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 change drastically from week to week. These are not supposed to be a mirror image of a given 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 the 2020 season through Week 4, let’s get into this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings.
1. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 8)
Remember, we do these on a week-by-week basis. What you did two weeks ago does not matter in our Power Rankings. Plus, these are not projections for who we think will eventually win the conference. It is a Power Rankings based on the week’s performance. So how can Kansas State not end up in the top spot? The Wildcats were down 21 points in the third quarter to Oklahoma and did something they’ve only done once in program history and that’s beat a Top 3 team in the AP Poll (2003 Big 12 Title Game was the first). Chris Klieman has started his career 2-0 against the Sooners… raise your hand if you predicted that would happen last year? If you raise your hand, you’re a liar.
2. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 3)
The No. 2 spot was between Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas. I went with Baylor because, despite it being their first game of the year and it coming against awful Kansas, they looked strong under new leadership with Dave Aranda and both sides of the ball were clicking. The defense remains stout without Matt Rhule and his staff, while Charlie Brewer continues to be underappreciated outside of Waco. Oh, and Trestan Ebner had himself a game with four touchdowns.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 5)
The Pokes are a team being led by their defense and running game. OK, be honest, who saw that coming under Mike Gundy? This team held WVU in check all afternoon and thank goodness they did as the offense was shaky once again with true freshman Shane Illingworth leading the offense in place of the injured Spencer Sanders. But the Cowboys are 2-0 and may have one of the top two defenses in the conference this year. Now it’s just figuring out the other side of the ball. Go figure?
4. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 2)
Texas was down 15 points with three minutes left. Texas had a .2% chance of winning. Legitimately a .2% chance. But they came back to win and the Longhorns are 2-0, however the defense needs to figure things out quickly under new DC Chris Ash. Tom Herman fired Todd Orlando and hired his friend, Ash, who he worked with at Ohio State. That’s not a problem, but if the results aren’t there soon, and UT starts losing games like Saturday, the heat will pick up quickly.
5. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 9)
The Cyclones are in the win column after taking care of business against TCU on Saturday. The offense got itself going again, and while the defensive line may be the Big 12’s best and deepest, the back end proved to be soft once Max Duggan came in at QB In the second quarter for the Horned Frogs. That being said, Brocktober is right around the corner, and that seems to be when Matt Campbell’s teams play their best.
6. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 1)
Ouch. The Sooners kicked off Big 12 play by blowing a 21-point third quarter lead to Kansas State who had lost earlier in the season to Arkansas State. Not a good look at all. There is some finger pointing going on in Norman, which isn’t exactly fair. Let’s let the season play out and it’s still very likely OU is playing for a Big 12 championship in December. That being said, they take a big step back this week.
7. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 6)
The Horned Frogs had a lot of positives to take out of last week’s game, like Max Duggan coming in and completing 16 of 19 passes in the second half. The offense, which has been stale at TCU for multiple seasons in a row, had some life to it. But the Horned Frogs’ defense actually had its issues against Iowa State. If you told me TCU would score 34 points against ISU, I would’ve predicted a double-digit win. That did not happen.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 4)
The Mountaineers are coming off a loss to Oklahoma State that wasn’t as bad as the 27-13 margin would lead you to believe. But this offensive line was bad in run blocking and pass blocking, giving up several sacks and only helping WVU pile up 68 rushing yards. WVU is in a rebuild and while they will definitely more competitive than last season, it’s still going to be a work in progress.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 7)
The Red Raiders almost lost to an FCS team in Week 1, and then found themselves up 15 points with three minutes on a Top 10 Texas team… and they blew it. Statisticians gave Tech a 99.8% chance to win this game with three minutes to play. And they blew it. This could’ve been a program-defining win for Matt Wells. Instead, it could be a program-defining loss.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 10)
KU actually jumped out to a 7-0 lead over Baylor. But then the route was on for the Bears in a 47-14 loss for the Jayahwks. Jalon Daniels getting the start as a freshman QB is not a move I have any problems with. Build for 2021 and beyond. That has to be Les Miles’ strategy at this point. It will be an ugly year in Lawrence.
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