This past week of college football was absolutely wild! We are six weeks into college football and the rollercoaster that is Big 12 is already shaping out to be a dogfight. Three teams seem to be heading in a new direction at the QB position, due to both injury and performance. Taking a look at the current Big 12 standings, there is currently a six-way tie for third with a conference record of 1-1. Among this group, every team has shown their strengths and weakness, but no team seems to be pulling away from the crowd. There is no such thing as an easy win in this conference, in fact the only teams that has been beaten by 14 or more points this season are Kansas and Baylor. We got a lot to talk about so let’s get to the Power Rankings.
1. TCU (#6): As competitive as the Big 12 has looked, the one team that seems to be pulling ahead of everyone is TCU. Last Saturday the Horned Frogs took down West Virginia in a tightly contested matchup that ended 31-24. Quarterback Kenny Hill showed off his versatility, joining Kevin Hogan and Christian McCaffrey on the list of players to record a passing, rushing, and receiving touchdown in the same game. On the defensive end, TCU did struggle to stop the firepower of West Virginia, allowing 508 yards total offense. At the end of the day, TCU’s ability to take care of the ball with their balanced offensive attack ended up them the game. Next week the Horned Frogs will travel down to Manhattan to take on Kansas State (3-2).
2. Oklahoma State (#14): Last week Oklahoma State was on bye. Due to OU’s rough loss to Iowa State, Okie State managed to move up a rank from last week. Coming off of their bye week, the Cowboys will be taking on the winless Baylor Bears.
3. Oklahoma (#12): Last Saturday’s game versus Iowa State was a total nightmare for the Sooners as they 38-31. Oklahoma seems to have a bad habit of playing down to their competition and it costed them this week. On the offensive side of the ball, OU is up there with the best teams in the nation—defensively this team has yet to impress me. The Sooner defense allowed 38 points to an Iowa State team lead by a quarterback making his first career start. The most concerning part of this unit is how many big plays they gave up—three out of the four touchdowns they allowed came from farther than 20 yards out. Oklahoma’s defense will have to play a lot better if they want to beat the explosive teams in Big 12. The Sooners will look to bounce back next week as they host the Texas Longhorns (3-2).
4. Texas Tech (#24): If you weren’t convinced last week, this Texas Tech team is legit. Last week, the Red Raider’s blew the top off of the Kansas Jayhawks in a 65-19 blowout. KU may be very bad but 605 yards total offense is impressive against any FBS opponent. Texas Techs run game looked unstoppable as Justin Stockton (15 carries, 161 yards, and a touchdown) and Desmond Nisby (11 carries, 93 yards, and 4 touchdowns) both had career games. Tech will look to keep this going next week as they face the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-2).
5. West Virginia: Despite falling out of the AP Top 25, West Virginia still deserves some love. In last week’s game versus No. 8 ranked TCU, West Virginia played pretty well. Again, Will Grier did his thing, passing for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns—combine this with another solid rushing performance from Justin Crawford (111 yards on 19 carries) and you have an explosive offense. The Receiving core also seems to be coming along as Ka’raun White and David Sills V combined for 13 receptions, 254 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The Mountaineers also looked much improved defensively, allowing only 236 yards through the air while containing still containing TCU’s star running back Darius Anderson. Unfortunately, a muffed punt and a Will Grier interception ended up being the difference as TCU went on to win 31-24. If the defense can continue to improve, watch out for the West Virginia. Up next, the Mountaineers will be hosting a tough No. 24 ranked Texas Tech (4-1) team in a game that could come down to the wire.
6. Texas: After a sloppy outing against Iowa State, the Longhorns were able to bounce back against K-State. Sam Ehlinger had the best game of his career thus far, throwing for 380 yards and 3 touchdowns while also running for 107 yards. The Wildcats had no answer for Collin Johnson and the loaded Texas receiving core as they torched K-State time and time again to keep drives alive. After Texas missed a potential game winning field goal this game ended up going into overtime. In overtime, the Texas defense stood tall, eventually forcing K-State to kick a 53 yard field goal that clacked off the left post. When Texas took over on downs, they drove the ball right down the field, setting a game winning touchdown on stuffed run in which the Longhorn O-line was able to push Chris Warren into the end zone. Texas will look to keep their unbeaten conference record alive next week as they will take on an angry Oklahoma Sooners squad (4-1).
7. Iowa State: What a crazy week for this team. In a game where Iowa State had nothing to lose, with Quarterback Jacob Park out with an injury, in stepped walk-on Quarterback Kyle Kempt. Early on, this game looked like it was going to be a blowout as OU was quick to jump out to a 14-0 lead. At halftime, the Sooners led 24-13. The second half was where the Cyclones took off as Kempt stayed calm and collected, throwing touchdowns to Marchie Murdock, Trevor Ryen, and Allen Lazard. With two minutes left, Iowa State found themselves having to do what seemed impossible—stop Baker Mayfield from scoring a clutch touchdown in front of his home crowd. On this drive, Iowa State’s swiss-army knife, Joel Lanning—who had been all over the field throughout the entire game—ended up pressuring Mayfield into throwing incomplete on 4th down to win the game. This game marked Iowa State’s first win over the Sooners in 16 years which called for a celebratory flag plant in the middle of OU’s field. The Cyclones will look to keep this momentum heading into next week as they will be taking on the Kansas Jayhawks (1-4).
8. Kansas State: This may be a little harsh but right now Kansas State lacks the explosiveness to hang with the top teams in this conference. Apart from a long catch and run from Dalton Schoen, the Wildcats don’t have a real threat that can stretch the field or a quarterback with the arm to get it there. The quarterback position is a huge concern now. On one end they have a banged up and inconsistent Jesse Ertz, who (even when healthy) seems to have lost a lot of speed after his knee surgery this past offseason. On the other end, they have Alex Delton who has shown great running ability but almost no passing ability. K-State announced earlier this week that Delton will be getting the start next game. My concern here is that with Delton at the helm K-State could become too one dimensional. On top of this, last week KSU allowed Freshman QB Sam Ehlinger to total 487 yards—I can only imagine what Mayfield, Rudolph, and Grier are going to do to this team. Next week, Kansas State will for a much-needed bounce back as they face their toughest foe yet, the No. 6 ranked TCU Horned Frogs (5-0).
9. Baylor: This past week the Baylor Bears served their bye week. Next week, Baylor will be in search of their first win as they will head down to Stillwater to take on the No. 14 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-1).
10. Kansas: Another week, another tough loss for Kansas. Last week, Texas Tech completely obliterated this team, 65-19. This game started off bad and only got worse. KU’s Defense allowed a jaw-dropping 605 yards. Not only did the defense look soft as butter, the offense looked equally as terrible. Quarterback Peyton Bender again looked wildly inaccurate and ended up getting replaced by sophomore Carter Stanley. Stanley did look a little more comfortable despite turning the ball over twice. Right now, it is still up in the air who will start next week. With all of the question marks surrounding the quarterback position, this team needs their run game back if they want to win another game this year. On Saturday the Jayhawks will travel down to Ames, Iowa to take on the Iowa State Cyclones (3-2).