The 2023 college football season is underway with the Big 12 Conference having some wild games to highlight Week 8.
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. Plus, 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 Power Rankings based on the most recent performances.
So with that being said, here are our Week 8 Big 12 football Power Rankings.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 1)
The Oklahoma Sooners were trailing in the fourth quarter but were able to hang on and beat the UCF Knights at home. It’s concerning how OU looked coming off a bye, but every team is going to have a game or two like this during a season, and the good news for the Sooners and they got out of the game with a win. There’s no reason to move them off the top spot.
2. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 2)
Like the Sooners, the Longhorns played with fire, nearly losing to the Houston Cougars on Saturday on the road. But UT got it done, and got a late assist from a generous officiating spot. But regardless, it’s win and advance for the Longhorns. However, now the concern moves to Quinn Ewers, who suffered a sprained AC joint in the game.
3. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 3)
I wanted to bump Oklahoma State up, but Iowa State has the head-to-head win and they both have 3-1 conference records, so I feel the need to leave the Cyclones in this No. 3 spot. ISU had a bye week and now travels to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears on Saturday. After that, the schedule toughens up in November: Kansas, at BYU, Texas, and at K-State. Ouch.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 4)
What a turnaround. Everyone was burying this team a month ago, and now they’re the dark horse in the Big 12 after beating West Virginia in Morgantown on Saturday. I have no idea what is going on in Stillwater, but I know it’s wildly entertaining. OSU is doing it on the backs of Ollie Gordon, who has been the best offensive player in the Big 12 for the last three weeks. How much more do they have left? Is this for real? I don’t know, but it’s captivating.
5. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 5)
I was also compelled to want to move up K-State after demolishing TCU, but based on my own rules, I don’t see the justification for it right now. K-State has already lost to Oklahoma State, who lost to Iowa State. So while I see a KSU team that is right up there as the No. 2 or No. 3 team in this conference, for now, I have to leave the Cats in this No. 5 slot.
6. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 6)
The Jayhawks had a bye week and solidify themselves into the No. 6 spot, again, this week. But guess what’s coming up: a home meeting with the Sooners. Last time these two teams met in Lawrence we almost had one of the great upsets. This time, it wouldn’t be as big a shocker, but it would still be unexpected.
7. BYU Cougars (Last Week: 9)
BYU bounced back from a bad loss to TCU with a solid win at home vs. Texas Tech, which included forcing five turnovers. The Cougars were outgained by over 100 yards, but when you dominate the turnover battle and face a team that commits nine penalties on your home turf, you can pull off a victory with ease. That’s what the Cougars did on Saturday night.
8. Houston Cougars (Last Week: 11)
I’m somewhat breaking by rules because of the nuance of how this game went. Houston came from 21-0 down against a Top 10 team in the country and took them to the wire. And had it not been for an awful spot by the officiating crew, Houston was in position to send this game to overtime. Such is life in college football, but it was a helluva performance and this team has looked much improved over the last two weeks.
9. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 7)
After being the early-season surprise of the Big 12, WVU has now lost two games in a row, including at home on Saturday to the Cowboys. WVU’s defense has looked like a paper tiger the last two weeks after giving up a combined 89 points, along with allowing Ollie Gordon to rush for nearly 300 yards on Saturday. That unit has been problematic and if the Mountaineers can’t straighten it out, it will be a long rest of the season.
10. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 8)
TCU wins by over 30 last week and then loses by over 30 this week, getting blasted at K-State 41-3 in a re-match of last year’s Big 12 title game. Which for TCU fans, that game must feel like a lifetime ago based on how this season has gone thus far. Yikes. The good news for TCU? A bye this week to get things sorted out.
11. UCF Knights (Last Week: 13)
Once again, I am making an exception in moving UCF up, despite a loss. When you take the No. 6 team in the country down to the wire on the road, that deserves some love. UCF played its best game of the season, and just imagine what would’ve happened had they not taken the ball out of their best player’s hands on the two-point conversion. Unfortunately, we will never know.
12. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 10)
The Red Raiders are officially the biggest disappointment in the Big 12 Conference this season. They had expectations of being in contention for a Big 12 Championship, and instead, their season is effectively over before Halloween. Now, they just have to hope they can become bowl-eligible.
13. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 12)
Baylor won. But they beat the No. 14 team on our Power Rankings, so there’s only so much to take from this game. Baylor needed elite special teams to win, as there are still issues on both sides of the ball for the Bears. Iowa State this weekend will be telling.
14. Cincinnati Bearcats (Last Week: 14)
Unfortunately, it’s tough sledding for the Bearcats. Cincinnati’s bright spot in their loss to Baylor was its defensive front, which spent a lot of time in the Baylor backfield. Cincinnati had three sacks and 10 tackles for loss against the Bears, while also holding them to 80 rushing yards and 2.9 yards per carry. Meantime, their offensive line was also strong, paving the way for the Bearcats to rush for 288 yards on the afternoon. But there’s a long way to go at Cincinnati.