As we head into the final week of the regular season, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have done exactly what we thought they would and proven themselves to be the class of the Big 12.
It’s not really up to debate that those two schools are the best the Big 12 has to offer, and we will likely see them both in Oklahoma City next month for the WCWS. Oklahoma has been the No. 1 in the country all season long, while Oklahoma State has been a mainstay inside the Top 10 for all but one week in 2022 as well. But, after those schools, the conference has been a bit of a mess.
Texas has solidified itself as team No. 3 in the conference as of late but dropped out of the Top 25 for a few weeks after a rocky start to the season. Then, behind them, is a conglomeration of teams that have been up and down all season long.
Here is how we view the Big 12 Power Rankings going into the final week of the regular season.
Oklahoma went up to Lawrence and took care of business, sweeping the Jayhawks in dominant fashion, outscoring them 35-1 over the weekend. The lone blemish of their season thus far came to Texas in Austin, and outside of that loss, the Sooners have looked nearly unstoppable. The Sooners still lead the country in batting average (.380) and team ERA (.73), plus they have won 34 of their 46 games via run rule, up from 30 last season. OU is the best team in softball, and subsequently the best team in the Big 12. through 11 weeks.
Oklahoma State went to Tallahassee and hung with one of the top teams in the country and had chances to win both games but was unable to do so. Kelly Maxwell and Morgan Day were terrific, allowing 6 hits total over the weekend. They will need to have that kind of performance in this weekend’s series against Oklahoma as well, especially if their bats stay cold like they were in Tallahassee. Nonetheless, this Cowgirls team is ranked 8th in ERA (1.77) and 3rd in Fielding Percentage (.981) nationally, and will be a tough out for anyone in the country if they can get the bats going.
Texas rebounded from last weekend’s sweep in Stillwater with a three-game sweep of Texas Tech in Lubbock this weekend. The Longhorns have a series with Baylor left on the schedule but have already secured the three-seed in next week’s tournament. Regardless, the Longhorns need a good showing with regional sites yet to be determined. If Texas can host a regional and build some momentum early in the postseason tournament, the Longhorns are capable of making a run to OKC.
Iowa State continued to confuse everyone this weekend after showing up in Waco and dominating the Bears in games two and three to take the series. The Cyclones outscored Baylor 12-3 over the weekend, just one week after Texas Tech outscored ISU 29-12 in Ames. This Iowa State team is gritty, but inconsistent, and has been just that all season long.
Baylor likely cost itself a postseason bid this weekend after Iowa State was able to come into Waco and take a series from the Bears. Now, just six games over .500 and a three-game series against Texas on deck, the Bears will likely limp into the Big 12 Tournament on a five-game skid.
Texas Tech finished its regular season with a three-game sweep at the hands of Texas and lost its head coach Sami Ward in the process. Now, Ward was probably gone regardless of the outcome of the Texas series, as her combined record from the last two seasons (43-52) was just one win over the Red Raiders win total in 2019, when TTU went 42-16 and reached the finals of the Minneapolis Regionals. Now, the Red Raiders have to hope for a magical run in the tournament, which would take something that they haven’t done yet this season: beating Texas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma.
Kansas hosted Oklahoma this weekend and managed just one run in three games, but allowed the Sooners to score 35 times, including a 19-run game on Saturday. The Jayhawks will now head to Ames to take on Iowa State before heading to the Big 12 Tournament in OKC. What awaits them there? The loser of the Bedlam Series, who they will face next Thursday.