With the first week of conference play under wraps, college football is really starting to pick up. The Big 12 is shaping out to be one of the more competitive conferences this year. Although this week’s rankings features only one major change from the week prior, we are seeing steady improvements even from teams at the bottom of the conference. That being said, let’s get to this week’s edition of Big 12 Football Power Rankings.
Oklahoma (#3): If you thought OU was going to breeze through conference play then you were wrong. Last week, the Sooners barely squeezed by the Baylor Bears (49-41). Offensively the Sooners looked great, managing 342 yards on the ground including a 99 yard touchdown run by Abdul Adams. Again, Baker Mayfield did his thing passing for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns on an efficient 13/19 throwing. On the other side of the ball, the cracks are starting to show—despite pretty much shutting down the Baylor running game, the Sooners couldn’t stop the Bears’ through the air; allowing 463 yards and 4 touchdowns. Things got super scary at the end of the game when Oklahoma allowed Baylor to recover an onside kick down only a touchdown with 1:40 still left on the clock. The Sooners did eventually hold on to win this one on a game winning sack and fumble recovery. Next week Oklahoma will serve their bye before squaring off against Iowa State (2-1) on October 7th.
TCU (#9): Watch out for the Horned Frogs! In last Saturday’s game vs. No. 6 ranked Oklahoma State, TCU outmanned the Cowboys with an impressive 44-31 victory in Stillwater. Sophomore sensation Darius Anderson ran all over OSU, recording 160 yards and 3 touchdowns on 26 carries. The TCU defense continued to impress, forcing star Quarterback Mason Rudolph to turn over the ball three times (2 interceptions, 1 fumble). If TCU keeps this up, they are going to be hard for any team to beat. Next, the Horned Frogs will host No. 23 West Virginia (3-1) after next week’s bye.
Oklahoma State (#15): Last Saturday, Oklahoma State suffered a 44-31 loss to a tough TCU squad. The story of this game, for OSU, was the four turnovers. The Horned Frogs were able to effectively control the ball—nearly doubling the Okie State in time of possession. Combine this with their below average defensive play and it is easy to see why Oklahoma State lost this one. The Cowboys will look to bounce back next week as they travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (3-0).
West Virginia (#23): West Virginia has some real firepower on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, this team looks rather soft. As excellent as Will Grier, Justin Crawford, and company are, WVU needs to get a lot better on the defensive side of the ball if they want to compete with the other top teams in the Big 12. In last week’s game versus the Kansas Jayhawks, the Mountaineers gave up 564 yards total offense, 367 of which came on the ground. West Virginia will serve their bye this coming Saturday before facing their toughest opponent yet a week later: The No. 9 ranked TCU Horned Frogs (4-0).
Kansas State: After last week’s bye, Kansas State will look to not only start off conference play strong, but also to avenge their rough 14-7 loss to Vanderbilt. This week, in their conference opener, the Wildcats will square off against the winless Baylor Bears.
Texas: Coming off of their bye week, Texas hopes to build on the improvement they showed following their overtime loss to USC the week prior. This Thursday, the Longhorns will be travelling down to Ames to take on Iowa State (2-1).
Texas Tech: In Last Saturday’s matchup against the Houston Cougars, Texas Tech showed flashes of being a really solid team. Despite throwing his first interception of the year, Quarterback Nic Shimonek continued his hot start, passing for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns highlighted by 77 yard touchdown bomb to Keke Coutee. Tech went on to win this game 27-24 even after missing two chip shot field goals from 30 yards out. The Red Raiders will look to keep this win streak going next week as they host the hungry No. 15 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Iowa State: Last week the Cyclones served their bye week. This Thursday, Iowa State will play in their first conference game, as they host Texas (1-2).
Baylor: Baylor finally seems to improving. In last Saturday’s game, Baylor was one possession away from upsetting the No. 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. All game long Baylor played step for step with one of the elite teams in college football. Sophomore Quarterback Zack Smith played a stellar game throwing for 463 yards and 4 touchdowns—3 of which were to standout receiver Denzel Mims. Unfortunately for Baylor however, their defense still looked dreadful, giving 625 yards total offense. This wild shootout did eventually come to an end as Zack Smith was stripped from behind turning the ball back over to Oklahoma up a touchdown, with only a minute to kill. Baylor will be seeking their first win this coming Saturday as they will take on Kansas State (2-1).
Kansas: This past weekend the Jayhawks showed they are capable of competing against high level competition. In last Saturday’s game, KU exposed West Virginia’s horrendous run defense lead behind a record breaking performance from Running Back Khalil Herbert (291 yards and 2 touchdowns). Moving forward, this deadly running game could prove to be very useful as a lot of Big 12 teams have shown signs of having weak run defenses. On the downside, the Jayhawks again failed to limit their turnovers and went on to lose 56-34. KU will take their bye week next week before hosting Texas Tech in their homecoming game on October 7th.