NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Central Florida

The Big 12 debuts essentially a new league in 2024. Gone are founding members Texas and Oklahoma. In the door come former Pac-12 schools Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State. Over the past two years, half the conference has transitioned. 

But what the Big 12 lacks in cohesive identity, it makes up for in competitiveness. Every program in the new league expects to compete long-term, and with an expanded College Football Playoff, the stakes have never been higher. With so many teams right on the bowl eligibility line, chaos will reign supreme.

When it came to picking win totals last season, our results were decidedly mixed. We went 6-8 on over/under picks, including complete whiffs on Baylor over and West Virginia under. However, we were also adamant that Iowa State and Texas were wildly undervalued, and both delivered by competing for and winning the Big 12, respectively. 

Pushing the conference to 16 teams will make matters far more complicated, but here's how we gauge the Big 12 heading into 2024. 


Over/under 8

  • Wins: New Mexico, NAU, Texas Tech, at BYU, Colorado, West Virginia, Houston, Arizona State
  • Losses: at Kansas State, at Utah, at UCF, at TCU

Analysis: The Wildcats boast the best passing game in the Big 12 with quarterback Noah Fifita and wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan leading the way. The question is whether first-year coach Brent Brennan can keep the train rolling after Jedd Fisch left for Washington. Eight wins is technically a push, but we'll lean over. Pick: Over 8 (+105)

Arizona State

Over/under 4.5

  • Wins: Wyoming, at Texas State, BYU
  • Losses: Mississippi State, at Texas Tech, Kansas, Utah, at Cincinnati, at Oklahoma State, UCF, at Kansas State, at Arizona

Analysis: Vegas thinks I'm far too harsh towards Arizona State, and oddsmakers may have a point. But if Sam Leavitt isn't a clear upgrade at quarterback, the schedule starts to look scary. Only one Big 12 home game comes against a program that doesn't expect to be in the conference title race. Even nonconference matchups against Wyoming and at Texas State are losable. The running back room provides some real intrigue, but will it be enough? Pick: Under 4.5 (-140)


Over/under 5.5

  • Wins: Tarleton, Air Force, BYU, Oklahoma State, TCU, at Houston
  • Losses: at Utah, at Colorado, at Iowa State, at Texas Tech, at West Virginia, Kansas

Analysis: The Bears are one of the tougher teams to project in the Big 12. There's a real chance that the program under Dave Aranda is just broken beyond repair, but adding a handful of targeted transfers like MAC Player of the Year Dequan Finn, top guard transfer Omar Aigbedion and JUCO defensive tackle Tonga Lolohea would appear to supplement some holes. Baylor will be sweating a bowl game right until the last week of the season. Pick: Over 5.5 (+100)


Over/under 4.5

  • Wins: Southern Illinois, at Wyoming, Houston
  • Losses: at SMU, Kansas State, at Baylor, Arizona, Oklahoma State, at UCF, at Utah, Kansas, at Arizona State

Analysis: BYU should be improved in 2024 -- especially on defense -- but the schedule might not reveal it. The Cougars play only six home games, including two of three nonconference games on the road. The limited home slate includes Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Kansas. Unless an offensive playmaker emerges, it's hard to see the Cougs keeping up. Pick: Under 4.5 (-125)


Over/under 7.5

  • Wins: New Hampshire, Sam Houston, Colorado, Cincinnati, BYU, Arizona, at Arizona State
  • Losses: at TCU, at Florida, at Iowa State, at West Virginia, Utah

Analysis: The Knights were the only Big 12 newcomer to make a bowl last season and enter 2024 as a potential dark horse title contender. The backfield of quarterback KJ Jefferson and running backs Peny Boone and RJ Harvey should be one of the best in college football. At the same time, edge Nyjalik Kelly and safety Deshawn Pace provide some physicality on defense. The nonconference matchup against hated Florida could be the swing game for UCF to hit the over. Pick: Under 7.5 (-105)


Over/under 5

  • Wins: Towson, Pittsburgh, at Miami-Ohio, Houston, Arizona State
  • Losses: at Texas Tech, at UCF, at Colorado, West Virginia, at Iowa State, at Kansas State, TCU

Analysis: The Bearcats added an intriguing young quarterback in Indiana transfer Brendan Sorsby, and return All-American defensive tackle Dontay Corleone. However, this program is still seeking an identity since joining the Big 12 and a schedule filled with 50/50 games will only expose that. Still, if Cincinnati can beat Pittsburgh in nonconference play, a push is on the table. Pick: Over 5 (-150)


Over/under 5.5

  • Wins: North Dakota State, at Colorado State, Baylor, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State
  • Losses: at Nebraska, at UCF, Kansas State, at Arizona, at Texas Tech, Utah, at Kansas

Analysis: Now for the single most impossible-to-predict squad in college football. The Buffaloes made serious strides along the defensive line and should stop the run at a high level. Most of the receiving playmakers are back, along with star quarterback Shedeur Sanders, and cornerback Travis Hunter gives the Buffs a do-everything playmaker. That said, Colorado is starting completely from scratch up front on offense with a first-time offensive line coach, not to mention two new coordinators. Add a brutal road schedule and getting to bowl eligibility will be a challenge. Pick: Under 5.5 (+110)


Over/under 3.5

  • Wins: UNLV, Rice
  • Losses: at Oklahoma, at Cincinnati, Iowa State, at TCU, at Kansas, Utah, Kansas State, at Arizona, Baylor, at BYU

