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 9 in the books, let’s get into this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings.
1. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 2)
The Baylor Bears had a bye week, but move into the top spot in our Big 12 Power Rankings after OU lost to Kansas State. Seriously, who had Baylor in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 in late October? Raise your hand. I won’t do it because I would be lying. Also, the Bears aren’t just doing it with a high-flying offense. They have a running attack ranked fourth in the Big 12, a run defense ranked third in the conference and their pass defense efficiency is second. Who are these guys?!
2. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 6)
The Wildcats make a huge jump this week after slaying the OU dragon as 24-point underdogs at home. Chris Klieman put together a great game plan for his team, which had a stretch where they outscored the Sooners 41-6. K-State held OU’s running game in check. It came in averaging 270 yards per game and barely cracked the 100-yard mark. Skylar Thompson rushed for four touchdowns in the win and was named our Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week. The Wildcats have won two in a row and have the second-longest winning streak in the Big 12.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 7)
Here is another Big 12 team having a see-saw season. The Cowboys looked like the season was unraveling, but then they went on the road and beat Iowa State in Ames as a double-digit underdog. Go figure! The defense forced three turnovers for just the second time under Jim Knowles and Spencer Sanders only had one turnover, although it was a brutal one, and OSU got the best of ISU in the ground game to roll to victory.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 1)
For only the second time this season, the Sooners are not in the top spot, and for the first time this season, they aren’t even in the Top 2. OU lost to Kansas State in Manhattan on Saturday, blowing a 17-0 lead behind a leaky offensive line and a front seven that could not stop the run against the Wildcats. OU is still in a strong position to win the Big 12 Conference, but the debate over their College Football Playoff chances is one worth having.
5. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 3)
Brocktober has unofficially come to an end with Iowa State losing its first game in the month of November since 2017. Iowa State lost the turnover battle and didn’t get the better of their opponent on the ground, two items that have become staples of this team in recent seasons under Matt Campbell. The Cyclones’ defense was also torched by a big-play OSU offense in the first half that ultimately proved to be the difference maker.
6. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 8)
Gary Patterson continues to dominate the Texas Longhorns, winning the match up in five of their past six meetings. Max Duggan had his “moment” that every young quarterback needs to have, coordinating a nine-play drive ending with a rushing touchdown of his own to seal the victory over their in-state rival. It’s still not TCU’s best team in recent memory, but Gary Patterson’s team is fighting just as hard as you would expect and won’t be an easy out for any Big 12 team through the month of November.
7. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 4)
Last week’s near-loss to Kansas apparently wasn’t the wake up call Texas needed as the Longhorns ended up losing at TCU in Week 9. Sure, the Longhorns are beat up, but this team still isn’t playing up to its potential based on the talent on the roster. Texas is ranked second-to-last in total defense in the Big 12 and has the worst passing defense in the conference. Texas has also given up the most sacks in the Big 12 this season, despite Sam Ehlinger being a mobile quarterback.
8. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 9)
Who are you and what have you done with our Kansas Jayhawks?! KU nearly beat Texas in Austin last week and then came home and erased a double-digit deficit against Texas Tech to beat the Red Raiders 37-34. Suddenly, the Jayhawks are no longer the Big 12 doormat like they’ve been for a decade. Les Miles deserves a lot of credit for how this team has played and the move to Brent Dearmon as offensive coordinator has pay huge dividends the last two weeks. The Sunflower Showdown certainly has some juice to it this weekend.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 5)
The Red Raiders were looking to get back on track in Lawrence, like teams have done for the better part of a decade, but this isn’t your father’s KU football team, this is Les Miles’ KU football team. Texas Tech led the game by three scores in the second quarter, but couldn’t hang on. Texas Tech now has the worst defense in the Big 12 (total yards allowed per game) and the offense has been middle-of-the-pack. Texas Tech has now lost three in a row and five of six games and will struggle to get to a bowl game in Matt Well’s first season.
10. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 10)
The West Virginia Mountaineers have lost three-straight games by an average of 24 points per game. They had a much-needed bye week for Neal Brown to hopefully work out some kinks for his team. But they come out of the bye with a road game on a Thursday night against the first-place Baylor Bears. Not exactly easy.
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