A few things have changed in our world since 2006 when a team from a conference other than the SEC won the BCS national championship. The Big 12 actually had 12 teams.

Since then, the national champions of college football have all called the SEC home: Alabama (twice), Auburn, Florida (twice) and LSU.

It’s worth remembering that the last conference to keep the crystal football from heading home to Dixie was the Big 12, when a Vince Young-led Texas squad beat USC in a 41-38 thriller (of course, from the NCAA’s point of view, the Trojans never played in the game, having vacated that season for multiple rule violations).

Could the Big 12 claim a national championship again in 2012? The website bovada.lv has odds posted on the seven most likely contenders of the conference’s 10 teams:

  • Oklahoma (10:1) The clear conference favorite is also the fifth choice overall to win the national championship. There’s obvious reasons for the faith in the Sooners: an offense led by quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Kenny Stills and a defense that may be re-energized by the return of former defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. But an offensive line that seems to be losing players every week could be problematic, making at least one loss seem somewhat likely. Can OU survive a stumble and still get a spot in the BCS title game?
  • Texas (22:1) There is apparently plenty of faith in the ability of the Longhorns to right the ship in a big way after an 8-5 campaign in 2011 (including five Big 12 losses). The defense should be  reasonably strong, but with major questions to answer at quarterback and receiver, UT may not be able to score enough points to win the conference -- let alone a BCS championship.
  • West Virginia (45:1) The Mountaineers have a soft non-conference schedule (the toughest test comes at home against a Maryland team that finished 2-10 last year) and an offense that should be one of the nation’s best. But if you’re going to bank on WVU to win a championship, be advised: this is the program’s first season in its 3-4 defense after a decade of playing a 3-3-5 stack. And do you really want to bet on the same West Virginia that lost by 26 to a 5-7 Syracuse squad a year ago?
  • TCU (75:1) Another Big 12 newcomer getting its share of respect, the Horned Frogs enter the league with a 47-5 record over the course of the last four seasons and an experienced quarterback in Casey Pachall to lead the offense. TCU has been incredibly consistent over the course of the past few years, but can coach Gary Patterson and company compete with the game’s Goliaths on a week-in, week-out basis? They didn’t have to worry with that in the Mountain West, and the transition may be tough.
  • Oklahoma State (100:1) The Cowboys had a breakout season in 2011, but quarterback Brandon Weeden and star receiver Justin Blackmon are no longer on the roster. The team’s defense generated plenty of turnovers last season, but also allowed its share of yards and points. If OSU is to somehow contend for a second consecutive Big 12 championship -- let alone a national title -- true freshman signal-caller Wes Lunt will have to have a season to remember, and that defense will have to be a bit better.
  • Kansas State (150:1) Coach Bill Snyder seems to always find a way to make the Wildcats competitive, and this year should be no different with Collin Klein running the offense again after a 10-3 season in 2011. But the defense allowed 50 or more points on three different occasions last season, and the offense had three games with less than 20 points. That kind of inconsistency doesn’t lead to national championships.
  • Texas Tech (500:1) The Red Raiders went 2-7 in Big 12 play a season ago, though one of the two wins did come against then-No. 1 Oklahoma. Quarterback Seth Doege is a bright spot, but there is much need for immediate improvement as evidenced by the nine junior college transfers coach Tommy Tuberville signed as part of his 2012 recruiting class.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12.