Ah yes, they are BACK. The power rankings are here as we wrap up the first weekend of Big 12 football. In our 2018 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 who we think are the best teams in the conference, but rather based on the games that have been played to date.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (Last week: 1)
The Sooners continued to show in Week 2 against UCLA why they are still the class of the Big 12 Conference until proven otherwise. OU rolled to a 49-21 win over the Bruins as Kyler Murray tossed three touchdowns with over 300 yards, helping pile up 485 yards of total offense. Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb are becoming the best 1-2 punch at wide receiver in the Big 12 Conference. It wasn’t all roses for OU, as the team announced on Sunday night that Rodney Anderson is done for the season with a knee injury, but the good news for OU is that there is a ton of talent at that position and Trey Sermon, Marcelias Sutton and T.J. Pledger should be able to make sure the drop off is not too great.
2. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last week: 2)
The Mountaineers did what they were supposed to do on Saturday by crushing Youngstown State 52-17 behind 621 yards of total offense. Will Grier has put himself atop the Heisman conversation through two weeks with 332 passing yards and four touchdowns. Yes, it’s Youngstown State, but WVU’s defense is looking much improved through two games holding the Penguins to 157 passing yards and 136 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are right in the conversation for being the team most likely to give OU a run for its money this fall.
3. TCU Horned Frogs (Last week: 3)
The Horned Frogs were barely edged out for the No. 2 spot by WVU. The HCS staff was split on who was No. 2 and who was No. 3, but everyone had either WVU or TCU in the two spots. The Horned Frogs got off to a slow start in their rain-delayed Friday night match up with SMU, but once they got going, they rocked the Mustangs for a 42-12 win on the road. Shawn Robinson was not as polished passing the ball as in Week 1, but it was also in difficult conditions. The running game piled up 247 yards and of course special teams played a role in this win. Now… it’s onto the Ohio State Buckeyes this weekend!
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last week: 4)
Every HCS contributor had Oklahoma State in the No. 4 spot. There are reasons to like what Mike Gundy has going on one season after losing a few star players on both sides of the ball, but also some cause for concern. At quarterback, Taylor Cornelius completed 25 of 40 passes for 428 yards and one touchdown. But at times he has not looked like the quality of a starting QB that Cowboys fans have come to expect. He had another costly mistake this week with an interception in the red zone. I wonder if Gundy is having Cornelius keep the seat warm until Dru Brown or Spencer Sanders have a better understanding of the offense. But overall, OSU held South Alabama to 214 total yards in their 55-13 win. There’s still lots to like.
5. Iowa State Cyclones (Last week: 5)
Despite their pathetic offensive performance last week against Iowa, the Cyclones come in at the No. 5 spot. The defense is still as good as any in the Big 12 Conference, if not the best. But even without Kyle Kempt for the latter part of the game due to injury, the offense was a mess long before he left the game. The offensive line got eaten alive by a very stout Iowa defensive line, but this is not a Hawkeyes team projected to compete at the top of the Big 10 West. Iowa State had 19, yes, 19 rushing yards and 155 total yards. The schedule is front-loaded for ISU, so they need to figure this out quickly before saying “hello” to Oklahoma this weekend.
6. Baylor Bears (Last week: 6)
The HCS staff was very split on Baylor. Some voters had them as high as No. 5 and some as low as No. 9. The Bears got revenge against UTSA with a 37-20 win and Matt Rhule appears to have two quarterbacks who can help Baylor win games. Charlie Brewer got more reps than N.C. State transfer Jalen McClendon this week, finishing with three touchdowns and 328 passing yards. The final score looked better than it was for Baylor, who was only up 27-20 in the fourth quarter, but it’s a program that has doubled its win total from last season, has a very good offense and unlike last season, is relatively healthy through its first two games.
7. Texas Longhorns (Last week: 7)
The Longhorns were also hotly debated, ranking as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 8. So when averaged out, here you have the Longhorns in at No. 7. Texas led 21-0 at halftime before letting the Golden Hurricane back into the game in the second half. Sam Ehlinger had a pair of nice hook ups with Lil’Jordan Humphrey, which we’d all like to see more of from Texas. But they also piled up 241 rushing yards, while holding Tulsa, a solid offense under Phil Montgomery, to 353 total yards. There are some positives to take from this game in win No. 1 for Texas, but there are still plenty of reasons to be concerned two games into the season in Austin.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last week: 9)
Some had the Red Raiders ranked as high as No. 6, others as low as No. 9. Texas Tech bounced back from its tough loss to Ole Miss to open the season with a 77-0 win over Lamar. For Kliff Kingsbury, he needed an incredible showing from both sides of the ball after a letdown against an SEC opponent in Week 1. For Texas Tech, it was the most points the team had scored since 2005 and first shutout since 2006. True freshman Alan Bowman continues to get quality reps at quarterback after throwing for 282 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. The young man has stepped up in a tough spot and done an admirable job thus far. This weekend’s game against Houston, who just beat Arizona last week, will be another great test for the Red Raiders and will tell us more about what this team is.
9. Kansas State Wildcats (Last week: 8)
I had a fantastic time at the K-State game on Saturday. We had a Heartland College Sports tailgate which was a lot of fun, but that’s where the fun ended. The Wildcats look like a mess on offense. The O-line, a supposed strength, got pushed around for a second straight week by a very good Mississippi State defensive front. Also, the quarterbacks are continuing to give the coaching staff a reason to consider the other one. The defense isn’t looking much better, allowing 384 rushing yards to the Bulldogs and 538 total yards. This team has started slow in the past, but something about what we are seeing so far from the Wildcats is not just a “slow start”. There are some serious concerns here.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last week: 10)
A win, a win! Not only a win… but a road win! First one since 2009, snapping the 46-game road losing streak! Wow. Last week I wrote David Beaty should be fired ASAP. This win doesn’t change the fact that Beaty is probably not the guy to lead this program and turn it around, but kudos to getting a win when it matters most. Pooka Williams is the real deal at running back. The true freshman had 14 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns, while giving the KU offense a spark that it desperately needed. Plus, props to offensive coordinator Doug Meacham for using his strengths and running the ball more than passing the ball, something that Meacham historically has not preferred to do. KU’s defense also held Central Michigan to 271 total yards for a job well done.
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