by Mark Mayer | EDITORS NOTE: This is the fourth in a 10-week series running through Aug. 26 focusing on season openers, individual odds (if on the board), betting strengths and weaknesses among college footballs premier conferences. So clip and save.
Its not really fair this season to poke fun at Kansas State for trying to schedule cupcakes before the Big 12 grind begins.
Not when the league members are opening against such powers as South Dakota St, Arkansas St, North Texas, Fla International, Tenn-Chattanooga and Eastern Washington. We like Fla Atlantic.
If youre rating difficulty, then put Colorado right at the top. The Buffaloes open with Colorado State and then have their snack the next week in Boulder against Eastern Washington (boy, they get around!) Then its West Virginia, Florida State, Texas, Kansas and Kansas State in succession.
Colorado (6-7 SU, 6-7 ATS): The Buffaloes held form regarding spreads, going 3-1 ATS as a favorite and 2-5 as an underdog. Getting off to a 2-0 start is mandatory if the Buffs want to see .500 or more.
Nebraska (5-7, 4-8): Better news for Cornhuskers is five straight home games plus Missouri and Kansas later visiting Lincoln. Nebraska does go to Oklahoma, but Texas is off the slate. Improving on a 2-6 SU / ATS mark in league play would help a lot.
Oklahoma (11-3, 7-7): Last year the Sooners opened with a 79-10 win over North Texas. Hear that Chattanooga? Choo-Choo us a line (any line) and were all over that sucker. The over was 6-2 in OU home games and no wonder. The Sooners scored 41 points or more seven times.
Oklahoma St (7-6, 5-7): The Cowboys arent boring. They scored 35 points or higher in five of their last seven games. The Pokes also allowed 33 or more in five of their last six. Like Nebraska, Okie State has to improve on a 3-5 ATS mark against Big 12 foes.
Kansas (12-1, 11-1): This was college footballs top team against the spread. The Jayhawks were 7-1 ATS as a favorite and 5-0 on the road. KU was an astounding +21 in takeaways (+15 in Big 12). Game 3 at South Florida will be sweet.
Missouri (8-5, 6-6): It was the Tigers who handed Kansas its only loss. Mizzou began 8-0-1 ATS and finished 7-0 away from Columbia. Keep that in mind when Tigers visit Texas and Nebraska. And, a +13 in takeaways didnt hurt.
Kansas St (5-7, 6-5): Wow, the Wildcats werent this bad since the days prior to Bill Snyder when the program was a laughing stock. To bounce back, K-State has to bone up defensively. State allowed 167 points in their last three games.
Iowa St (3-9, 5-5): With a visit in Game 4 to UNLV, the Cyclones could be at least 3-1 for the league opener at home with Kansas. Thats the upside. The down is 1-4 ATS on the road and a -6 in takeaways.
Texas (10-3, 9-4): The Horns usually cover the big spreads and were 4-1 ATS both on the road and out of conference. Game 3 in Austin against Arkansas will bring back fond Southwest Conference memories. Its also a nice way for Bevo to brand Bobby Petrino.
Texas A&M (7-6, 6-6): We all love kissing our gals after a score. Unfortunately that Aggie tradition is only done at Kyle Field. Last year, A&M was 1-4 SU on the road and 1-3 ATS outside the Big 12. That gives some hope for Arkansas State supporters in the opener.
Texas Tech (7-6, 7-6): The Red Raiders like to feast on prey not wearing Big 12 helmets. Try 75 on Northwestern STATE! In all, Tech was 5-0 SU outside the league. Yet for all the high-octane offense, the over/under was an even 6-6.
Baylor (6-6, 4-7): Somebody has to be last. A -18 in takeaways will get it done. No were too high-brow to crack Waco jokes. Last years 0-8 league mark (1-7 ATS) is a good one-liner. The Bears do open at home against Wake Forest, but the Deacs are a great cover team.
Next week: Conference USA.