Analysis: New coach Willie Fritz is a miracle worker, but isn't necessarily known for quick flips. His Tulane squad went 1-7 in his first season in 2016 before climbing up to take over the AAC. After inheriting a wildly unbalanced roster left by the previous coaching staff, Fritz is entering a full rebuild. Quarterback Donovan Smith and some intriguing receivers likely get Houston at least one win in conference play, but even that won't be enough. Pick: Under 3.5 (+135)

Iowa State

Over/under 7.5

  • Wins: North Dakota, Arkansas State, Houston, Baylor, UCF, Texas Tech, Kansas, Cincinnati, Kansas State
  • Losses: at Iowa, at West Virginia, at Utah

Analysis: By my money, Iowa State may be the most undervalued team in the Big 12. The Cyclones finished 6-3 in conference play last season and return the most production in college football. Outside of Texas, the Cyclones were the best defense in the Big 12 last season. Getting all of Utah, Kansas State and Kansas makes the job difficult, but just handle those matchups and Iowa State could earn a trip to Arlington. Pick: Over 7.5 (-105)


Over/under 8

  • Wins: Lindenwood, at Illinois, UNLV, at West Virginia, TCU, at Arizona State, Houston, at BYU, Colorado, at Baylor
  • Losses: at Kansas State, Iowa State

Analysis: The Jayhawks' season essentially comes down to one player. If quarterback Jalon Daniels is recovered from his nagging back injury, Kansas is nearly a lock to go over. If Daniels is still struggling and misses multiple games, it will be difficult to get there. If Daniels is in the lineup, Kansas is loaded with talent around him to make something happen. Let's be optimistic! Pick: Over 8 (-125)

Kansas State

Over/under 9.5

  • Wins: UTM, at Tulane, Arizona, at BYU, Oklahoma State, at Colorado, Kansas, at Houston, Arizona State, Cincinnati
  • Losses: at West Virginia, at Iowa State

Analysis: Kansas State rides into 2024 with one of the highest over/under in the Big 12 despite sporting a new look. Gone is quarterback Will Howard, along with several members of a stacked offensive line. In comes Avery Johnson and Dylan Edwards, who join DJ Giddens to form one of the most terrifying running attacks in the nation. KSU has a relatively manageable schedule in 2024, missing Utah and getting Oklahoma State and Arizona at home. Pick: Over 9.5 (+125)

Oklahoma State

Over/under 8

  • Wins: South Dakota State, Arkansas, at Tulsa, Utah, West Virginia, BYU, Arizona State, TCU, Texas Tech
  • Losses: at Kansas State, at Baylor, at Colorado

Analysis: The Cowboys feature one of the strangest nonconference slates in the league, hosting FCS superpower South Dakota State and traveling to Tulsa. If OSU can handle that stretch better than last season, the Big 12 schedule provides plenty of opportunities. Oklahoma State gets Utah at home and should have a great year in Stillwater. The road slate has some 50/50 games (BYU, Baylor, TCU and Colorado) and we project them to split them. Pick: Over 8 (-120)


Over/under 7.5

  • Wins: at Stanford, Long Island, UCF, Houston, Texas Tech, Arizona, at Cincinnati
  • Losses: at SMU, at Kansas, at Utah, at Baylor, Oklahoma State

Analysis: Sonny Dykes' Horned Frogs were an enigma last season after losing a brutal nonconference matchup to Colorado. An early-season game against SMU could define the season in many ways, especially as the game is a power conference game for the first time since the Southwest Conference folded. There are rave reviews coming out of Fort Worth about the defense under Andy Avalos, but the offense has work to do. Pick: Under 7.5 (-140)

Texas Tech

Over/under 7.5

  • Wins: Abilene Christian, at Washington State, North Texas, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Baylor, Colorado
  • Losses: at Arizona, at TCU, at Iowa State, at Oklahoma State, West Virginia

Analysis: The Red Raiders are due for some good luck after a horrendous run of injuries last season. Three different quarterbacks started games and three of six losses were by eight points or fewer, headlined by a 38-30 loss to Oregon. Texas Tech needs to rack up victories early in the schedule with four of the first five games at home, but there are plenty of opportunities for mayhem. Pick: Under 7.5 (+110)


Over/under 9.5

  • Wins: Southern Utah, Baylor, at Utah State, Arizona, at Arizona State, TCU, at Houston, BYU, at Colorado, Iowa State, at UCF
  • Losses: at Oklahoma State

Analysis: Utah should be the class of the conference in its debut Big 12 season. Quarterback Cameron Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe are back from injuries, which should solidify a unit that struggled last season. If Rising isn't healthy, Cal Poly transfer Sam Huard gives the Utes a much higher floor, especially with receiver Dorian Singer joining the mix. If this line is in question, it's hard to view it as anything but a disappointment. Pick: Over 9.5 (-125)

West Virginia

Over/under 6.5

  • Wins: Albany, at Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Kansas State, at Cincinnati, Baylor, UCF, at Texas Tech
  • Losses: Penn State, Kansas, at Oklahoma State, at Arizona

Analysis: The Mountaineers surprised last season and all the pieces are back for WVU to keep things rolling. Quarterback Garrett Greene is a serious playmaker and could be one of the best in the conference if he can improve on the short throws. Defensively, this team took a notable step forward. The confidence will carry over. Pick: Over 6.5 (-115)