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. Texas Longhorns (Last week: 1)
The Longhorns had the week off (like most Big 12 teams), so there is no reason to move them off of the No. 1 spot. They are the only undefeated team left in Big 12 play and it looks like quarterback Sam Ehlinger is going to be good to go this weekend in Stillwater after suffering a shoulder sprain against Baylor in Week 7. But Tom Herman still has things looking up for his ‘Horns as they enter the second half of the Big 12 schedule.
2. Oklahoma Sooners (Last week: 2)
In a rematch of the Big 12 Championship game, the Sooners dominated the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday in Fort Worth. Kennedy Brooks racked up well over 150 yards and appears to be giving Trey Sermon a run for his money for the No. 1 spot in the backfield. Also note, Sermon suffered a leg injury and Riley said on Monday during the Big 12 Teleconference that he won’t have an updated on Sermon for several days. Kyler Murray remains a legitimate Heisman contender and the defense started off slow but made solid halftime adjustments when it gave up just a field goal under interim DC Ruffin McNeil. The Sooners are still in the mix for a College Football Playoff.
3. Iowa State Cyclones (Last week: 3)
The Cyclones had some down time following their huge upset of No. 6 West Virginia last weekend in Ames. After a week off, the Cyclones hold steady at No. 3, as their was no reason to move them off of this spot. But it really starts to get interesting for the Cyclones moving forward, starting on Saturday with an 11 a.m. kick off against Texas Tech. The winner of this game becomes the darkhorse team to most likely try and crash the Big 12 Championship Game. And this side of Kyler Murray, Brock Purdy might be the most interesting player to watch and follow in the Big 12 right now.
4. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last week: 4)
Meantime, the Mountaineers had a week to think about their embarrassing performance in Ames the week prior. Hopefully, Will Grier, Jake Spavital and Dana Holgorsen sat in a dark room and tried to figure out where things went wrong last week and how to fix them. This defense is improved, but this team needs the offense to put up big points and reach its potential to have any chance of reaching the Big 12 Championship Game. The Mountaineers host the Baylor Bears in a Thursday night tilt and then a huge showdown looms in Austin the following week.
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last week: 5)
Alan Bowman returned at quarterback and performed well with over 400 passing yards. It was important to get Bowman some reps before Texas Tech begins its toughest three-game stretch of the season against Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas. Not much was asked of Bowman, who started off the game with short passes in the flat and elsewhere, but he was able to knock off some rust against the Jayhawks. The defense continues to perform well, holding Kansas to just three points and forcing a turnover when KU had the ball twice inside the 10-yard line in the first half. Kingsbury has his team at 5-2 and is inching closer towards keeping his job in 2019 and beyond.
6. Baylor Bears (Last week: 6)
Baylor had Texas on the ropes at the end of the game with a chance to tie and take the lead, but could not get the job done last week. Now after a week off, they have another tough test having to go to Morgantown for a prime time Thursday night match up against an angry West Virginia team that is coming off a loss to Iowa State. Baylor’s pass defense has been decent this season, but its the rushing defense that ranks last in the Big 12 Conference. We’ll see what improvements Matt Rhule tried to make on the defensive side of the ball in just a couple of days.
7. Kansas State Wildcats (Last week: 8)
The Wildcats also had the week off, but look like a team that is slowly progressing week by week. In the last three games against Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State, the Wildcats have covered every game and then beat the Cowboys last week. K-State moves up one spot despite being idle mostly because of what’s happened with the team ranked below them. But like many Bill Snyder teams, this one has improved, however there still isn’t much high-end talent and it will have trouble winning many games remaining on the schedule. As for tough games, that all starts this weekend when they take on Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners. Godspeed against that offensive line.
8. TCU Horned Frogs (Last week: 7)
One season after reaching the Big 12 Championship Game, Gary Patterson’s team is now 3-4 and appears to have a bit of a rebuilding year on his hands after Saturday’s 25-point loss to Oklahoma. Oh, and the news got worse on Monday when it was reported that KaVontae Turpin was arrested on Sunday for assaulting a family member. Turpin returned a 99-yard kick off for a touchdown in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma and remains one of the most dynamic players in the Big 12. He ranks second in the conference in all-purpose yards as well (133 yards per game). TCU remains strong on pass defense, but its rushing defense has been more concerning. Also, the switch to Michael Collins from Shawn Robinson at QB could be beneficial for the second half of the Big 12 schedule.
9. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last week: 9)
The Pokes have a full two weeks to thing about their poor performance against Kansas State. They lost the game by 19 points in Manhattan and now turn around to host the Texas Longhorns on Homecoming Saturday. Hopefully the defense won’t give up like it appeared to against the Wildcats. Mike Gundy is going to keep riding with Taylor Cornelius at quarterback, despite fans clamoring for either Spencer Sanders or Dru Brown. Oklahoma State’s pass defense efficiency in the worst in the Big 12 Conference, something new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles needs to put more of an emphasis on moving forward.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last week: 10)
Is it basketball season yet? Everyone is Lawrence is probably counting down. David Beaty fired his offensive coordinator Doug Meacham, but it did not appear to make much of a difference against Texas Tech. Pooka Williams is a stud at running back, but that’s about it. The quarterback play is so awful. It’s difficult to think that Carter Stanely and Miles Kendrick are both apparently worse options than Peyton Bender, who struggled with 5-yard passes on Saturday. David Beaty is clearly a dead man walking and I can’t see this ending well for him if the season continues on its current trajectory.
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