In our 2017 version of the Big 12 power rankings, we have averaged out the rankings of our main contributors at Heartland College Sports. These will be done on a weekly basis and released every Monday morning. A friendly reminder before trolling: Power Rankings can swing drastically week to week and are not simply a ranking based on what we think the best teams are in the conference, but rather based on the games that have been played to date. ?
1. Oklahoma Sooners (Last week: 3)
You guys (OU fans!) ragged on us big time for having the Sooners at third last week. A win over UTEP was not convincing enough with so much young blood getting big minutes, but Saturday night in The Horseshoe was as good as it gets. This was a no-brainer as every voter put the Sooners at #1. That’s what you get when you beat the #2 team in the country on the road in convincing fashion. Considering the environment, plus the youth he was working with at the skill positions, it was arguably the best game of Baker Mayfield’s career at OU. Well deserved.
2. TCU Horned Frogs (Last week: 5)
TCU got the second-biggest win in the Big 12 this weekend and for that, the Horned Frogs edge out the Cowboys for the number 2 spot. The defense appears to be back to Gary Patterson’s expectations, holding Arkansas to under 270 total yards and just seven points (with an assist from Arkansas’ field goal kicker Cole Hedlund). Even without Kenny Hill flashing his best stuff, the TCU running game led the way thanks to Darius Anderson, Kyle Hicks and Sewo Oloninua. This trio is going to be a handful for any Big 12 defense to deal with.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last week: 1)
Oklahoma State crushed South Alabama 44-7 and Mason Rudolph set the Oklahoma State all-time passing record. But, it was still South Alabama. The Pokes have looked every bit of the College Football Playoff contender many hope for. However credit needs to be given to Oklahoma and TCU, as they’ve both played a tougher schedule through two weeks. This Saturday’s game at Pittsburgh will be a nice early-season test for the Cowboys, albeit one they should cruise to victory in.
4. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last week: 2)
The Mountaineers are a good example this week of how our Power Rankings can vary and fluctuate on a week-by-week basis. All West Virginia did was beat the hell out of East Carolina 56-20 (and force ECU’s hand in making a change at defensive coordinator on Sunday). But the Mountaineers can’t hold down one of the top two spots in our Power Rankings when they lost their Power 5 match up and two teams in the conference won theirs this past weekend. That’s how this works.
5. Kansas State Wildcats (Last week: 4)
The Wildcats move down a spot, despite thrashing 49ers 55-7. Guess what? It was the Charlotte 49ers (although the San Francisco 49ers are so bad there may not be a drastic difference between the two). Kansas State has looked outstanding through two games, but they’ve come against an FCS team (albeit a good one) and a team projected to be one of the worst in the the FBS. The Wildcats play an SEC opponent this weekend, granted not an Alabama or Auburn, but we’ll learn plenty more about the Wildcats Saturday against an improving Vanderbilt program.
6. Texas Longhorns (Last week: 7)
Speaking of one of the worst teams in the FBS, that is what Texas’ most recent opponent, San Jose State, is projected to be. Thankfully for Tom Herman’s crew there was no letdown this week. True freshman Sam Ehlinger got the start due to the injured Shane Buechele and threw for over 200 yards, while Chris Warren lit it up like it was 2015 with 16 carries for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Is Herman starting to get through to this group or was this an aberration heading into USC on Saturday? We’ll find out.
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last week: 6)
The Red Raiders were the only Big 12 team that was idle this past weekend. They slide down just one spot for that reason and nothing more. If Texas was less impressive against San Jose State (yes, we realize the Spartans are terrible), then these two teams probably remain at 6 (Tech) and 7 (Texas), respectively. The good news is the Red Raiders have a chance at revenge against Arizona State this weekend. Granted it doesn’t look like the Sun Devils are any good this season (they lost to San Diego State this past weekend), but that’s even more pressure for the Red Raiders to make sure they win this game.
8. Iowa State Cyclones (Last week: 8)
Ouch. Cyclones fans are still feeling the pain from this loss over the weekend. They were leading their biggest rival by a touchdown with three minutes left in regulation and could not seal the deal. Matt Campbell coached scared as the game wound down and is likely replaying those final minutes over and over again in his mind. It happens. But one thing is clear, this is not the 2016 Iowa State Cyclones. If any Big 12 team sleeps on Matt Campbell’s guys, they will get picked off. But damn, a win over Iowa would’ve been sweet, not just for the Cyclones, but for the Big 12 conference.
9. Kansas Jayhawks (Last week: 9)
Just when you think the Jayhawks might start turning the corner… they get blown out by Central Michigan. The Jayhawks were favored in this game by 5.5 points and while the first quarter saw KU hold a 3-0 lead, they got outscored 24-3 in the second quarter. CMU QB Shane Morris torched the Jayhawks secondary for nearly 500 yards. If that’s a sign of things to come, then this KU team is staring at another zero, or at best, one win, season in Big 12 play.
10. Baylor Bears (Last week: 10)
The only thing keeping Kansas out of the basement is the Baylor Bears who dropped to 0-2 after losing to UTSA on Saturday, a team they were favored to beat by over two touchdowns. Matt Rhule has a rebuilding job on his hands and the good news is that Baylor fans seem to realize and respect that. Unfortunately, ESPN’s Joey Galloway might end up with the worst take in the history of college football after predicting Baylor to win the Big 12. If Matt Rhule uses this season to get his freshmen and sophomores a ton of playing time, it will sting in 2017, but could end up being the best thing for this program down the road.