Week 3 of the Big 12 football season is in the books, and there is once again a ton of movement in our Big 12 Power Rankings. A weekly reminder that these rankings can fluctuate greatly on a week-by-week basis, based on how teams have performed in their most recent games and who they’ve beaten, not what we predict the final Big 12 standings to be and not what the preseason rankings were.
So with all that being said, here’s a look at our Big 12 Football Power Rankings heading into Week 4 of the season.
1. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 3)
Kansas State dominated a solid Nevada team on Saturday with back up QB Will Howard leading the way in place of Skylar Thompson. There was plenty of concern that Howard would not be a capable replacement, but at least for one afternoon, he performed quite well. The defense remains outstanding as well, holding Nevada to 25 rushing yards on the afternoon. And their win over Stanford looks even better after Stanford has scored 40+ points in each of their two games since against USC and Vanderbilt. We will see how long it lasts, but based on what they’ve done thus far, we’ve got Kansas State in the top spot.
2. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 2)
The Sooners got out of their game with Nebraska with a win, but it sure wasn’t pretty. Spencer Rattler is not progressing as a quarterback, in fact a strong case can be made he is regressing. The defense is the reasons Oklahoma won this game, as the defensive line is, as expected, a strength on this team. But if Lincoln Riley doesn’t have this offense humming like he needs it to, forget this team competing for a national championship. The offensive line also has a ways to go in its development. OU is still the most talented team in the Big 12, but it’s had some shaky early-season moments.
3. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 4)
Well, with Casey Thompson at the controls, the Texas Longhorns steamrolled Rice 58-0. Is Texas back? Not so fast. But they needed a huge bounce-back win after their disaster against Arkansas, and that’s exactly what they got. However, the quarterback battle looks like it will continue between Thompson and Hudson Card. And as the old saying goes, “If you have two quarterbacks, you have none.” We’ll learn more about the Longhorns on Saturday against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
4. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 6)
The West Virginia Mountaineers had one of the most impressive wins of the weekend by beating No. 15 Virginia Tech. Our Big 12 Players of the Week on offense and defense were Mountaineers. But the way West Virginia, especially the offense led by QB Jarret Doege, played in the fourth quarter were inexcusable. The fumble and then the interception in the final minutes that nearly blew this game for the Mountaineers would have been absolutely devastating. The Mountaineers have potential, but how far can they really go with their QB situation as is?
5. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 1)
TCU had a bye week, and since they only have two games under their belts, and a smaller sample size, they move down temporarily. But a big win over SMU this week will change that once again.
6. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 8)
The Iowa State Cyclones did what they had to do by demolishing UNLV after a tough loss to Iowa last week. The offense looked back on track, but it was UNLV, so I’ll have to see more against Baylor this weekend before concluding that the offense is “fixed”. Notably this defense is No. 1 in the nation in total yards, which has been somewhat overlooked given the loss last week and the fact that the offense has had so many issues. But Iowa State can quickly climb these rankings in the next few weeks.
7. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 9)
The Baylor fan base is upset with us because we aren’t giving them enough respect. The Bears are coming off a 2-7 season and have played Texas State, Texas Southern and Kansas. Please. I do believe Baylor is improved — the question is: How much? The competition makes this hard to tell, at this point. But here’s the good news, Baylor can shut me, and others, up on Saturday against Iowa State. That’s the beauty of the sport. But through three games, I don’t feel inclined to give the benefit of the doubt. And to be clear, that’s nothing personal. I consider the guys at SicEm365 all friends and of all Big 12 media, I always believe we give Baylor the benefit of the doubt, on and off the field. I do admit the defiance of (some) BU fans based on the soft start to the season in surprising, but once again, all this can be figured out starting Saturday. Off soap box… onto the next team.
8. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 5)
The Cowboys are 3-0, but could easily be 0-3 against Missouri State, Tulsa and Boise State. Spencer Sanders had seven passing yards by the third quarter, which is insane to think, especially for an Oklahoma State signal caller. But the Pokes are undefeated and conference play kicks off this weekend against Kansas State. The defense is stout and can prop this team up to a certain degree, but Tre Sterling being lost for the season to injury is a huge blow. Overall, I have huge concerns over the Cowboys moving forward, but a convincing win over K-State can calm those concerns.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 7)
Texas Tech is 3-0, but the shaky game last week against Stephen F. Austin and then a convincing win over a bad FIU team isn’t enough to dig out of the No. 9 spot. Even in the first half this past Saturday, there were some sloppy plays (the muffed punt), that resulted in some issues early in this game that were avoidable. The Red Raiders play Texas this weekend and if they play as well as they did the first 58 minutes of last year’s game (before blowing it in the final two minutes), it could be a special afternoon for Tech.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 10)
KU started off conference play with a 45-7 loss to the Baylor Bears. It’s a long road ahead for Lance Leipold, which he knew when he came on board, but the key for me is to see if the Jayhawks just start to show improvement in the coming weeks.