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 had the scare of the season on Saturday in Be_lam (get it?), but were able to hang on for the one-point win and keep their hopes of a College Football Playoff appearance alive and well. But if we are being fair, the defense remains a relative mess, especially in the secondary, which continues to give up yards in big chunks. The offense is the best in the nation based on total yards, but at some point, this defense is going to be asked, and needed, to step up and make a play if this team wants to reach its ultimate goal of the Final Four. The worst part of this week for OU? That the Dallas Cowboys have “an affinity” for Lincoln Riley.
2. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 3)
There were actually a couple of HCS voters who put the Mountaineers in the top spot of this week’s power rankings, but it was not enough to overcome OU, as WVU came up one point short of No. 1. Since their loss to Iowa State, the Mountaineers have won games 58-14 (Baylor), 42-41 (Texas) and 47-10 (TCU). It’s been darn impressive for Dana Holgorsen’s team, which controls its destiny to reach the Big 12 Championship Game. They can win out against the Oklahoma schools to make it, or if they beat OSU and lose to OU, they’ll need Iowa State to lose one of its remaining games against Texas or K-State.
3. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 2)
The Cyclones found themselves in more than just a football game on Saturday, as a brawl broke out which caused David Montgomery to get ejected, and he could end up missing the first half of Saturday’s massive game against the Texas Longhorns. But Iowa State is on a roll and has won five-straight conference games for the first time. Ever. Yep. That’s the kind of roll this team has been on. As for why they fell behind West Virginia? ISU received mostly second/third place votes, while WVU received two first place votes, causing ISU to drop one spot. Remember, these Power Rankings are meant to reflect the team’s performance the prior week, not the Big 12 standings.
4. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 5)
The Longhorns nearly blew it on Saturday night in Lubbock as they saw a 17-point lead evaporate against the Red Raiders. But eventually, the Longhorns used a play eerily similar to the one from 10 years ago when Graham Harrell found Michael Crabtree for the upset victory of UT. Texas snapped its two-game losing streak and still has a shot of making the Big 12 Championship game in three weeks, but they will need some help to get there. Oh yea, and if you missed it, Tom Herman had himself a pretty interesting Sunday night.
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 4)
The Red Raiders have lost three games in a row, but it’s been by a combined 21 points against Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas. The Red Raiders are 5-5, however Kliff Kingsbury deserves to be back in Lubbock next season. He’s earned it. This team has made serious strides this season, despite the injuries and uncertainty at quarterback. Barring a total disaster down the stretch, Texas Tech will go to a bowl game and still has a very good chance of reaching eight wins this season. Any Tech fan would’ve signed up for that before the season.
6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 7)
The Pokes gave the Sooners all they could handle, but just came up one two-point conversion short. I liked the decision to go for it, but did not like the play call. This has been an impossible team to figure out. The Cowboys lost to Kansas State and Baylor, but beat Texas and nearly pulled off the upset of Oklahoma. Go figure? But the Pokes played a great game on Saturday with improvements from the offensive line and defense. But based on how the season has gone you can expect a big let down against the Mountaineers this weekend. That’s how this works, right?
7. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 6)
Baylor had a tough weekend in Ames. They not only lost the game, but lost a couple of players like Greg Roberts and eventually Charlie Brewer to ejection. It was an ugly game, and frankly, both sides come out of this thing looking bad in their own way. And the post-game handshake between Matt Rhule and Matt Campbell clearly showed there is no love lost between the coaches and teams. The Bears are 5-5 and need to win one of their next two games against TCU or Texas Tech to reach a bowl game, which would be huge for this young squad.
8. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 9)
The Wildcats nearly lost to Kansas, which would’ve solidified Bill Snyder’s future, or lack thereof with Kansas State. Instead, Snyder’s team held on for dear life and picked up the win. But after the game, Bill Snyder made a very odd and cryptic comment that certainly puts his future into question. This Kansas State team will still have a very tough time reaching a bowl game, as they have to win out to do so against Texas Tech and then Iowa State.
9. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 8)
After a good first quarter, TCU went on to get smoked in Morgantown by the Mountaineers. It’s been a tough season all around for Gary Patterson’s team, which is also needing to win out the rest of its games against Baylor and Oklahoma State in order to reach a bowl game. It’d be great to get this younger group an extra 3-4 weeks of practice, but I have a hard time seeing the Horned Frogs go 2-0 over the next two weeks.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 10)
Ah, Kansas. This was your last best chance at a win this season and it wasn’t meant to be. KU did play its tail off for the recently fired David Beaty, but they could not close the deal. Now, the Jayhawks have to take on the Sooners and the Longhorns to end the season. I don’t like those odds. But good news for KU fans: Jeff Long somewhat denied ever speaking to former Maryland disgraced coach D.J. Durkin.
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