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Texas Atop the Latest Big 12 Softball Power Rankings

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Things have changed radically in the last couple of weeks as the 2024 softball season rounds into the most important stretch of the regular season.

We’ve seen all kinds of chaos across the country, and the Big 12 hasn’t been immune to that either. Just this past week, we saw Iowa State take a best-of-three series against Oklahoma State while OU, at one point this weekend, had dropped three of its last four Big 12 games.

With all of that going on, the Power Rankings have been almost constantly shuffling, and this week, we have a new No. 1. Let’s dive in.

 

Tier One

1. Texas (35-6, 14-4); Last Week: 2

2. Oklahoma (38-4, 15-3); Last Week: 3

3. Oklahoma State (35-8, 13-5); Last Week: 1

The best team in the country resides in Austin (Tex.) for the moment as the Longhorns followed up their series victory over Oklahoma with a sweep of Baylor. After a 14-1 run-rule in Game 1, UT went on to score a total of 32 runs in the series and is now just one game back from Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings.

As for the Sooners, it was another up-and-down weekend, as they dominated BYU in Game 1 (8-0) and Game 3 (7-3) but were on the wrong side of a five-run loss on Friday. Oklahoma’s inconsistency at the plate is concerning right now, but there’s still plenty of time for them to figure things out before the postseason.

Oklahoma State had the worst weekend of the top tier, losing the first two games of their series against Iowa State. Despite being one of the top programs in the country over the last five years, the Pokes haven’t swept Iowa State in Ames since 2019. That streak will continue now as the fall two games back from the lead.

 

Tier Two

4. UCF (25-15, 10-8); Last Week: 5

When you carry a nine-game winning streak into this week, you get your own tier, and that’s exactly what UCF is doing right now. The Knights are coming off a sweep of Houston and have now moved to 10-8 in Big 12 play, putting them just one game back from Kansas for fourth place. The offense is starting to churn in Orlando, as UCF scored 27 runs this past weekend and looks like a team set to make a statement as they enter the final stretch of Big 12 play.

Tier Three

5. Texas Tech (26-13, 6-9); Last Week: 7

6. Kansas (26-14-1, 11-7); Last Week: 4

Texas Tech and Kansas share Tier Three, the two teams that squared off in a close series in Lubbock (Tex.) this past weekend. It was the home team Red Raiders who squeezed out a vital series victory after winning the Sunday rubber match, 4-2. Texas Tech desperately needed to win this series, and in doing so, sets themselves up for a chance to get a better draw when tournament time comes around.

Meanwhile, the series loss drops Kansas two spots in the Power Rankings and to 11-7 in conference play on the year. The most difficult stretch of their season will follow, as the Jayhawks will face Texas and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends before closing out the year against Oklahoma State.

 

Tier Four

7. Iowa State (16-22, 5-10); Last Week: 10

8. BYU (22-19, 5-13); Last Week: 8

Iowa State and BYU were supposed to be sacrificial lambs to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma this past weekend, but neither of them must’ve gotten the memo. The Cyclones beat Oklahoma State outright in their series in Ames before dropping Sunday’s matchup as they tried for the sweep. Beating a top-five Oklahoma State team will move you up a few spots, especially when ISU was at the bottom of the rankings last week.

BYU, on the other hand, beat Oklahoma 9-4 in Game 2 of their series in Norman this weekend. The five-run margin of defeat was the Sooners’ biggest regular season loss since 2020 and its worst loss in Big 12 play since 2015. Despite the series loss, BYU picked up their second Top 10 win of the season and stayed out of the bottom tier this week.

Tier Five

9. Baylor (22-17, 5-13); Last Week: 6

10. Houston (22-20, 3-15); Last Week: 9

Finally, we get to Tier Five, and I’ll be honest: I didn’t see Baylor being down here in mid-April. Sure, the season’s been tough, but the Bears have been nothing like the team that we saw last season. Their sweep at the hands of Texas, particularly the 14-1 loss, showed me that this team might lack the grit that we saw from last year’s squad. They do have the top teams in the league out of the way now but is just five games over .500 at this. I don’t see this team making the postseason run I’d hoped for them at the beginning of the year.

Things have gone sideways in Houston rather quickly as the Cougars are now sitting at 22-20 and 3-15 in Big 12 play amid their six-game skid. Houston is at the bottom of the standings, and our power rankings with Oklahoma on deck. Ouch.

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