With the bulk of their starters returning on both sides of the ball the Oklahoma Sooners are in a prime position to claim their first BCS National Championship in more than a decade.
On the latest BCS National Championship futures at Sportsbook the Sooners are heavily favored at 15/4, and it's not hard to see why. The Sooners have nine starters returning on offense and eight defensive starters back for next season.
More importantly on offense the returnees include starting quarterback Landry Jones and top receiver Ryan Broyles. That duo hooked up for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, and should be quite a force again in the Big 12.
ADVERTISEMENT: With questions around the NFL season, some handicappers are turning their full money-making focus to college football odds. See the latest BCS title lines and snag an industry-leading 100% bonus up to $125 at Sportsbook.
The only real question mark for the Sooners on offense this year will be the backfield, because of the exodus of running back DeMarco Murray. Last season Murray rushed for 1,175 yards and his production will be hard to replace. Roy Finch is the obvious replacement for Murray, and he actually had more yards per carry last season.
Making the Sooners' case to be the national title favorite even stronger are the big losses suffered by their competition. On the futures odds at Sportsbook the Alabama Crimson Tide are next in line at 11/2, but they may have a hard time living up to those expectations after losing a big chunk of their offense.
Gone are starting QB Greg McElroy, starting RB and Heisman Sportsbook Mark Ingram, and No. 1 receiver Julio Jones. Those are three big producers to replace, even with Nick Sabban's strong group of underclassmen.
The reigning national champs, Auburn, aren't even being mentioned in the title chase this season because of the departure of QB Cam Newton. For anyone expecting a miracle, you can get the Tigers at 70/1.
Almost every year for the past decade the Ohio State Buckeyes have been among the leaders on the BCS futures, but this year they've fallen off at 14/1. The reason of course is that they'll be shorthanded for the first five games of the season. The memorabilia scandal cost four Buckeyes starters a five-game suspension to start the season, most notably QB Terrelle Pryor.
The Buckeyes will also have to play their first five games without head coach Jim Tressel. Missing Pryor and Tressel could bury the Buckeyes in a hole early on that they won't be able to get out of to get into the national championship picture.
Odds to Win the BCS National Championship at Sportsbook:
Arizona State 75/1
Boise State 14/1
Boston College 150/1
Florida State 10/1
Georgia Tech 150/1
Kansas State 150/1
Michigan State 40/1
Mississippi State 50/1
North Carolina 100/1
Notre Dame 30/1
Ohio State 14/1
Oklahoma 15/4 - current best odds April 14, 2011
Oklahoma State 30/1
Oregon State 125/1
Penn State 28/1
South Florida 100/1
Texas A&M 40/1
Texas Tech 150/1
Virginia Tech 35/1
West Virginia 50/1