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 5, let’s get into this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings.
1. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 2)
I am moving the Kansas State Wildcats into the top spot this week after going on the road without their starting quarterback and beating the TCU Horned Frogs. It wasn’t pretty, but for a young team, they are just getting the job done, playing a bend-but-don’t-break defense, and are now 3-0 in Big 12 play. It’s going to be tough for this team to stay in the top spot as we found out that Skylar Thompson is out for the season on Monday, but despite that, this team should not be overlooked by anyone in the Big 12 moving forward. It’s as tough a team as there is in the conference.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 1)
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were off this past week and now we found out they’ll be off again next week after their game against Baylor on Saturday was postponed to December 12th due to COVID-19 concerns with the Bears. Regardless, Oklahoma State looks like it’s one of the best in the Big 12 with a strong defense and running game. But a huge test comes up in two weeks against the Iowa State Cyclones.
3. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 3)
And here are the Cyclones coming in at No. 3 in the polls after a solid win over Texas Tech that was even more lopsided than the score indicated. Brock Purdy is getting more comfortable with his wide receivers and tight ends, but it also helps that he has the best running back in the Big 12 right now in Breece Hall. The defense remains stout, especially on the front line, and the Cyclones continue to prove the season-opening loss to Louisiana was a total fluke.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 7)
The Oklahoma Sooners have gotten into the win column in the Big 12 with a thrilling four-overtime win over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday in a wild Red River Rivalry. OU is undoubtedly one of the most talented teams in the Big 12, but they’re young and need to put it all together. That being said, OU is still likely to be one of the favorites to make the Big 12 Championship this season.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 5)
WVU is coming off of a bye week. They have lost to Oklahoma State and picked up a win over Baylor last week. The Mountaineers are looking like one of the surprise teams in the Big 12 behind a defense that is having enormous success in getting to the quarterback. If the offense can pick up the slack on its end, starting with QB Jarret Doege, WVU will surprise people this season.
6. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 4)
TCU came off a bit win over Texas and looked lackluster in its performance at home against Kansas State. The offense remains a concern. So was last week’s offensive output more an indictment on Texas’ defense? Or was this last game just an off-game for the new-look offense? The benching of Max Duggan by Jerry Kill was suspect for several reasons. And that relationship between Duggan and the offensive staff is one to keep an eye on moving forward.
7. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 6)
The Longhorns are one on-side kick recovery removed from sitting at 0-3 in Big 12 play. Granted, they’re also one goal-line fumble and a four-overtime loss away from being 3-0. Such is life in college football. But regardless, when you have a veteran team with a four-year starter at QB and you’re still making mistakes that harm your ability to win these games, that has to reflect on the coaching staff. Is Tom Herman on the hot seat? COVID-19 realities may bail him out for 2020, but let’s see where this season goes from here.
8. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 8)
Baylor sits in the No. 8 spot after a bye week last week. Baylor has only played two games this season with a win over Kansas and a loss to WVU, and as noted above, this weekend’s game against Oklahoma State is postponed to December 12th since the Bears are dealing with COVID-19 issues of their own. This is probably the team I have had the hardest time getting a read on this season.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 9)
Texas Tech played an uninspired football game on Saturday against Iowa State. The Red Raiders have issues on defense with lots of transfers playing who do not look completely comfortable and now there may be a QB battle brewing between Alan Bowman and Henry Colombi. Either way, things aren’t looking real good in Lubbock.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 10)
The Jayhawks were coming off a bye week, but big news last week as Les Miles announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. KU is clearly the basement team in the Big 12 and I would be stunned if they can upset someone this season.
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