The Big 12 softball picture is starting to take shape as there are now four weekends of softball behind us and just two more tournament weekends before conference play begins.
In this week’s Big 12 Softball Power Rankings, the Oklahoma Sooners retain the top spot with Oklahoma State just behind them, but there is some shakeup after that.
Let’s take a look at the Big 12 Softball Power Rankings after Week 4.
Oklahoma has looked like the juggernaut we expected them to be in 2023 after losing to Baylor a couple of weekends ago. Since that loss, Oklahoma is 9-0 and has outscored opponents 89-5, with six of its nine victories coming by run rule. For the second straight weekend, the Sooners embarrassed a ranked team, this time with an 18-0 run rule of No. 16 Kentucky. When OU is playing like it is right now, there’s not a team in softball that can take them in a three-game series.
The Oklahoma State Cowgirls might be ranked No. 3 in the national polls, but Kenny Gajewski’s squad is the second best team in the country for my money. The Cowgirls have now won each of their last 16 games, nine of which have come by run rule. The Cowgirls would be the top dog of any other conference’s power rankings, but share the Big 12 with Oklahoma. A massive weekend series against Florida State is coming up, and winning that series might be the ticket to getting Oklahoma State a spot higher in the polls.
A few weeks ago, I wasn’t sold on Texas. In fact, I still have my concerns with the pitching staff but the Longhorns have won nine straight and have looked good doing so. Texas’ .383 batting average is good for second nationally behind Oklahoma (.391) and just ahead of Oklahoma State (.381) and has folks in Austin thinking about a return to Oklahoma City. There’s a lot of softball left this season, but to this point there looks like four teams from the conference that could make a run at the WCWS, and Texas is one of them.
While the Bears finally dropped a game after winning 10 in a row, this weekend was the validation that I needed to feel good about Baylor’s chances at the postseason. Texas A&M is a good team, and Baylor split a two-game series with them on top of sweeping Sam Houston State. While there is still a majority of the schedule to go, I feel confident in saying that this Baylor team is going to make the NCAA Tournament this season, which makes for a very exciting Big 12 race to come.
Texas Tech isn’t taking full advantage of all the winnable games on its schedule, but it has improved mightily in its first year under Craig Snyder. The Red Raiders dropped games to Seton Hall and Rutgers this past weekend, but also managed a win over both of those teams and North Dakota to boot. While I don’t think that Texas Tech looks like a tournament team right now, I think they are a far-cry from the team that we saw last season. This team can battle, and is in a tier above Kansas and Iowa State for now.
Kansas went to Tampa, Florida for the South Florida Tournament and started off the weekend 0-3, with losses to USF, Army, and USC-Upstate. Wins over Northern Illinois and Rhode Island helped offset the bad start, but Kansas has just looked so inconsistent from weekend to weekend. If they could find a way to level out, this team could climb into the same tier as Texas Tech, but right now it just feels like Kansas is a bottom-two team in the Big 12, without question.
Iowa State has looked like the worst team in the Big 12 since the first weekend of action, and that narrative continued this weekend as the Cyclones went 1-5 in the Wooo Pig Classic, being outscored 30-10 along the way. A 6-1 loss to Texas A&M Corpus Christi to end the weekend is perhaps the low-point of Iowa State’s season to this point. ISU had better figures some things out, and in a hurry, as they have just ten games left until conference play. Then, they’ll open up Big 12 play against Oklahoma, with Texas and Oklahoma State coming just two and three weeks later.