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College Football 2021: Top sleeper picks in the Big 12 Conference

Glendale, AZ, USA; Iowa State's Brock Purdy (15) throws a pass against Oregon during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic Ncaa Football Oregon At Iowa State

The Oklahoma Sooners are the class of the Big 12, and they have been for a very long time. Winners of the last six conference titles, Oklahoma has gone an impressive 47-6 in the conference during that time, winning 14 of the possible 27 Big 12 titles since the conference's inception in 1996. Texas is the next highest, with three titles.

Lincoln Riley, Spencer Rattler & Co. look as poised as ever to run it back for the seventh straight time, and their PFF preseason conference title odds of 60% back that up. However, that doesn’t mean we can give up on the rest of the conference. After all, what goes up must come down.

Here are the top contenders Oklahoma will have to beat out to retain their title.

PFF's 2021 College Football Preview Magazine offers a one-of-a-kind deep dive into every team and every conference in the FBS. You'll get PFF grades, position breakdowns, betting predictions, accuracy data and more, making it the only resource you'll need to prepare for the 2021 college football season.

1. Iowa State

Conference Title Odds: 11%

It has been 110 years since the Cyclones won a conference title, but the 2021 season represents their best chance in a very long time. A title win would be the culmination of the otherworldly turnaround that Matt Campbell has orchestrated since his arrival in 2016.

They are a well-balanced team that returns a slew of productive players, including four-year starting quarterback Brock Purdy. But while the talent around the quarterback position will put the Cyclones in a position to compete in every game, the hope for a conference title — and maybe more — will depend on whether Purdy can finally become the player we all envisioned him being after his freshman season. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound quarterback exploded with a stellar 88.0 PFF passing grade in his first year, but that mark has since fallen to 82.2 and 74.2 in consecutive years.

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