I’m picking every over/under season win total for the Power 5 schools in college football, as well as quite a few others from around the country. I didn’t write all this shit in a day, so the odds are probably not the current ones. Also, there’s a good chance I missed an injury or suspension or twelve. It’s a lot of teams to keep track of and I’m currently putting in 60 hour weeks. Don’t @ me.
Huge shoutout to Phil Steele and a variety of websites on the line making their #content available for all of us to consume. If you don’t use Phil to help you with gambling on college football, you’re lost, pal.
Also, at the bottom of each of these, I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion. It’s not based on who I actually think will win, just my best perceived value. So again, don’t @ me.
Oklahoma – over 10 (even) – 1*
It seems like every other team in the country that’s around 9 or 10 wins for their total is getting more action on the over, besides the Sooners. However, it’s not like they are losing a ton of talent, considering how good they were a season ago. They actually have more experience returning than the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Stanford, TCU, or Houston. Their schedule is tough, but rates out about the same as their one from last year.
I think most of it stems from their lack of success under Bob Stoops when he has a team in the preseason Top 5. The highest they’ve finished the last four times they’ve started in the Top 5 is #15. They went 8-4 in ’14 and three losses were a combined 8 points. They went 10-2 in ’12. They went 9-3 in 2011. Of the nine losses in those three seasons, six of them were by a score or less. It’s not like the teams shit the bed. It’s an overplayed narrative that’s a lazy way to dismiss a team.
The 2016 team (the one we’re actually evaluating) is absolutely loaded. The biggest concern that you would have is if Baker Mayfield goes down, they could be in some real trouble.
The schedule isn’t very forgiving, but they only have four true road games and those four are TCU, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and West Virginia. That’s pretty favorable. The non-con is difficult, playing Houston in the Texans stadium and Ohio State at home.
TCU – over 8.5 (-140) – 1*
The offense is obviously the big question mark with only three starters back and having to replace Trevone Boykin, Josh Doctson, and Aaron Green. They were in a similar spot under Gary Patterson back in 2011 when they also only had three guys back and were replacing Andy Dalton. They averaged 40.8 ppg and went 10-2. I’m not saying that means they’ll for sure do it again, but it’s nice to have the precedent. Kenny Trill Hill is taking over at QB and I think he’ll fit perfectly in this offense. They’re also reloading at wide receiver. The O-line only has 46 starts coming back, but I’m not sure Patterson has ever had O-line that wasn’t good.
The defense has 8 starters coming back from last season and basically 11 if you consider the three guys that were out last year, but started in ’14. They’re capable of averaging under 20 ppg allowed.
I’d expect them to start off 4-0 before they take on the Sooners at home. They’ll face Baylor and Texas on the road.
Baylor – under 8.5 (-110) – 1*
The Bears obviously lost their head coach and subsequently about 1,000 transfers (actual number: 14) over the summer. The transfers only include 3 probably starters and none of them started last year, though. The real issue is depth now and in the future. 7 of their best 9 recruits were a part of those 14 transfers.
On offense, their stable of running backs and QB Seth Russell are back. However, WR Corey Coleman and 144 career starts worth of O-linemen are not. Also gone is both of their backup QBs from last year – Jarrett Stidham and Chris Robinson – who were a part of those transfers. Robinson was actually a WR, but Stidham leaving could be a big deal given how good he was when he stepped in for Russell while he was injured.
They return five starters from a pretty average defense. Their D-linemen were probably the best unit on that side of the ball and they’re replacing all of those guys. Both parts of the projected 2-deep at NT were also a part of the hoard of transfers. They should be solid on the back end, but they’re probably not going to get a ton of help in the form of a pass rush.
The non-con schedule is cake. They get Oklahoma State and TCU at home, but will travel to Texas and Oklahoma and face Tech in Arlington. They close the season at West Virginia, which could be the deciding game on this total.
Texas – over 7 (-165) – 1*
They’ve got 15 starters back, Charlie Strong is in his third year now, they can’t possibly be worse at quarterback. Overall, they’re just a solid team all around with enough talent to be great. They went 5-7 last year, including three by a combined 7 points. Of the three teams listed above them, they get Oklahoma on a neutral site and the other two at home. They do play Notre Dame and Cal again, but they get the Irish at home and Cal isn’t expected to be nearly as good this year, even though the game is on the road. Charlie Strong is too good of a coach to have another 7 loss season.
Oklahoma State – over 8.5 (-105) – 3*
The Cowboys went 10-2 last year and return 17 starters from a season ago. The total here is largely dictated by the schedule. They play OU, TCU, and Baylor all on the road after doing the opposite in ’15. However, I think the rest of the schedule is pretty easy. The toughest non-con is Pitt at home. I’m high on the Panthers, but that’s still advantage to the Cowboys with the game being in Stillwater. Their offense is almost all back and they add in Barry Sanders Jr. from Stanford. Emmanuel Ogbah will be tough to replace on D, but they do return their top 4 tacklers. The Cowboys might be dogs three times this season, but I think they can match up with every team on the schedule.
West Virginia – under 7.5 (-110) – 2*
Holgorsen is on the hot seat. They only have 4 starters back on D and I’m guessing they give up 30+ after giving up 24.6 ppg a year ago. The offense has been pretty consistent under Holgorsen, but they’re losing 1,500 yard rusher Wendell Smallwood this year. I only find two given wins on the schedule: Youngstown State and Kansas.
Kansas State – over 5.5 (-110) – 1*
There’s nothing sexy about this team (unless you’re into special teams) and I can’t tell you how they’re gonna do it, but Bill Snyder was put on this earth to win football games with inferior talent.
Texas Tech – under 6.5 (-105) – 1*
They’ve got the offense to keep up with just about anybody, but they’ve given up 40+ the past two years and they lose 4 of their top 6 tacklers and they lost DB Nigel Bethel over the summer, who had 11 PBUs last year. I’ve got them for three wins and six maybes and three of those maybes are on the road and two of the others are Texas and Baylor, who they haven’t had much recent success again, although they did sneak one out in the last game of the season at Texas last year.
Iowa State – over 3.5 (-110) – 1*
New HC Matt Campbell comes in from Toledo. They return 13 starters from a 3-9 team. They only have 25 career starts coming back on the O-line, but Campbell – and the OL coach he brought with him – worked miracles with his line last year at Toledo. If they’re going to reach this number, it’s going to come down to the last five weeks when they have four games at home and a road game at Kansas.
Kansas – over 1.5 (-110) – 2*
Such an absurdly low number. Yeah, they were 0-12 last year. Yeah, they were outscored by an average of 30 ppg. However, last year they lost to South Dakota St. in Week 1 by three points. SDSU was a Top 10 FCS team last year and this year the Jayhawks trade-in Rhode Island. Rhode Island wasn’t in the Top 90 of Phil Steele’s FCS Power Poll last year. That’s a W. Then, you’ve just got 11 shots at another W. If they don’t beat Ohio in Week 2 at home, things could get dicey until they play Iowa State at home on Nov. 12.
Best Bet for Conference Champion
I mean, I don’t love the Bears this year, but they still have a chance to be really good and they’re a distant fifth in the odds. If they hold court at home, they just have to beat either Texas or Oklahoma on the road and they’ll be in a great position. The winner of the Big 12 pretty much always has one loss. Obviously I’m high on Okie State (+650), but with the schedule and worse odds than Baylor, I’ve gotta go with the Bears.