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Tiers Starting to Be Established in Initial 2024 Big 12 Softball Power Rankings

Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski talks with players during a game between the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (OSU) and the UMBC Retrievers in the Stillwater Regional of the NCAA softball tournament in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, May 19, 2023. Oklahoma State won 9-0.

The 2024 Big 12 Softball season is well underway, and we’ve now got three weeks of work to analyze from across the league.

Picking a league hierarchy can sometimes be tricky in the preseason, especially when there are three brand-new programs in the conference.

That being said, we’ve seen several teams in action against ranked opponents and have an idea about how things might look going forward. There’s enough for us to release the first official Big 12 Softball Power Rankings of the season, so buckle up. Here we go.

 

Tier One

1. Oklahoma (14-0, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

2. Texas (12-1, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

3. Oklahoma State (13-2, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

4. Baylor (8-3, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

From what we’ve seen to this point, I’m not quite ready to put Oklahoma in a league of its own. Undoubtedly, the Sooners have been dominant defensively and enter the week with nine shutouts and 19.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run. However, they’ve been far from the only impressive team in the Big 12 to this point.

Texas has looked good enough to be in the conversation as the nation’s most impressive team through three weekends, and Reese Atwood is playing like the early favorite for National Player of the Year with nine home runs and 31 RBI through 13 games.

Oklahoma State dropped a pair of games at the Clearwater Invitational but quickly put that behind them with a 7-0 victory over No. 4 Washington and seven total victories last week. Lexi Kilfoyl has been very impressive in the circle, and we’ve seen some good stuff from the Cowgirls’ offense as well.

 

Baylor struggled out the gate with a tough opening series against Tennessee but has caught fire since then, entering the week as winners of their last seven games, including five victories over ranked opponents. Wins over #19 UCLA and #13 Missouri this past Saturday were particularly impressive, as they came in back-to-back late evening contests.

Right now, it feels safe to assume that these four teams are well on their way to the NCAA Tournament in May.

Tier Two

5. Texas Tech (11-3, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

6. UCF (8-6, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

7. Kansas (9-5-1, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

8. BYU (12-3, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

This tier is still confusing and will almost assuredly be split into two groups after we have some conference games to grade with.

Texas Tech has been impressive this season, playing rather consistently throughout the year and holding its own against teams like Florida State and Charlotte.

UCF entered Week 3 with only two losses but picked up four more this weekend. So how are they No. 6 in our Power Rankings? Their losses came to #18 Mississippi State, #23 Oregon, #13 Missouri, and #5 Tennessee.

 

Kansas was solidly No. 10 in the conference coming into this week but might’ve had the best weekend of anyone in the league. On top of going 5-0 at the Texas A&M Invitational, the Jayhawks picked up a 1-0 win over the 17th-ranked Aggies and outscored opponents 45-9 on the weekend.

BYU has feasted on cupcakes to this point in the year, and has really made a point to beat them convincingly when given the chance. The Cougars went 4-1 this week, with their lone loss coming to Long Beach State, 4-6. In the other four games, they outscored opponents 61-12.

Tier Three

6. Houston (11-4, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

7. Iowa State (7-7, 0-0) – Last Week — N/A

It might come as a surprise to see an 11-4 team in the bottom tier of the power rankings, but this week proved to me that Houston might be the paper tiger that I’d expected. The Cougars’ best win on the season is over Rutgers, while they’ve been outscored 34-6 in their four losses to Rutgers, LSU (2x), and Boise State.

Iowa State was a team I expected to run in the middle of the pack this season and beat a couple of teams that they probably shouldn’t. However, my confidence in the Cyclones is shaken after what I saw from them this weekend. ISU was swept by Delaware, split with Lehigh, and lost its only matchup against Virginia, going 1-4 on the weekend. That’s not going to get it done in Big 12 play, and they’ve got some major improvements to make before they head to Norman to open up conference play.

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