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.
This was another busy week for the Big 12 conference as we have a new No. 1 in the Power Rankings!
1. Iowa State Cyclones (Last week: 5)
The Cyclones are now 2-0 against top 5 teams this season. Can anyone else in the country say that? Nope! Iowa State knocked off TCU 14-7 at Jack Trice Stadium and the Cyclones are now in the drivers seat to reach the Big 12 championship game. It’s also the first time since 1976 that the Cyclones are ranked in the top 15 entering November. Matt Campbell is making a serious push for National Coach of the Year as the good vibes continue in Ames. Now it’s just time to renegotiate that contract…
2. Oklahoma Sooners (Last week: 2)
The Sooners hold onto the #2 spot this week after pulling away from Texas Tech in the third quarter. The OU defense picked it up drastically after giving up 20 points in the first quarter. Needless to say, OU had a great weekend, in large part thanks to what Iowa State and Ohio State accomplished. The Sooners also got the running game going in a big way with 336 rushing yards, lead by Rodney Anderson’s 181 yards. He now has over 300 rushing yards his last two games and is becoming the favorite in the backfield.
3. TCU Horned Frogs (Last week: 1)
TCU was just the latest team to fall victim to Iowa State. A few weeks ago, it would’ve been viewed as an embarrassing loss, but no more. Sure it stings to have two turnovers in the red zone and not score a single point on offense, but this is still a championship caliber defense. TCU needs to win the rest of its games to even have a chance at the College Football Playoff.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last week: 3)
At first glance, Oklahoma State beating West Virginia 50-39 and covering the spread would make you assume it was a great win. But it wasn’t. There were fumbles, special teams blunders, pick sixes and plenty more that should give Cowboys fans cause for concern. Oklahoma State has gotten by in recent weeks on pure talent, but with tough games coming up against Oklahoma and Iowa State, the Cowboys’ hopes of reaching a College Football Playoff could be toast by early to mid-November.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last week: 4)
West Virginia slides a spot as they were unable to take advantage of several early mistakes by the Cowboys on Saturday. Plus, Will Grier had his worst game in a WVU uniform, throwing four interceptions, while only completing 47% of his passes. The WVU defense continues to have its issues as well. But Vegas still has plenty of respect for WVU, as they began the week favored over Iowa State, who has beaten two top 5 teams this month.
6. Texas Longhorns (Last week: 6)
The Longhorns rolled over the Baylor Bears in Waco on Saturday, a game I had the pleasure of attending over the weekend. It’s hard to take too much from the game, but we can say this: The Texas defense continues to become one of the best in the Big 12 thanks to Todd Orlando. Shane Buechele looked serviceable at quarterback in place of the injured Sam Ehlinger. It will be interesting to watch this play out over the coming weeks. UT needs to split its final four games to go bowling with TCU, Kansas, West Virginia and Texas Tech on the schedule.
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last week: 8)
The Red Raiders have now lost three-straight games by an average of 17 points per game. After a 4-1 start, Tech is now 4-4 on the season and the fire is slowly beginning to burn again under Kliff Kingsbury. The biggest surprise and concern is that the offense continues to play sporadically. They struggled in the second half against West Virginia, then all game against Iowa State, and after scoring 20 points in the first quarter against OU, Tech only scored 7 points the final three quarters. The Red Raiders can’t win with an inconsistent offense. It won’t happen.
8. Kansas State Wildcats (Last week: 7)
So much for Jesse Ertz playing last week, huh? It was a combination of Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson against Kansas in a 30-20 win over the Jayhawks and it wasn’t always pretty as the two completed 8 of 13 passes for 138 yards. Plus, the offense was just 3 of 11 on third downs. The defense, which was supposed to be a strength, gave up over 400 passing yards to Carter Stanley. Even in a win, things continue to not click right for the Wildcats this season.
9. Baylor Bears (Last week: 9)
The Bears fell to 0-8 on the season and now have a totally confusing situation at quarterback, going from Zach Smith to Charlie Brewer and back to Smith and then back to Brewer during Saturday’s game against Texas. The defense is also struggling, giving up over 30 points against an offense that has been far from outstanding this season. As I wrote about in my trip to Waco on Saturday, the Baylor fan base remains optimistic about the future and what coach Rhule and his staff will accomplish moving forward. It was nice to see that kind of positivity.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last week: 10)
Maybe this switch to Carter Stanley should have been made weeks ago? He threw for 418 yards against a K-State secondary that has a lot of talent. Steven Sims had a monster game with 9 catches for 233 yards. Teams always seem hesitant to take away a starting job from a JUCO transfer who was likely promised playing time upon transferring into the program. But Peyton Bender got more than enough opportunities to prove himself. It’s time for KU to start Stanley the rest of the way and see if he is capable of running Doug Meacham’s system as he wants.