In our 2017 version of the Big 12 power rankings, we have averaged out the rankings of our main contributors at Heartland College Sports. These will be done on a weekly basis and released every Monday morning. A friendly reminder before trolling: Power Rankings can swing drastically week to week and are not simply a ranking based on what we think the best teams are in the conference, but rather based on the games that have been played to date.
This was a quiet week for the Big 12 conference, with only six teams playing. As a result, there was no movement in our Big 12 Power Rankings.
1. TCU Horned Frogs (Last week: 1)
After three top ten teams went down over the weekend, the TCU Horned Frogs jumped into the top 4 of the AP Poll and now control their own destiny for a trip to the College Football Playoff. Who predicted we’d be saying that before the season? We knew there was potential here, but TCU has exceeded that and then some. Kenny Hill continues to play his role and realize the talent that is around him and on the other side of the ball. The Horned Frogs’ defense has such speed and quickness that no Big 12 offensive line has been able to stop them yet.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last week: 2)
On Homecoming Weekend Oklahoma State did exactly what they were supposed to do against Baylor: crush ’em. The Pokes broke a school record with 747 total yards of offense. After the disaster that was for many teams in the top ten in college football, Oklahoma State finds itself back inside the top ten. It seems many Big 12 fans, and college football fans, forgot about the Cowboys after their loss to TCU. But this is still an incredibly talented and veteran-laden team that can make plenty of noise and find itself playing in a College Football Playoff.
T-3. West Virginia Mountaineers (Last week: 3)
It’s the first time since we started doing our power rankings with the HCS staff that we have had a tie. The Mountaineers didn’t look all that good for nearly three quarters against Texas Tech. But Will Grier and the Mountaineers turned things on when they needed to and scored 29 straight points to beat Texas Tech at home and get themselves back into the Top 25. I said it last week, I can’t figure out this West Virginia team. They can be very hot and cold. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll learn any more about them in their game against Baylor this weekend.
T-3. Oklahoma Sooners (Last week: 4)
The Sooners got back on track against the Texas Longhorns this past weekend, but it wasn’t without a scare. It was an emotional and physical game that saw OU squander away a 20-point lead. It was moments like this, along with some costly penalties, combined with how their previous two games had gone against Iowa State and Baylor that should still make Oklahoma fans a little nervous for when Oklahoma State and TCU come up on the schedule early next month.
5. Texas Longhorns (Last week: 6)
Teams five through seven were separated by a two total votes. The Longhorns received 29 points, Iowa State 30, and Texas Tech 31. The Longhorns scored 24 unanswered points against Oklahoma, but came up short. Tom Herman has had a couple of these “moral victories” this season, but those don’t really fly in Austin. The good news is that Sam Ehlinger continues to get more comfortable and said after the game, “I’m looking forward to the next three years.” With the way he played on Saturday (278 passing yards, 110 rushing yards), we’re looking forward to watching him play in the Red River Rivalry the next three seasons as well.
6. Iowa State Cyclones (Last week: 7)
Iowa State won’t be the last team to blow out Kansas this season. But considering the Cyclones were coming off arguably the biggest win in program history, there was no let down from this team in a 45-0 win at Jack Trice Stadium. In fact, it was Iowa State’s biggest shutout win over an FBS team since routing Colorado State 69-0 on Oct. 4, 1980 (per ESPN Stats & Info). Also note: Iowa State’s defense has allowed just 16 points in its three Big 12 games. And to think that this team really should be 5-1 on the season… ugh…
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Last week: 5)
The Red Raiders had all the mojo they could ask for. Tech was riding high back in the Top 25 in four years and was up 18 points on a solid West Virginia team, on the road, in the second half. Then it all fell apart as Will Grier went to work against the Red Raiders. Also, we saw the first signs of Nic Shimonek really struggle this season. West Virginia held Texas Tech’s QB to only 71 pass yards and no touchdowns in the second half. The Red Raiders have to right this ship this weekend against Iowa State at home or this season could start heading in the wrong direction very quickly.
8. Kansas State Wildcats (Last week: 8)
Bill Snyder said it after Saturday’s loss to TCU, “There are some things that I need to get straightened out.” Oh, you don’t say? The Wildcats are 3-3 with the Oklahoma Sooners coming to town this weekend. Granted, Kansas State was 3-3 last season and ripped off six wins in seven games to end the season. But this season doesn’t feel similar to the 2016 campaign for the Wildcats. They have been hampered by costly penalties and turnovers and are operating behind a back up quarterback in Alex Delton, who flashes a ton of potential, but is still pretty raw.
9. Baylor Bears (Last week: 9)
The bye week didn’t appear to do the Bears much good. While this team got healthier, it also gave up a school record 747 total yards of offense to Oklahoma State. The secondary was smoked by the Pokes and a lot of the reason for that was simply poor tackling. But there continues to be a handful of bright spots such as running back John Lovett that Baylor fans should enjoy through what will be a rough season.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (Last week: 10)
What more is there to say? It was the season when the Jayhawks were actually supposed to start showing some improvement, and in many ways they have gotten worse. The offense, which was the lone bright spot this season, compiled a total of 106 yards, with only 44 passing yards. What a mess.