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 Sooners were off this past weekend after wrapping up a relatively weak non-conference schedule in impressive fashion at 3-0 and with dominant victories. But this was the first time OU did not receive every first place vote from the HCS voters. It’s not OU’s fault, as Houston is typically regarded as a good Group of 5 program and UCLA has history, but neither team has looked good this season (although Saturday night’s UCLA comeback against Washington State deserves some props). Anyway, there’s no reasons to take OU off the top line until proven otherwise.
2. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 2)
The Longhorns kicked off Big 12 play with a 36-30 win over Oklahoma State, a team they had not beaten in four tries and had not beaten at home since 2008. Sam Ehlinger had himself a day and while the secondary ended up banged up, there were some great performances such as Montrell Estrell having the best game of his young career in Austin. The Longhorns certainly look like the team best equipped to end OU’s reign of the Big 12.
3. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 3)
The Wildcats had a bye week before starting Big 12 play but are still riding high off their Mississippi State win in Starkville two weeks ago. Thanks to that win and some convenient Top 25 losses, K-State finds itself ranked for the first time this season. If you were to tell me that Kansas State would find itself ranked by the end of September, I’d ask for some of whatever you’re smoking. Kudos to what Chris Klieman has done thus far, but now it’s time for conference play.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 4)
Oklahoma State opened conference play with a loss at Texas on Saturday. Mike Gundy went for it on two fourth downs that, naturally, caused some controversy amongst fans. Alas, Gundy is going to Gundy, which means some bad with a ton of good. For the most part, redshirt freshman QB Spencer Sanders handled himself very well in his first Big 12 road game. If this defense can keep improving, Oklahoma State will hang tight near the top of the conference.
5. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 7)
It’s been a rough start to the season for Iowa State with the Northern Iowa scare and the Iowa loss. So the Cyclones took out their frustrations on Louisiana-Monroe, putting up 72 points in a win. Brock Purdy set Iowa State records and earned our Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week. The offense needed it after averaging 15 ppg in regulation coming into Saturday, which ranked 126th of 130 FBS teams. Iowa State at Baylor is a fascinating game this weekend that will help determine which of these teams has the best chance to challenge the top dogs in the conference.
6. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 6)
Baylor once was again the most hotly-debated team in the Power Rankings this week, going as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 10. The Bears had a ho-hum close to an incredibly easy non-conference slate, beating Rice 21-13. There isn’t much else to say about the Bears because we really have no idea how good this team is until it plays somebody. That will happen Saturday with Iowa State coming to Waco.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 9)
Hey, the Mountaineers have won two-straight Power 5 games, something no one else in the conference can say at this point! That’s worth something, right? It wasn’t always a pretty game on Saturday in Lawrence, but West Virginia won a game it was supposed to against the Jayhawks. Austin Kendall is continue to get more comfortable, while the defense did a good job keeping Pooka Williams (15 carries, 76 yards) and the rest of the KU running game in relatively check.
8. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 5)
The Horned Frogs cracked the Top 25 last week and then had a total debacle on Saturday, losing to SMU. Max Duggan looked like a true freshman, but it was the defense that was far more disappointing. One week after it held Purdue to 200 total yards and under 30 rushing yards, SMU QB (former Texas QB) Shane Buechele looked like a guy who should’ve never transferred from the Big 12 to the AAC. He threw for nearly 300 yards with two touchdowns. Right now, TCU is not a team built to come from behind. They almost pulled it off against lesser competition, but it wasn’t meant to be.
9. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 8)
The Jayhawks are competitive. Honestly, that’s a big improvement. Sure it was a loss to WVU, a team that might end up finishing 8th or 9th in the conference, but that’s still something that KU fans didn’t expect in recent seasons. Once conference play came, it was just, “Can my team cover a huge double-digit spread?” Les Miles has his guys playing hard and the crowd was impressive, by KU standards, on Saturday. I’m not BS-ing when I say that. The fans turned out, and KU players deserve that based on how this season has gone thus far.
10. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 10)
One week after the team lost Alan Bowman for several weeks due to a shoulder injury, Texas Tech was off last week to try and figure out a game plan moving forward. Unfortunately, there’s no easing into Big 12 play for the Red Raiders, who have to go to Norman this weekend to take on No. 6 Oklahoma. Welcome to the big leagues, Matt Wells. Now the real challenges begin.
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