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Big 12 Football Week 12 Power Rankings: Texas Longhorns Regain Top Spot, Battle for No. 2

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables, at right, and Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian talk before the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022.

The 2023 college football season is underway with the Big 12 Conference having some wild games to highlight Week 11, including blowouts and upsets across the board.

So now it’s time for our Big 12 Power Rankings. Here’s a reminder of 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 12 Big 12 football Power Rankings.


1. Texas Longhorns (Last Week: 2)

The Longhorns are back in the No. 1 spot this week after a complete disaster of a game from Oklahoma State. Also, credit to UT for a solid win over TCU, but this team does need to figure out its propensity to let teams back into games late. Texas led TCU 26-6, but the Longhorns had to sweat out a 29-26 win on the road on Saturday night. But go back to October 21st, when the Longhorns led Houston 21-0, before having to hang on for a 31-24 win. And then last week vs. Kansas State, UT had a 27-7 lead, but then went to overtime against the Wildcats and won 33-30. That has to turn around with two tough games left against Iowa State and Texas Tech.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (Last Week: 4)

The Sooner snapped their two-game losing streak in impressive fashion with a 39-point win over West Virginia at home. If this team had shown up the last two weeks, OU would not have lost games to Kansas and Oklahoma State. But the good news is that Oklahoma is still in the mix to appear in Arlington for a shot to end their time in the Big 12 as conference champions, which of course they’ve won more of than any other program.

3. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 5)

The Wildcats are creeping back up in the Power Rankings and dominating Baylor on Saturday. Will Howard broke the school record for passing touchdowns, as the Wildcats have themselves solidly in the Big 12 Title hunt, looking to repeat as Conference Champions. There was no hangover effect after falling to the Longhorns in overtime last week. But first, they need to beat Kansas and then Iowa State to try and defend their title.


4. Iowa State Cyclones (Last Week: 6)

Iowa State continues to get better, seemingly by the week. On Saturday the Cyclones went on the road in a tough, and new, environment against BYU and dominated the game from start to finish. It was a big bounce back following the tough home loss to Kansas. But Iowa State has as tough a test as anyone to wrap up the season: No. 7 Texas and No. 25 K-State.

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 1)

Oklahoma State put up a total turd on Saturday in Central Florida. They were still stuck thinking about Bedlam. It was as awful a performance as you’ll see after a big win. Yikes. There were flashbacks to South Alabama in that one. From the coaching staff to the players, no one was into this game, and it was over quickly. Now, there is some history as Oklahoma State has lost every game following a Bedlam win dating back to 1995 (discounting wins that ended the regular season).

6. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last Week: 8)

The Red Raiders have now won two in a row after beating TCU and then Kansas on the road. The team is getting healthy and gaining confidence as the season progresses. Tahj Brooks carried the load, as he should, for this offense. The Red Raiders now also catch a fellow team that has won two in a row: UCF.


7. Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 3)

The Jayhawks were on their third-string QB Cole Ballard, and while he put them in a position to try and win, some questionable goal-line play-calling may have held KU back from pulling off the comeback against Texas Tech (in front of Patrick Mahomes, as well). So KU still hasn’t won three Big 12 games in a row since 2007, but now it’s time to get healthy for the Sunflower Showdown this weekend.

8. UCF Knights (Last Week: 12)

WHO ARE YOU, UCF?! Wow! We knew this team had talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But we just hadn’t seen it all come together like that all season. Congrats to the Knights in knocking off the Oklahoma State Cowboys 45-3 and suddenly this team, winners of two in a row, looks more dangerous these last couple of weeks (Texas Tech, Houston).

9. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last Week: 7)

The Mountaineers had a chance to put themselves in a position to compete for a Big 12 title appearance in the final two weeks of the season. Instead, they went to Norman and did what they typically do: Lay an egg. WVU came into the game averaging losses at Oklahoma of nearly 20 points per game since joining the Big 12. It was a near 40-point blowout on Saturday. WVU might finish 8-4, but it’s still not clear on if Neal Brown is the guy.

10. TCU Horned Frogs (Last Week: 9)

Well, TCU looked dead going into the fourth quarter on Saturday against Texas. But they rallied to score 20 in the final quarter and made it a game against the Longhorns late. That being said, they came up short and now TCU needs to win its final two games to become bowl-eligible. They’ve got Baylor and Oklahoma. Going from National Championship to without a bowl game would be a bad look for Sonny Dykes in Year 2.

11. Cincinnati Bearcats (Last Week: 14)

Congratulations to Cincinnati on your first Big 12 win! Even if it’s against one of your former AAC schools, you take it and try to build some momentum off of it. Cinci had been in a few of their games this season and had opportunities to win games. They finally did it in comfortable fashion on Saturday.

12. Houston Cougars (Last Week: 10)

Houston was a week removed from an overtime win over Baylor but then didn’t carry any of that enthusiasm into their home game against Cincinnati on Saturday. It was disappointing to say the least. 14 points in front of the home crowd and letting Cincinnati get its first Big 12 win on your home turf. Rough.

13. Baylor Bears (Last Week: 13)

The Baylor Bears continue a miserable season and guarantee they won’t be going bowling after getting smoked by K-State 59-25 on Saturday. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for this team in all facets. Dave Aranda called it “rock bottom”. He’s right.

14. BYU Cougars (Last Week: 11)

BYU is in a brutal place right now. They’ve lost their last three games against Texas, West Virginia, and Iowa State by a combined score of 157-26. Horrendous. Now it’s time for Oklahoma this weekend. Good luck.

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