Big 12 win totals: Another surprise year from Oklahoma State
Let's preview the conference and see where the value's at.
2021 Big 12 win totals
Head coach Mike Gundy rarely has the talent to win the Big 12, but his rosters are typically intriguing enough to warrant some hype.
Although the Cowboys lost some name value from their 2020 squad with running back Chuba Hubbard, wide receiver Tylan Wallace, and offensive lineman Teven Jenkins moving onto the pros, they could be the conference's surprise team.
Injuries never allowed Oklahoma State to gel last season. The offensive line depth took an early hit, Hubbard and quarterback Spencer Sanders both missed time, and the starting safety duo of Tre Sterling and Kolby Harvell-Peel were both less than 100%.
Still, the Pokes went 8-3 and could've gone 10-1. The program outscored its opponents by more than a touchdown per game, while two of its three losses were by one score, including a defeat to Texas in which the Cowboys outgained the Longhorns by 243 yards.
Oklahoma State returns just 65% of last year's offensive production, but the team is strong where it matters. Sanders - who has two years of experience under center - is back, as is a line that earned a ton of playing time a season ago. The unit lacks a true No. 1 receiver, but Sanders has an experienced safety blanket in Tay Martin, who spent his first three seasons at Washington State.
Defensively, the Cowboys are stacked. A group that led the nation in defensive touchdowns and surrendered fewer than 380 yards per game in 2020 brings back eight starters. Oklahoma State could be the Big 12's best this fall.
Gundy's averaged 9.3 wins over his last 10 full seasons. The program should be favored in its first four contests out of the gates and in eight of them overall.
Take the over.
Texas Tech was at least a thorn in the contenders' side during the Kliff Kingsbury days. Two years into the Matt Wells era, there's barely a pulse.
Wells has posted back-to-back bottom-three finishes in the Big 12. Last year, the Red Raiders recorded a minus-8.7 scoring margin per game. Three of their four wins were by a combined six (!) points against Houston Baptist, Kansas, and Baylor.
Texas Tech's outside the top 80 in returning production and can't rely on its recruiting class, which has finished 10th, eighth, and ninth in the Big 12 over the last three years, respectively.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.