Another week down in the college football regular season! This past week featured 3 games decided by 7 points or less. Although there were no real crazy upsets, there were a lot of really close games. Taking a look at the Big 12 conference as a whole—apart from one plummeting bottom feeder, no team looks like a complete pushover. As more and more teams approach bowl eligibility this is generally when the good teams begin to hit their stride—that being said, let’s get to this week’s power rankings.
1. TCU (#4): Last week, TCU kept their unbeaten record alive with a 43-0 blowout over Kansas. In this game TCU’s defense completely locked down the Jayhawks’ offense, only allowing four first-downs the whole game. Overall, Kansas didn’t even look like they belong on the same field as TCU. Being the only remaining unbeaten team in the conference, TCU has a huge target on their back. It’s simple. if TCU can win out they have a playoff spot. Next week, the Horned Frogs will have their hands full as they face the surging Iowa State Cyclones (5-2) at Ames.
2. Oklahoma State (#11): In last Saturday’s matchup versus Texas, Oklahoma State found themselves in a defensive battle. In regulation neither team was able to put up the points they are accustomed to, in large part due to stellar defensive play. With four minutes left, Oklahoma State missed an easy 29-yard field goal that would have put them up—luckily, they were still able to force overtime. After settling for a field-goal on their first possession of OT, OSU safety Rashad Richards ended up sealing the deal with a walk off interception. If the Cowboys can play as well defensively as they did against the Longhorns while getting back to their normal selves on the offensive side, this team is very hard to beat. Next week, Oklahoma State will head to West Virginia to take on the high-powered No. 22 ranked Mountaineers (5-2).
3. Oklahoma (#10): Yet again, this team played down to their competition. Defensively this team is very bad: currently, they rank in the bottom half of the Big 12 in rush defense (7th), red zone defense (8th), and opponent 3rd down efficiency (6th). Last week, Oklahoma’s defense struggled to stop a notoriously one-dimensional offense led by a quarterback who can’t pass. Despite a poor defensive effort, OU’s offense again picked up the slack recording 619 yards total offense in an eventual 42-35 shootout win over K-State. Next week, the Sooners will host a struggling Texas Tech (4-3) squad in a game they should win.
4. West Virginia (#22): Much like Oklahoma, this team also tends to let weak opponents hang around due to their inconsistent defensive play. After going up big early in the third quarter, WVU nearly blew an 18-point lead. With only 17 seconds remaining, West Virginia allowed Baylor to score a potential game tying touchdown; fortunately for the Mountaineers, they were able to end the game with a clutch sack on the 2pt conversion attempt. Looking ahead to next week, West Virginia will be taking on one of their toughest foes yet, the Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-1).
5. Iowa State (#25): Iowa State is on the rise! In last Saturday’s matchup versus Texas Tech, the Cyclones made a statement with a convincing 31-13 victory. This win was enough to earn them a spot in the AP Top 25 for the first time 2005. With Kyle Kempt at the helm Iowa State is 3-0 and look like a real threat. Since taking over as starting quarterback, Kempt has thrown for 657 yards and 7 touchdowns with only one interception. Next week, Iowa State will have a chance to upset the top-dog TCU Horned Frogs (7-0).
6. Texas: This team can compete with anybody, they just can’t find a way to finish late in games. Last week, Texas ended up losing on a freshman mistake by Sam Ehlinger. With nobody open, instead of the throwing the ball away to survive another down, Ehlinger tried to make something out of nothing and ended up throwing the game ending interception. With this loss to Oklahoma State, Texas is now 0-3 in games decided by 5 points or less. The longhorns will be looking to snap this losing streak next Saturday as they will be taking on the 0-7 Baylor Bears.
7. Texas Tech: After allowing 29 unanswered points the week prior, Texas Tech looked sloppy against Iowa State, turning the ball over 3 times. This team seems have regressed to the team many were expecting at the start of the season. Nevertheless, Tech will have a chance to bounce back next week as they will take on the No. 10 ranked Oklahoma Sooners (6-1).
8. Kansas State: With their home crowd behind them, Kansas State looked hungry for an upset against OU. Early on K-State was able to put a lot of pressure on Oklahoma by moving the ball at will and forcing a couple turnovers. As the game went on the weaknesses of this team came back to haunt. Even though Alex Delton was able to complete 12/ 14 passes, his arm still is not good. Several of the long balls he was able to complete were still well underthrown and could have been touchdowns. Down the stretch, K-State couldn’t stop Baker Mayfield and the OU offense, as they went on to lose 42-35. Next week the Wildcats will have a chance to bounce back against their conference rival: Kansas (1-6).
9. Baylor: Last Saturday, Baylor actually hung step for step with West Virginia. Freshman running back Tresten Ebner had a career day, totaling 163 yards and 3 touchdowns. Impressively enough, Baylor was also able to dominate the time possession while not turning the ball over a single time. Unfortunately, however Baylor ended up losing the game on a failed two-point conversion after scoring the potential game tying touchdown. Up next for the Baylor Bears is the Texas Longhorns (3-4).
10. Kansas: I no longer have anything positive to say about this team. This season has been an absolute nightmare for the Jayhawks. Every week they seem to somehow get worse. This past weekend KU totaled only 21 on offense: the lowest total from a FBS team in over 20 years. Currently this team is the laughing stock of college football. Next week Kansas will play against rival Kansas State (3-4) in a game that is projected to be yet another blowout.