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 10 in the books, let’s get into this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings.
1. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 1)
Baylor had itself a tough time getting past the West Virginia Moutaineers at home on Thursday night, but with sole possession of first place in the Big 12, the HCS group voted Baylor No. 1 unanimously, once again, this week. Baylor proved it can win a game when its offense is struggling, which is exactly what happened last week. How many games did Art Briles’ Bears win when scoring just 17 points? I would venture not too many.
2. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 2)
The Wildcats remain No. 2 after totally avoiding a hangover by blasting the Kansas Jayhawks 38-10 and rushing for over 300 yards, while holding KU to under 65. Kansas State is bowl eligible for the earliest time in a season since 2014, which even the most optimistic Kansas State fan probably thought was going to be a long shot back in August. They’re doing with with great play along both lines and a group of players who are buying everything Chris Klieman and his staff is selling.
3. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 4)
The Sooners are coming off a bye week in which they had to seethe over their loss to Kansas State the previous week. The defense looked vastly improved for much of the season, but didn’t have itself a good game against the Wildcats. This weekend’s game against Iowa State will tell us a lot about whether OU is really a CFB Playoff-caliber team or not.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 3)
The Pokes looked like a team whose season might be falling off the rails two weeks ago. But a pair of wins later against Iowa State and TCU and suddenly all is (relatively) well is Stillwater. Spencer Sanders is taking better care of the ball, OSU is forcing turnovers and Chuba Hubbard remains the most valuable player in America. Things are suddenly back on the upswing for the Pokes.
5. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 5)
The Cyclones’ season has likely been disappointing by most standards, but this team is still capable of reaching a Big 12 Championship Game. However, the fact that an Iowa State team entering November with a chance to make the Big 12 Championship is a disappointment just tells you how high the bar has been raised by Matt Campbell & Co.
6. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 6)
The Horned Frogs beat Texas and then went to Oklahoma State and lost to the Cowboys on Saturday in Stillwater. But Gary Patterson appears to be getting the most out of his team that is working with a true freshman quarterback learning the position, a spotty offensive line and a defense that hasn’t generated the pass rush of recent seasons. But you know the Horned Frogs will be jacked up to try and spoil Baylor’s undefeated season this week.
7. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 7)
The Longhorns were off last week following their loss to TCU and it could not have come at a better time as Texas is trying to get healthy and still reach a Big 12 Championship Game. But the defense has been, by far, the worst under Todd Orlando, however a banged up secondary is one of the biggest reasons for the struggles. Sam Ehlinger is a great leader, even though Earl Campbell thinks he can’t lead the team to wins because he’s white, but he can only carry this team for so long.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 10)
West Virginia actually moves up in the Power Rankings, despite their loss to Baylor last weekend. Part of that is because KU got smoked, but also because they hung in their on the road against the No. 1 team in the conference. WVU’s defense played well, led by the Stills brothers, who combined for five sacks on the night. The quarterback situation is getting murkier by the day as Austin Kendall’s progression has not been what many hoped for, but in fairness, it’s tough to get the passing game going when you average .5 yards per carry.
9. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 8)
The Jayhawks followed up their first conference win with a complete dud at home against the Kansas State Wildcats, losing 38-10. KU’s offense was stagnant after scoring 85 points the previous two weeks against Texas and Texas Tech. They scored three points until putting in a garbage-time touchdown late in the game. The run game couldn’t get going and the defense couldn’t stop the run. Things are still looking up, but it was a reminder of how much work needs to be done in Lawrence.
10. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 9)
The Red Raiders had the week off following the loss to Kansas and are looking to regroup in Matt Well’s first season. However, some Texas Tech fans appear to be turning on their new staff, which seems like a vast overreaction, as we wrote here last week. Either way, TTU may have its most-winnable game of the season coming up against the Mountaineers this weekend in Morgantown.
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