ESPN projections heavily favor OU, Baylor

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
9:45
AM ET
ESPN's Stats & Information team released is official preseason projections last week, and the results are no shock: Oklahoma and Baylor are overwhelming favorites to win the league in 2014.

The Sooners have a 42 percent chance of winning the conference for the ninth time in Bob Stoops' tenure, per ESPN's projections.

Their odds of running the table to 12-0 are 6.2 percent, which ranks fourth-best among major-conference teams behind Florida State (40.3 percent), Oregon (12.6) and Ohio State (7.6).

Baylor comes in at No. 5 among the potential undefeated teams, with a 5.3 percent chance of a perfect season. The Bears' odds of winning a second consecutive Big 12 title, according to the ESPN projections, are 33.2 percent.

That leaves the rest of the Big 12 -- you know, "the field" -- with almost exactly one-in-four odds (24.5 percent) of securing the conference crown. Oklahoma State's Big 12 title odds are nearly 11 percent, with Texas (6.1 percent) and Texas Tech (3.1) the next most likely to win the league.

OU and Baylor have been receiving similar top-10 hype all offseason long, and the data is backing that up. This isn't just a collection of simple odds. Each prediction comes from crunching projected results for every single FBS game this season, and the projections will be updated weekly throughout the season.

A few more takeaways from the Big 12 conference title projections:
  • Oklahoma will undoubtedly be named the preseason Big 12 favorite when the league's annual media poll comes out later this month before Big 12 media days. Keep in mind, though: The last three Big 12 champs were ranked fifth (Baylor, 2012), sixth (Kansas State, 2011) and third (Oklahoma State, 2011) in that same preseason poll. In other words: Ever since the Big 12 went to 10 teams, the league's preseason poll has failed to predict the correct champion. Could we be making the same mistake this year?
  • Don't feel too bad about your imperfect seasons, Big 12 teams. In these ESPN projections, only 11 FBS teams were given more than 1 percent chance of winning out. Texas Tech was actually given the third-best odds of a perfect season among Big 12 teams, at 0.07 percent -- as in, 7-in-10,000 odds. (So you're saying there's a chance...)
  • According to ESPN's preseason projections, West Virginia's strength of schedule is tops in the league and seventh-toughest in FBS. Texas' schedule ranked 11th, and Kansas (19th) and Iowa State (24th) also cracked the top 25 in SOS. Baylor's schedule is ranked easiest in the league, but only 48th nationally.
  • Kansas is projected to have literally zero chance of winning the Big 12, but they have interesting company in that category. Penn State, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State, California, Colorado, Wake Forest, Boston College and Purdue were also projected as having no chance to win their respective conferences.

On Tuesday, we'll take a closer look at ESPN's win-loss projections for each and every Big 12 team.

Max Olson | email

Texas/Big 12 reporter

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