The 2016 college football season is still three months away, yet is it already over for our beloved teams in the apparently not-so-great state of Texas?
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released its 2016 championship odds this week and it doesn’t look good for football fans in the Lone Star State. One team made it among the top 16 — Baylor at 15-1 — and it’s embroiled in an ugly, ugly scandal.
The only other Big 12 team in the early mix is 2015 College Football Playoff participant Oklahoma at 8-1.
Here’s SuperBook’s odds:
▪ Alabama, 6-1
▪ Michigan, 7-1
▪ Clemson, 8-1
▪ Ohio State, 8-1
▪ Florida State, 12-1
▪ Baylor, 15-1
▪ LSU, 15-1
▪ Notre Dame, 15-1
▪ Tennessee, 15-1
▪ Auburn 30-1
▪ Georgia, 30-1
▪ Michigan State 30-1
▪ Ole Miss 30-1
▪ UCLA 30-1
▪ Stanford 30-1
It’s certainly no surprise to see defending champ Alabama at the top of the pack despite needing to find a new starting quarterback, which is exactly what the Crimson Tide did in 2015. Also not surprising is six SEC teams in the top 16, while it is mildly surprising that Bama is the lone SEC power among the top six.
It is surprising to see the amazing John Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines second at 7-1.
Most depressing around these parts is that it’s hard to even piece together a raw-deal argument for our Texas teams.
Texas Tech is optimistic of challenging for the Big 12 title for the first time in coach Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure, but the Red Raiders can’t be considered title contenders.
Texas is a Longhorn-sized question mark heading into Charlie Strong’s third season and first with an up-tempo offense and possibly a true freshman under center in Arlington Lamar’s Shane Buechele.
Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs have to replace quarterback Trevone Boykin, first-round NFL pick Josh Doctson and his wide-receiver partner Kolby Listenbee, among other holes. At least Patterson is dealing with the typical cycle of college football and not scandal or internal chaos. Growing teams is Patterson’s business, so the Frogs are an interesting wait-and-see proposition.
Move over to the SEC and Texas A&M has faced friendly fire since the end of the 2015 season, and has pinned its 2016 hopes on former Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight.
And then there’s Baylor. Art Briles, for now, has survived the sexual assault scandal that has once again painted the faith-based school’s athletic program in a most unsavory light.
On the field, the talent at Briles’ disposable is potent. The offense should be as lethal as ever with the return of quarterback Seth Russell from last season’s scary neck injury — and up-and-comer Jarrett Stidham poised to challenge — plus a stable of playmakers at running back and wide receiver, even with the loss of first-round pick Corey Coleman.
The Bears’ players and coaches will face the distraction of this scandal that isn’t going away any time soon, and could still yet reach Briles’ doorstep. We’ll just have to see how it affects them once fall camp rolls around in August and beyond.
Heading into June, college football season around here, typically a time of intense passion and sky-high expectation, just feels a little less than that.