The 2023 college football season is underway with the Big 12 Conference having some solid wins in Week 2 and disappointing losses.
So now it’s time for our Big 12 Power Rankings. Here’s a reminder on how I’ve done this for years: It’s about how your team looked and how it played, not always about if your team won or lost. And last week’s rankings have little impact on this week’s. That’s what makes this fun. These are also not predictions for the way the season will end, just a Power Rankings based on the most recent performances.
So with that being said, here are our Week 3 Big 12 football Power Rankings.
1. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 4)
There’s no question who deserves to be in the No. 1 spot and that’s the Texas Longhorns after going on the road and beating Alabama in incredibly impressive fashion. Talent has rarely been the question at Texas, it was putting it together. If that’s the Texas team the Big 12 has to face all season long, they’re going to be hard to beat. The most impressive part of this game: The trenches. UT dominated in that part of the game. Watch out, Big 12.
2. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 1)
The Wildcats only moved down because of what Texas did on Saturday. Rolling Troy is fine, but for K-State, we’ll get a better feel for them on Saturday against Missouri in Columbia. I still like a lot about this team, but I want to see it against better competition.
3. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 5)
The Jayhawks make a nice jump this week after Jalon Daniels returned and lit up Illinois on Friday night in Lawrence. Daniels and Devin Neal may end up as the best 1-2 QB-RB duo in the Big 12 Conference by the season’s end. If the defense can get in the backfield like they did on Friday, then this might be the surprise team in the Big 12 this fall.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 3)
OU picked up a win over SMU 28-11. It was a solid victory, but the defense looks like its ahead of the offense. The questions around the offense remain, and now there is the off-field Art Briles drama as well. It should be an interesting week in Norman.
5. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 9)
Oklahoma State is 2-0, including a Power 5 win over Arizona State on the road. It hasn’t been pretty, at times, but in the end the Pokes, who are playing all three quarterbacks nearly equally, won both games and are positioning themselves for conference play. I can’t stay with confidence they end the season in this No. 5 spot, but for now, they’ve earned it.
6. Cincinnati Bearcats (Last Week: 6)
Cincinnati may be one of the early surprises of the season after beating Pitt on Saturday as Emory Jones continues to look like a very solid quarterback and the defensive front, which we thought would be the strongest part of the team, had five sacks and eight tackles for loss.
7. UCF Knights (Last Week: 3)
Yes, UCF had dropped passes that should have made the score look better than it did against Boise State. But now we also know that QB John Rhys Plumee is going to be out a few weeks after injuring himself on the final drive of the game. This will be a real test for the Knights as they get set for conference play in the next couple of weeks.
8. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 11)
The Colorado loss doesn’t look as bad as the Buffaloes improved to 2-0 over the weekend. That being said, TCU beat Nicholls on Saturday, so I’m not going to overreact to it. But I still think this team, which has a lot of new faces on the offensive side, will be much stronger in November than it is today.
9. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 8)
Another Cy-Hawk game, another win for the Hawkeyes. The concerns with a freshman quarterback in this game came to fruition on Saturday as Rocco Becht’s pick six felt like it sealed the win for Iowa, even though it was early in the game. It felt, as do all Cy-Hawk games, that the first to 17 would be the winner, and that’s what happened. We need to see more from this offense going forward.
10. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 12)
That’s a frustrating loss if you’re a Tech fan. The officials didn’t help the cause, but Tech didn’t help itself either. I know Joey McGuire showed last year his willingness to go for 4th downs in his own territory, but 4th and 2 inside your own 35? Ay. It’s tough to watch when it doesn’t work out. I don’t want this season to turn into “Same Old Tech”, but it might.
11. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 14)
Yes, Baylor is 0-2, but I have them here after playing three very strong quarters of football against a quality Utah team ranked in the Top 15. I know they lost, but I give credit for playing high-end competition, especially when you were a drive or two, along with a potential missed PI call, from winning the game with a back up quarterback.
12. BYU Cougars (Last Week: 10)
I just don’t know what BYU is right now. They’ve played the weakest competition in the Big 12 thus far. That changes this weekend against Arkansas, so a win will see the Cougars jump up in a huge way next week.
13. West Virginia Mountaineers (13)
Sure, they rolled Duquesne, but did you see the start of the game? Special teams mistake leads to a Duquesne touchdown. WVU woke up, especially after the weather delay, but dang, I can’t justify having WVU any higher right now.
14. Houston Cougars (Last week: 7)
One week after a good win against UTSA, Houston totally Houston’ed it up on Saturday night, falling behind 28-0 against Rice. And I should say, Dana Holgorsen Dana Holgorsen’ed. The comeback fell well short. Other than Baylor, that’s the worst loss for the Big 12 this season.