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 find themselves in the top spot once again after blowing the doors off the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a 55-16 victory in Norman on Saturday. Jalen Hurts is proving to be every bit the college quarterback as his predecessors Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. The stats between the three are eerily similar through their first four games of their respective Heisman Trophy seasons. Oklahoma’s defense is continuing to impress behind Alex Grinch, but there’s still time before we really get a read on just how much this unit has improved.
2. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 2)
The Longhorns were idle this past weekend and remain in the No. 2 spot after a win two weeks ago against Oklahoma State. The secondary could use the time off to get healthy after suffering several injuries in the win over the Cowboys. The Longhorns head to Morgantown this week to take on the Mountaineers before the highly-anticipated Red River Rivalry next week against OU.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 4)
The Cowboys have two Big 12 games under their belt. They hung with the Texas Longhorns on the road and had a dominant performance against Kansas State on Saturday night, holding a K-State running game in check and using their own rushing attack, led by Chuba Hubbard’s nearly 300 yards, to demoralize the Wildcats. The defense is also starting to show some glimpses of improvement, going 16 drives between Texas and K-State allowing a total of six points.
4. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 6)
The Bears move up two spots after finally getting to play a solid opponent in Iowa State and picking up a 23-21 victory. And while Baylor almost let the game slip right out of its hands, they got a win that Matt Rhule’s 2017 or 2018 teams would likely have lost. The defense stood out with its speed and ability to get to Brock Purdy and make him uncomfortable most of the afternoon. Charlie Brewer had a connection going with his wide receivers for most of the afternoon and this is shaping up to be a Baylor team that could end up as the surprise of the Big 12 this season.
5. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 3)
While Kansas State reached the Top 25 last week after a great non-conference, most notably beating Mississippi State on the road, some wind was taken out of the Wildcats’ sails in their loss to Oklahoma State. It’s clear this team won’t be very good playing from behind. They don’t have the horses at wide receiver to make that happen and it’s not the style of play Chris Klieman wants to use. K-State was held to 126 rushing yards after averaging 280 in their first three games. The defense was stout, holding OSU to four field goals in the red zone and looks like it’ll keep them in plenty of games this season.
6. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 8)
The debacle against SMU is going to continue to be one of the most head-scratching moments for any Big 12 team this season. TCU looked like the team we thought they would be on Saturday against KU. Sure, it’s Kansas, but this is an improved Jayhawks team that looked like the old Jayhawks on Saturday in Fort Worth. Max Duggan looked much more comfortable at quarterback with some pretty throws, while the defense owned Carter Stanley and the KU offense, plus the special teams did its thing, led by Jalen Reagor’s 73-yard punt return. TCU has a fascinating match up this week at Iowa State.
7. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 5)
The Cyclones slip two spots after looking rough for three quarters in Waco before turning it on and nearly pulling off the comeback win thanks to 21-unanswered points. The Cyclones have issues on the offensive line as Brock Purdy is spending too much time looking over his shoulder and having to run for his life. Meantime, the cornerbacks appear to getting exposed for Jon Heacock’s defense. Iowa State still has enormous potential, but they’re now 2-2 on the season and have lost their toughest two games of the season thus far.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 7)
The Mountaineers had a week off after beating Kansas. Although, looking at the way TCU manhandled Kansas doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence in what the future holds for the Mountaineers the rest of the week. For Neal Brown, the more practice time with his young team the better. Let’s see if any of that pays off this week against the Longhorns.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 10)
Yep, Texas Tech moves up a spot after losing 55-16. Ha. That’s Power Rankings for ya. The Red Raiders mostly used Jett Duffey at quarterback in place of the injured Alan Bowman and he actually looked decent throwing the ball at times. The defense was the most concerning as players were running into and over each other for the Red Raiders. Matt Wells has a lot to figure out with the team and the program. We knew that going into the season, but with Bowman out, the warts might be more obvious.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 9)
This looked like the old Jayhawks on Saturday against TCU. Granted they ran into a pissed off Gary Paterson, which is never a good sign. But still, the offense couldn’t get going and the defense was spotty, while the special teams also had plenty of forgettable moments. Making matters worse for the Jayhawks is what’s to come. And that’s the Oklahoma Sooners in Lawrence on Saturday afternoon. Godspeed.
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