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.
Wow. How sad is it that this is IT for the regular season in college football? Did that fly by or what? We will do another Power Rankings after bowl season, but here you have it for the final time in 2017.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (Last week: 1)
There was never a doubt as OU steamrolled the Mountaineers on Saturday. Plus, no Baker Mayfield, no problem. Kyler Murray gave OU fans a glimpse to the future with his 66-yard run to open the game. The Sooners still appear to be clicking on all cylinders and the emergence of Rodney Anderson in the backfield continues (four touchdowns vs. WVU). Meanwhile, the defense continues to do its part, which is basically to allow less than 40 points and the Sooners should win. That’s not too tall of an ask.
2. TCU Horned Frogs (Last week: 2)
The game against Baylor got off to a rocky and slow start and included a fight, which will cost Nick Orr the first half of the Big 12 championship game. But that being said, the Horned Frogs are ready for revenge against Oklahoma. Can they pull it off? It will be a very tough task. But the game is basically in their backyard at AT&T Stadium and any time Gary Patterson has a game under his belt against an opponent, I wouldn’t be feeling overly confident. Meantime, some TCU fans think a College Football Playoff appearance is still possible. The odds are not likely, but here’s a couple scenarios that might give the the Horned Frogs some hope.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last week: 3)
The Cowboys showed their first signs of life following the Bedlam loss in putting together a complete game and blowing out an opponent. Granted, it was a Kansas. But it was a nice way to send out an impressive group of seniors in Mason Rudolph and James Washington, among others. While their careers in Stillwater may not have lived up to some folks’ expectations, there is still much for this group to be proud of as a bowl win would make it three-straight 10-win seasons for the Cowboys.
4. Kansas State Wildcats (Last week: 7)
The Wildcats make the biggest jump in this week’s rankings thanks to some magic in Manhattan, courtesy of Skylar Thompson and Co. Yes, we get it Iowa State fans, there were some flags picked up that shouldn’t have been. But for the Wildcats, they close the regular season having won four of five games and appear to have their quarterback of the future in Skylar Thompson. It’s still not the season fans expected from this group, but now there is lots of optimism heading into bowl preparation and then the offseason.
5. Iowa State Cyclones (Last week: 4)
The Cyclones have somewhat quietly fallen back over the month of November. Following a 4-0 October, the Cyclones went 1-3 this month. Granted, all three losses were by a touchdown or less, but that won’t help Matt Campbell sleep any better. Yes, the officials Saturday butchered quite a few calls and picked up flags they shouldn’t have. But sometimes, that’s football. This was still a huge season for Campbell and his staff, along with the players, but I’m sure they’ll look at this 7-win season and yearn for 8 or 9. But hell, who would’ve predicted that before the season anyway? Most importantly, Campbell has said he’s “here for the long haul.” Hopefully he’s being sincere.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last week: 6)
The Mountaineers were the most hotly debated team this week, ranging anywhere from the #4 spot down to #8. The Mountaineers defense struggled all season long, but with the loss of Will Grier, it’s even more evident how poorly this unit is. The Sooners did whatever they wanted against WVU, setting a single-game school record with an average of 12.0 yards per play. Quarterback Chris Chugnov did not look any better after a week of reps with the first team, finishing 10/20 for 137 yards. We knew Will Grier was damn good, but seeing this team without him, one could argue he’s the MVP of the Big 12.conference.
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last week: 8)
Wow. What a turn of events in Lubbock. Kliff Kingsbury is here to stay, at least through 2018, as Kirby Hocutt made the announcement following the Red Raiders’ stunning 27-23 comeback win over the Texas Longhorns on Friday night. Nic Shimonek came in and bailed out Kingsbury, leading the team late in the game. The win puts the Red Raiders into a bowl game for the third time in five seasons under Kingsbury, who finally has some momentum behind him heading into an offseason.
8. Texas Longhorns (Last week: 5)
Death, taxes, and Texas football finishing with a 6-6 record. I’m pretty sure Charlie Strong would’ve coached this group to around the same record. Tom Herman’s season came to a disastrous end with the loss to Texas Tech. But not just the fact that UT lost, but how they lost, with piss poor play calling down the stretch by Tim Beck, who fans are rightfully fed up with. Herman has insisted he isn’t making any changes to his staff this offseason. I tend to believe him, but boy it was tough to justify what took place this past weekend.
9. Baylor Bears (Last week: 9)
The Bears deserve credit as they fought through a season filled with injuries, turnover, and lack of depth, but kept fighting for new head coach Matt Rhule. They were right in the game against TCU until the second half, when the Horned Frogs pulled away. But Baylor has been steadily in the #9 spot for much of the season because, unlike the team below them, at least they’ve been competitive in some of their games and beat the team in the #10 hole.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last week: 10)
Blowout loss, after blowout loss, after blowout loss. It was only appropriate for Kansas to end their season with a 41-point defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State. How else was it supposed to end? David Beaty is coming back for 2018. Some fans might disagree, but I would simply ask you this: who else are you getting that is producing more immediate results? If Beaty can put together a decent recruiting class again, that would be a great place to start. But at some point, these losses need to at the very least be competitive.