As the second week of conference matchups concluded, teams are really beginning to show their true colors. With only three conference games this past week, there was once again only one real ranking change from the week prior. Despite the short schedule, there was a lot to take away from each of the games, so let’s get to this week’s Big 12 Football Power Rankings.
1. Oklahoma (#3): This past weekend Oklahoma had their bye week. Saturday the Sooners will host Iowa State (2-2) in their second conference game of the season.
2. TCU (#8): The TCU Horned Frogs also served their bye last week. Coming off of their bye week, TCU will take on Will Grier and the No. 23 ranked West Virginia Mountaineer (3-1) in a game that could turn into a shootout.
3. Oklahoma State (#15): After dropping their conference opener to TCU, Oklahoma State took down Texas Tech behind, once again, a stellar outing from Quarterback Mason Rudolph—who threw for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns on 27/38 passing. Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill also had a great game, totaling 164 yards on 30 carries. Early in the game, however, Rudolph did throw a pick six on an uncharacteristic wild overthrow in the red zone. Another thing to note of was Oklahoma State’s awful kicking performance as they missed two easy field goals from 19 and 22 yards out which could raise concern moving forward. The Cowboys will serve their bye this week before hosting Baylor (0-5) the following week.
4. West Virginia (#23): Last week West Virginia was on bye. The Mountaineers should be fresh and ready to go for their upcoming match up as they will be taking on their toughest opponent yet, the No. 8 ranked TCU Horned Frogs (4-0), where they are a surprising 13 point underdog.
5. Texas Tech: This is probably my most controversial ranking yet. Last week, Texas Tech was able to play step for step with Oklahoma State, one of the best teams in the Big 12. Offensively, Tech does a great job controlling the tempo of the game by extending drives while keeping their defense off the field. Texas Tech may not have the firepower they’ve had in years past, but they make up for this by playing mistake free football—refusing to turnover the ball. Up next, the Red Raiders will be traveling down to Lawrence to square off against Kansas (1-3).
6. Kansas State: In last week’s game versus Baylor, Kansas State was able to squeak by in large part due to Baylor’s mistakes. The Wildcat’s offense again looked very unimpressive even against Baylor’s weak defense. The most explosive player on KSU, Byron Pringle, only had one touch the whole game. As much as I like Kansas State’s defense and special teams, it is going to be really hard for them to keep up the more explosive teams in the Big 12, like West Virginia, Oklahoma, ect., if the offense continues to struggle. This week the Wildcats will travel down to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns (2-2).
7. Texas: Even though Texas beat Iowa State last Thursday, they seemed to have taken a step back. Quarterback Shane Buechele struggled to get anything going through the air, finishing with only 171 passing yards. On top of their ineffective passing game, Texas averaged only 2.8 yards per run too. What makes these numbers especially concerning is the fact that they forced ISU into throwing three interceptions yet still couldn’t really get anything going. Defensively, despite forcing 3 turnover and sacking the quarterback 4 times, it is hard to give the Longhorns much praise due to the fact their takeaways came off terribly thrown passes. Texas will be put to the test this weekend as the host Kansas State (3-1).
8. Iowa State: Last Thursday’s Iowa State versus Texas matchup was sloppy to say the least. Texas did end up winning 17-7, but neither team looked good at all. Iowa State seemed to abandon their ineffective run game quite fast which made things really tough on Quarterback Jacob Park. Park ended up playing one of the worst games of his career, throwing 3 interceptions and only completing 50 percent of his 48 pass attempts. At times, it was hard to tell who Park was actually throwing to his passes were so off target. Hopefully these errors won’t spill over to next week as they will be taking on Baker Mayfield and the No. 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners (4-0).
9. Baylor: Although Baylor is still winless, this is now back to back weeks where they’ve managed to stay competitive with a team that on paper looks far better. The Baylor Bears do in fact have some legitimate playmakers in Denzel Mims (7 receptions 127 yards and a touchdown) and John Lovett (7 carries 95 yards and a touchdown). A lot of the errors the Bears are making falls on mental lapses and missed assignments—evident by the atrocious snap over the QB Zack Smith’s head which lead to a K-State recovery deep in Baylor territory. The Bear’s will serve their bye this coming weekend before eventually heading down to Stillwater to take on No. 15 Oklahoma State.
10. Kansas: After serving their bye last week, Kansas will look to build on the improvements they showed versus West Virginia in Saturday’s homecoming matchup versus the Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1).