Lace up football fans because Big 12 Football is officially back! This Saturday marked the start of the College Football Regular Season. After the first week of non-conference match-ups, we are ready look back on the weekend and rank the teams based on what we saw. Without further ado, let’s get to the Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings.
1. Oklahoma (#5): No surprise here. The Oklahoma Sooners started where they left off last year with a crushing victory over UTEP (56-7). Senior Quarterback Baker Mayfield began his Heisman campaign by playing a near perfect game, throwing for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns with only one incompletion (19/20) on the game. The big question mark for the Sooners last year was their defense and this unit is off to a strong start, only allowing UTEP to gain 167 yards of total offense. This team will face a real test next week as they travel to Columbus Ohio to play Big 10 powerhouse, Ohio State.
2. Oklahoma State (#11): This past week, Oklahoma State took down Tulsa (59-24). Leading the way for the Cowboys is Senior Quarterback and NFL prospect Mason Rudolph who had a great game, throwing for 303 yards on 20/24 passing with 3 touchdowns. On the ground returns rising star Running Back Justice Hill, who looked nearly untouchable rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown on only 15 carries. Oklahoma State’s defense however looked everything but unstoppable, giving up 432 yards to Tulsa. Next week the Cowboys will play South Alabama in which they are heavy favorites.
3. Kansas State (#19): In their season opener, the Kansas State Wildcats blew out Central Arkansas 55-19. Although playing weak competition, Kansas State showed they can dominate up front on both sides of the ball. K-State Quarterback Jesse Ertz also had very efficient game throwing for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns on 10/16 passing. Next game, the Wildcats will host Charlotte University in what is projected to be another blowout victory.
4. West Virginia: This past Sunday, the Mountaineers traveled down to FedEx Field to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. West Virginia was pleased to see Junior Quarterback Will Grier make his Mountaineer debut after sitting the entire 2016 season due to PED suspension. The Junior QB showed he could really turn it on in the second half but unfortunately it wasn’t enough, as West Virginia lost 31-24 in a game that came down to last play. Expect the Mountaineers to bounce back next week as they host Eastern Carolina.
5. Texas: Fire Charlie Strong, hire Tom Herman and Texas Football should be back on track, right? Wrong. In their season opener, Texas looked a little bent out of shape allowing 5 sacks, and only averaging 3.3 yards per rush in an eventual 51-41 loss to Maryland. The good news for the Longhorns is that their receiving core looks loaded—lead by receivers Collin Johnson, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, and Armanti Foreman—and having one of the best Linebackers in the nation in Malik Jefferson certainly helps too. However, Texas needs to do a much better job in the trenches if they want to improve moving forward. The Longhorns will look to bounce back next week as they take on San Diego State.
6. TCU: The TCU Horned Frogs looked absolutely dominate in last Saturday’s 63-0 win vs. an inexperienced Jackson State team. Senior Quarterback Kenny Hill threw for 4 touchdowns while the TCU defense only allowed 65 yar ds total offense. TCU will face their first real opponent next week, as they travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks.
7. Texas Tech: The good: Senior Quarterback Nic Shimonek looked like a solid replacement for NFL Draftee Patrick Mahomes III, throwing for 384 yards and 3 touchdowns on 26/30 passing. The Bad: Eastern Washington is probably the worst team Tech will play all year. That being said, this 56-10 blowout isn’t impressing anybody. After taking their bye week this coming Saturday, the Red Raiders will host Arizona State (1-0).
8. Iowa State: In their season opener, the Iowa State Cyclones defeated Northern Iowa 42-24. ISU’s defense managed to record 3 interceptions on the game, as they seemed to be well in control of this one from the very start. One name to keep your eye for is, Cyclone receiver, Allen Lazard who recorded 108 receiving yards on 8 receptions against Northern Iowa. Next week the Cyclones will take on their arch rival, the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0), in a game that could go either way.
9. Kansas: A lot of questions surrounding KU appeared to be answered in Saturday’s 38-16 win over SEMO, as Junior Peyton Bender got the start and impressed—throwing for 364 yards on 23/37 passing with 4 touchdowns. Defensively, KU has some real talent highlighted by Dorance Armstrong jr., Daniel Wise, Mike Lee, and Joe Dineen jr. Although the Jayhawks did seem to be in total control of this game, for the most part, there are still some concerns with this team. For starters, the Jayhawks had virtually no run game (averaged 2.9 yards per rush) vs. SEMO. Next, their kickoff and punt coverage teams gave up far too many big returns which puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Lastly, turnovers still appear to be haunting the Jayhawks—that muffed punt inside their own red zone looked far too familiar. Next week the Jayhawks will host Central Michigan (1-0).
10. Baylor: This may be a bit controversial putting Baylor below Kansas, but Baylor had one of the roughest season openers I’ve seen in a while. After a crisis-filled off season that could have gotten their football program terminated, the Baylor Bears came out looking very disappointing. The 48-45 loss to Liberty University on their home turf is one thing, doing so while giving up nearly 600 yards of total offense is a total nightmare. Baylor’s Pass defense looked exceptionally atrocious, giving up 447 yards through the air. Next week, Baylor will look to improve as they take on, one of the tougher FCS schools, in UTSA.