The Oklahoma Sooners will be the favorites at your favored sportsbook to bet on college football when they open their regular season versus the Houston Cougars at NRG Stadium in Texas on September 3rd. The Sooners are the reigning, defending Big 12 champions and currently ranked 3rd in the Associated Press Poll, while the Cougars were ranked in the 15th position. Nevertheless, Houston had one of the best seasons in the history of the program in 2015, finishing 13-1 (7-1 in American Athletic play). Though the Cougars shared the West Division title, they kept the American Athletic Championship all to themselves.
Oklahoma -10½ (-110) 68 (-110) -380
Houston +10½ (-110) 68 (-110) +315
There is no denying that both Sooners and Cougars had outstanding season, so what sets one apart from the other? The argument could be made that the difference lies in the respective conferences in which each plays. Houston is pretty much a big fish in the small pond that is the American Athletic Conference, whereas as the Big 12 – at which top Oklahoma is firmly perched – is one of the Power Five conferences considered to be the primary contenders to produce a College Football Playoff champion team in any given season. And this is where things get even more interesting; as it turns out, the Cougars would like to join the Big 12 themselves, and what better way to prove they belong than by besting one of its mainstays?
It won't be easy, though; in order to play with the big boys, you need to have, well big boys. Boys such as the Sooners' QB Baker Mayfield or running back Samaje Perine. Mayfield is a First-team All-American, First-team All-Big 12, Sporting News Player of the Year, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, winner of the Burlsworth Trophy (most outstanding FBS college football player who began his career as a walk-on), placed 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting, and finished 2015 going 269 of 395 (68.1%) for 3,700 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Perine ended the 2015 season with 1349 rushing yards on 226 carries with 16 touchdowns, and holds the FBS Record for rushing yards in a game with 427.
But before you go off looking for a sportsbook to bet on college football you should know that the Cougars have a star QB of their own in Greg Ward Jr. The son of Greg Ward Sr. – or at least one would assume – is a Second Team All-AAC, 2015 AAC Championship MVP, 2015 Peach Bowl Offensive MVP, and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Winner given to the top offensive Texas-born player who possesses integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, community, and tenacity (and, presumably, who helps kids who can't read good and who wanna learn to do other stuff good too). The Houston starting QB completed 232 of 345 attempted passes (67.2%) for 2828 yards with 6 interceptions and 17 touchdowns. To reiterate, the Sooners are the favorite at your preferred sportsbook to bet on college football, but not by that much, either.