as one of the few teams with a realistic shot at winning a national championship. That isn’t a huge surprise, as the Sooners have reached the College Football Playoff in four of the past six years, though they’ve never managed to reach the title game under the current format.
Oklahoma starts the season as the No. 2 team in the country, according to the AP Poll. The Sooners boast tremendous depth, especially on the defensive side, which is something that could help them overcome powerhouse opponents down the road in the playoffs.
“We still have the hype and all that stuff, but we can just tell that every day in practice we still practice with a hunger,” linebacker Nik Bonitto told Sports Illustrated. “We haven’t done anything, we still have a lot to prove. Everybody across the board I feel like has a big chip on their shoulder this year.”
FanDuel Sportsbook sees Oklahoma as the -170 favorite to win the Big 12 Championship this season. Its biggest challenge could come from a school that has never won the conference title: Iowa State (+300).
Iowa State seeks first Big 12 Championship
The Cyclones reached last year’s Big 12 championship game, and came in as the higher-ranked team. But Oklahoma jumped out to a 24-7 halftime lead, and held on to beat Iowa State 27-21.
Media voters are giving the Cyclones plenty of respect this year, as they come into the season with the No. 7 ranking in the AP poll. Iowa State players sound confident to start the year, as well.
“In years past, I’m not going to lie, I feel like we were a roller coaster as an offense in fall camp,” quarterback Brock Purdy told reporters. “For as cheesy as it sounds, having a good fall camp from beginning to end is crucial. We worked hard in the fall.”
|Big 12 Championship Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Oklahoma: -170||Iowa State: +300|
|Texas: +900||Oklahoma State: +1600|
|TCU: +1600||West Virginia: +3000|
|Kansas State: +10000||Baylor: +10000|
|Texas Tech: +20000||Kansas: +100000|
Texas has gone more than a decade without a conference title, a shocking run for what was once considered one of the premier football programs in the country. The Longhorns start the season as the +900 third choice to win the Big 12 Championship, and Steve Sarkisian’s team will get a test right off the bat when it hosts Louisiana-Lafayette.
Texas comes into the game as a 9.5-point favorite, but Louisiana-Lafayette poses a threat, having knocked off Iowa State last season. “We’re very aware we’re facing an experienced football team,” Sarkisian told reporters. “We have our work cut out for us.”