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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Sizing up Big 12 national title contenders

By David Ubben

We're still a long way from the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, but right now, everybody's got a shot.

Some, of course, are better than others.

So what are the best bets?

ESPN Insider Will Harris fills you in.

You'll need ESPN Insider to see it all, but here's a taste:
Oklahoma just endured a season of turmoil and is pretty much at the low point of the Bob Stoops era, but there has been a housecleaning of both the roster and staff and Stoops is an elite coach who is capable of getting the Sooners back on track quickly. If this team finds better leadership and unifies in camp, Oklahoma could rebound big, although Landry Jones is a deal breaker given that the Sooners' odds are just 12 to 1.
My take: I don't know if it's fair to call this the "low point of the Bob Stoops Era" after a 10-win season, but I'm certainly not a believer in the Sooners as a national title contender just yet. Jones is part of that, but the Sooners have more questions marks (secondary, receiver) than I'd feel comfortable buying into.

The Longhorns get a mention at 25-to-1, but Harris checks in with TCU, too.
All other teams are trading at 33 to 1 at least. Of this group, only TCU at 50 to 1 caught our eye. Like Beamer, Gary Patterson has built a consistent winner that can slug it out with anyone in a given game. The Frogs return the bulk of last year's young squad and catch the top three teams in the league at home.
My take: It could happen. TCU is good enough, in theory, but the amount of variables that come with joining the Big 12 leave plenty of room to doubt the Horned Frogs' ability to write a Cinderella story in 2012.