2021 BIG 12 Football Favorites, Sleepers and Long Shots
The 2021 Big 12 brings together a pool of familiar teams in the favorites list, as well as the sleepers list. Oklahoma will try to secure its seventh consecutive title under coach Lincoln Riley, and so far, the team looks on pace to take the championship in December. Looking at the other contenders, the Sooners make their way to the top of the list after showing explosive defense. There’s plenty of work to be done on the defensive side of things, but overall, the team looks promising as the season-opening draws nearer.
Making their way to the favorites list are Texas, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia. Meanwhile, Iowa State is a great sleeper pick and a contender to take on Oklahoma. Other prospects feature Baylor and Texas Tech, while Kansas requires work following the introduction of new coach Lance Leipold in the picture.
Ultimately, there’s no clear answer as to who takes the throne this season. But one thing’s for certain, football fans and bettors alike are in for a treat as NitroBetting puts together a preview of the 2021 Big 12 College Football. Learn all the essential event information, favorites, sleepers, and longshot of the tournament, and our very own expert betting predictions. Don’t forget to check outh the latest 2021 College Football odds at out online Bitcoin sportsbook.
2021 Big 12 College Football Preview
- When: Saturday, September 4, 2021
- TV: ESPN+, FOX Sports 1, ABC
- Radio: SiriusXM Big 12 Radio
- Live Stream: ESPN+
2021 BIG 12 Football Favorites
The Sooners are on a record run, claiming six Big 12 titles in a row. Coach Lincon Riley and company are heavy favorites to win the league crown once again in the 2021 season. They boast an explosive offensive side, and improving their defense gives the program a better shot at winning a playoff game. If they can polish the rough edges, they might be in for something bigger this postseason.
The Sooners average over 40 points a game for six straight years and once again get the chance to top the nation’s offense. Quarterback Spencer Rattler takes the charge of the attacking, while new additions to the squad Eric Gray and Kennedy Brooks add more talent. Meanwhile, coordinator Alex Grinch made sure that the team saw significant improvement. After the Sooners gave up 6.1 yards per play three years ago, they started to hold teams back to 5.19 yards under new coaching. Moreover, if linebacker Nik Bonitto can record double-digit sacks, Oklahoma might even reach the untouchable status.
Steve Sarkisian stepped in to replace Tom Herman after a 32-18 record between 2017 and 2020. The former is one of the top guns in college football but will have to step up in recruiting and making sure his talents are on the top of their game as opposed to the previous staff. The strength of this team lies beneath the backfield. Bijan Robinson is ready for another incredible year after running 355 yards over Texas’ final two games of 2020.
Alabama transfers Keilan Robinson and Roschon Johnson add more firepower, while quarterbacks Casey Thompson and Hudson Card take care of the quarterback position. Meanwhile, Pete Kwiatkowski takes care of coordinating the defense. Although Texas is known more for their defense, the transfer window added some more depth to the linebacker department. With cornerback D’Shawn Jamison, the line should rank among the best in the Big 12.
2021 BIG 12 Football Sleepers
Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones are coming off a stunning season. Coach Matt Campbell propelled the team to No. 9 in the final ranking and won more than eight games for the third time in Iowa State history. With more confidence in the tank, the team can make a run at the CFB playoffs this year. Quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Breece Hall, tight end Charlie Kolar, and receiver Xavier Hutchinson combined to average 32.9 points per game in the previous season. The offensive line should be one of the most efficient and effective in the Big 12. That and a healthy Tarique Milton should yield good rewards for the team.
At the same time, depth and experience complete Iowa State’s defense. Linebacker Mike Rose is one of the best in college football, while end Will McDonald is a rising star. Having established a trio of cornerbacks in Anthony Johnson, Datrone Young, and Tayvonn Kyle is a massage plus for the attacking-focused Big 12.
Kansas State Wildcats
After an upset over Oklahoma last year, the Wildcats’ performance started to dip and eventually documented a 4-6 finish. Assuming they stay healthy and further improve on defense, coach Chris Klieman and the company should be able to produce more upsets in the 2021 season. Having quarterback Skylar Thompson from injury is a massive boost for the team that averaged only 26.6 points a game in the previous year. Running back Deuce Vaughn assists with playmaking and completes a solid offensive line.
Checking out the defense, Kansas State returned five starters and additional help on all levels. The upgrades are in place after a disastrous season in which the team gave up 32.2 points a game. But once they get the ball rolling, the Wildcats can be a threat to the top dogs of the Big 12.
2021 Big 12 Football Longshot
The team faced plenty of ups and downs in 2020. A coaching staff revamp and limited time to get some traction with their roster meant a disappointing season for the team. Nonetheless, they are back with a vengeance with new play-caller Jeff Grimes. The Bears have some great talent at the receiving end with R.G. Sneed, Gavin Holmes, and Tyquan Thornton. While the backfield wasn’t as dominant last season, there are new options this time around, featuring Terestan Ebner. The presence of Jacob Gall and Grant Miller should further fortify the offensive line.
Taking a look at the defensive side of things, the group shows promising signs before the season opens Coach Dave Aranda and coordinator Ron Robers have proper credentials under their belt backed with lots of success. The addition of Sikai Ika and a healthy year from linebacker Terrell Bernard gives Baylor some much-needed defensive prowess.
Expert’s Prediction for 2021 Big 12 Football
The Big 12 promises an abundance of offensive-minded football. With the field wide open, Oklahoma might just face a bigger challenge ahead of it in the upcoming season. Nonetheless, we are poised for another year of action-packed games and betting opportunities. If you want to stay on the safer side of the spectrum, going for the favorites like Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia could produce good returns. But, if you want a challenge, going for sleepers like Iowa State and Kansas State provides massive returns.