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 12 in the books, let’s get into this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 2)
What a comeback. There is no other way to put it. It was the biggest comeback in Oklahoma football history, which is saying something. And for as tough as I’ve been on Jalen Hurts in recent weeks (he’s not Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray), he certainly has the leadership tools to lead his team all the way back from 25 points down. Oh and that’s after Hurts was responsible for two key turnovers in the first half that led to 14 Baylor points. With the win, OU remains in the running for a College Football Playoff appearance, but it’s still going to be an uphill battle.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 3)
It was a tie between Oklahoma State and Baylor for No. 2. So as the owner of the site, I took the liberty to be the tie breaker and I had Oklahoma State at No. 2. The Pokes have won three in a row, which is the longest streak in the conference. Chuba Hubbard continues to prove he’s the best offensive weapon in the league and the defense has 10 turnovers in the past three games after having 20 in the first 10 of the Jim Knowles era. The Pokes went from a 1-3 start in Big 12 play to a 4-3 start and a (very slim) chance of reaching a Big 12 Title game.
3. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 1)
28-3. Say it again with me, 28 to freaking 3. That was the score in this game in the second quarter. Then, Baylor got out scored 31 to 3 the rest of the way, including 24-0 in the second quarter. Sure, Baylor can still go win a Big 12 Championship and in fact the team still has a great chance to reach AT&T Stadium, but this one stings. It was a chance to prove it all on the biggest stage and show the CFB Playoff committee that their ranking was insultingly low. Instead, it turned into an epic collapse thanks to an offense that held the ball for five minutes in the second half.
4. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 5)
The Cyclones were one of two teams in the rankings where all five HCS voters had them in the same spot (the other team is down at the bottom). Iowa State is 6-4 and finally won one of the close games they had been on the losing end of all season long after being Texas on a last-second field goal 23-21. Brock Purdy continues to have one of the best seasons in America no one is really talking about and the defense, especially against the running game, was outstanding. However, to think this team is a couple of bounces, kicks and plays away from being 9-1 has got to be incredibly frustrating. While there is a ton to be pleased by in 2019, there has to be a general feeling in Ames of, “What could have been?”
5. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 7)
The Horned Frogs also got over the hump on Saturday hanging on to beat Texas Tech in Lubbock 33-31. While TCU almost blew a 17-0 lead, they got the job done thanks to a swarming rush defense and true freshman QB Max Duggan who continues to make some freshman mistakes, but learn on the job and speed up his learning curve. The Horned Frogs are now more likely to reach a bowl game which would prove incredibly valuable for the guys returning in 2020 and beyond.
6. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 3)
The Longhorns’ Big 12 hopes went up in flames with their last-second loss to the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday night in Ames. The running game could not get going, with less than 60 rushing yards, and while the defense played well, some key mistakes hurt this team down the stretch, most notably the offsides call on the ISU field goal attempt that allowed the Cyclones to milk the clock for a kick as time expired. Something feels off with this Texas team this season. Sure, injuries have been an issue, but it’s fair to now call this season a setback after a run to the Big 12 title game last year and a win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 10)
The Mountaineers move up a few spots after going on the road and beating a formidable Kansas State team. Jarret Doege got the start at QB and its fair to wonder if Austin Kendall’s time playing in a WVU uniform is done. I don’t know how Neal Brown could go away from Doege after how this past weekend went for him at QB. And with the new redshirt rule he can play the rest of the regular season and still maintain it for 2019. The defense remains wildly underrated and the building blocks are starting to pay off in Morgantown.
8. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 6)
The Wildcats had been as high as No. 2 in our Power Rankings a couple of weeks back, but now they’ve fallen to No. 8 after losing to Texas and West Virginia in back-to-back weeks. This past loss was especially tough to swallow at home as a 14-point favorite. The crowd was flat and the team was flatter. K-State is still surpassing expectations this season and has qualified for a bowl game, but with two games left, winning at least one of the two (Texas Tech, Iowa State) is imperative for the season to go from fun and exciting to disappointing.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 8)
The Red Raiders were close, again, and lost. That’s been the story of the season in Lubbock. After trailing TCU 17-0 early in the game, the Red Raiders actually took the lead in the second half before falling to the Horned Frogs 33-31. But the team showed fight despite not having T.J. Vasher for the day and losing Jordyn Brooks early in the game. Tech is unlikely to go bowling, but Matt Wells should continue to have the benefit of the doubt heading into the 2019-20 offseason.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 9)
After scoring 85 points over two games, the Jayhawks have scored 23 in their past two. Carter Stanley looks to have reverted back to what he was: a mediocre quarterback. The offense has suddenly stalled out under Brent Dearmon, which is concerning. The run game can’t get much going either. The defense has had its moments, but despite the improvement, this is still the program with the biggest uphill climb in the conference.
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