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Big 12 Football Power Rankings: Week 4

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Oklahoma

Ah yes, it’s that time of year when the Big 12 Football Power Rankings return to Heartland College Sports. A reminder that these can flux drastically from week to week. These are not supposed to be a mirror image of that week’s standings. It’s based on the previous week’s performance and the opponent when compared to the rest of the conference. So with Week 3 in the books, let’s get into this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 1)

The Oklahoma Sooners keep on rolling with another dominant win on Saturday against UCLA in a near-empty Rose Bowl. The game said far more about the Bruins than it did the Sooners, but give OU credit for steamrolling its non-conference opponents despite having a new quarterback, new offensive line and new defensive coordinator implementing his scheme. This team hasn’t missed a beat and until proven otherwise is the clear frontrunner in the Big 12 Conference.

2. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 3)

The Longhorns bounced back from a tough and close loss to LSU by beating Rice convincingly. There was no hangover effect from the game as the offense got rolling and the defense bounced back from a poor performance against the Tigers, pitching a shut out until the fourth quarter. Rice is not good, but the Longhorns did what they had to do.

 

3. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 5)

K-State went on the road to hostile SEC territory and got a huge win over Mississippi State. The running game continues to lead the way behind an offensive line getting nice push up front, while the defense is steady and special teams is making some big plays (although admittedly some mistakes as well). Skylar Thompson and the Cats are playing loose and even having fun trolling NFL players after the win. Life is good in Manhattan right now. How can the Wildcats not be the biggest surprise in the Big 12 thus far? They’re also knocking on the door of a Top 25 ranking in the latest polls.

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 2)

The Cowboys got off to a hot start (17-0) against Tulsa before going to halftime trailing 21-20. Chuba Hubbard carried the team in a way he has yet to with a career-high 256 rushing yards and helping pave the way for the offense on an off-day for Tylan Wallace. There were certainly mistakes made on both sides of the ball and things to clean up heading into the Texas game this weekend, but Oklahoma State capped off its non-conference 3-0, which is exactly what Mike Gundy wants to do.

5. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 8)

The Horned Frogs also went on the road and beat a Power 5 opponent, in their case it was Purdue out of the Big Ten. The defense was absolutely dominant against what many expect to be one of the better offenses in the Big Ten Conference. TCU held Purdue to just 23 rushing yards on 25 carries and 204 total yards of offense. Then there was the running game with 346 rushing yards. If TCU figures things out with Alex Delton and/or Max Duggan at QB, watch out.

6. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 4)

Baylor was the team with the biggest differential in our Power Rankings amongst the HCS voters. They were ranked as high as four and as low as ten. The Bears were off this week and while they’ve looked good in their 2-0 start, they have played the softest schedule yet in the Big 12, taking on Stephen F. Austin and UTSA. Spoiler: That doesn’t change this week when the Bears go on the road to face the same Rice team that Texas just beat up on.

 

7. Iowa State (Last Week: 7)

Iowa State held steady in the seven spot after a bizarre afternoon with tons of highs and lows resulted in an 18-17 loss to Iowa in the Cy-Hawk rivalry that keeps getting better. Matt Campbell’s team certainly looked much improved from Week 1 against Northern Iowa, but there were still some unusual mistakes that are not typical of Matt Campbell-coached teams (muffed punt to end the game) and the offense is still a work in progress as Brock Purdy gets used to Tom Manning coming back as offensive coordinator. Campbell’s teams typically get better and that will certainly need to be the case this season for Iowa State to reach its goals of AT&T Stadium in December.

8. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 10)

The Jayhawks edged out West Virginia for the eight spot by one point. The voters appeared to give KU a little more credit for its road win over an ACC opponent in Boston College than WVU’s home win vs. NC State. The Jayhawks snapped a 48-GAME road losing streak to Power 5 opponents, which dated all the way back to 2008. After trailing BC 17-7 in the first quarter, KU outscored the Eagles 41-7 the rest of the way. The fact that this team was down double digits on the road with all the struggles its had in recent years and came back to win in convincing fashion is a testament to what Les Miles is selling to his guys in Lawrence.

9. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 9)

The Mountaineers also got a really impressive win at home vs. NC State on Saturday. The offensive line and running game finally got it going after averaging barely 1.0 yards per carry against James Madison and Missouri by ripping off 173 rushing yards against the Wolfpack and Austin Kendall was comfortable with three touchdowns. Similar to KU, WVU rolled in the second half, outscoring NC State 23-6. This was a great, feel-good win that Neal Brown needed after how things went in Columbia, MO last week.

10. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 6)

After Arizona gave up over 80 points its first two games against Hawaii and FCS Northern Arizona, but Texas Tech’s offense could only muster 14 points against the Wildcats on Saturday night in a 28-14 loss. Alan Bowman was shaky and it’s fair to wonder if he’s truly clicking with his new staff. Also, the defense, which was stout the first two weeks, gave up over 300 rushing yards. Yes, Khalil Tate is a great running quarterback, but it was understandably concerning. The Red Raiders have a bye week to try and figure some things out, and they’ll certainly need it with a trip to Norman, Oklahoma on deck on September 28th.

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