A select few programs have been heralded as favorites to win the college football national title for much of the season. Those BCS national championship odds, however, were shaken when the Oregon Ducks fell at the hands of Stanford in Week 11. With one less undefeated challenger to contend with, the Baylor Bears took one step closer to the top of the NCAA futures.
Now on pace for their best season in school history, the No. 4-ranked Bears are a team that the NCAA football betting community has no choice but to take into consideration when wagering long-term.
In Week 13, the 9-0 Bears (6-0 in Big 12 play) will get the chance to prove that they deserve the lofty praise when they kick off against the No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys. According to oddsmakers, the visiting Bears will bring with them a 13-point advantage on the college football point spread, putting all the more pressure on quarterback Bryce Petty to come up big on the road.
While the Bears have boasted the country’s most prolific offense this season — as well as one of its most vaunted defenses — they’ve only faced one other ranked contender so far this season. That Week 11 victory over the then-No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners gave critics and fans alike an idea of what to expect out of Baylor this year, but the sample size is far from conclusive.
A demonstrative showing against a competitor like Oklahoma State would put Baylor in an even better position heading into the final stretch of the college football season. The Bears sit third on the futures with 7-1 odds of winning the national championship, but they could climb further if either of the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide or No. 2 Florida State Seminoles show signs of vulnerability in their own upcoming games.
Unfortunately for Bears fans enjoying their fourth straight winning seasons under head coach Art Briles, the challenging Cowboys will be no pushovers this Saturday. They may not be undefeated, but technically, they have slain more ranked opponents in 2013 than Baylor. One pressing question that bettors need to consider, then, is whether this late-season contest could serve as State’s chance to make its own case for Big 12 contention.
The Cowboys may have been swept off the long-term college football money line, but they still can finish the year with a commendable record and a shot at a solid bowl game.
Weigh in this weekend when two conference rivals collide, each with their own agendas and plenty to prove.