The craziness just got crazier! After another wild week of college football, we now have a four-way tie for first place in the Big 12. At this point, all four of these teams look to be nearly dead-even from a competitive standpoint. With such a tight race for the top seed in the conference, the stakes for the next couple games are at an all-time high. That being said let’s get to the rankings.
1. Iowa State (#14): If you weren’t sold last week, you should be now. Last week, Iowa State pulled off another huge upset, handing TCU their first loss of the year in a defensive battle. In this game, ISU’s defense didn’t allow a single point as TCU’s lone score came off of a Kick Return Touchdown. On offense, Kyle Kempt continued his hot-streak throwing for a pair of touchdowns in an eventual 14-7 victory. The cyclones are now the team to beat in the Big 12, as they have already beaten two of the three teams they are tied for first place with. Next week, Iowa State will look to keep the ball rolling against the 5-3 West Virginia Mountaineers.
2. TCU (#10): Although TCU’s undefeated record came to an end last Saturday, they are still one of the best teams in the nation. Last week, turnovers ended up being the difference in their 14-7 loss to Iowa State. Defensively the Horned Frogs played as well as they have all season, only allowing 255 yards on the game. Overall, assuming Kenny Hill’s poor performance (12/25, 125 yards, and two interceptions) was just a fluke, TCU still can win out and have a chance at the Big 12 title. The Horned frogs will look to get back on track next week as they will host the Texas Longhorns (4-4).
3. Oklahoma (#8): At this point in the year, you know what you are getting with Oklahoma. Offensively, Baker Mayfield and the sooners are as high-powered as they come ranking 1st in the FBS in yards per game with 586. On the other side, poor defensive play has been this team’s Achilles heel. OU has a bad habit of allowing teams to hang around that they really should beat handily. Next week, Oklahoma will head down to Stillwater to take on their arch-rival, Oklahoma State (7-1).
4. Oklahoma State (#11): Much like OU, Oklahoma State is also a shootout oriented team led behind their explosive offense. Last week, OSU found themselves in a slop-fest with West Virginia, highlighted by the 9 combined turnovers between the teams. This game was all sorts of weird, for some reason Oklahoma State just kept on fumbling the ball giving WVU extra possessions. Fortunately for the Cowboys, West Virginia kept giving them the ball right back by throwing interceptions. Oklahoma State did go on to win this one 50-39. Up next for Oklahoma State are their rivals: the No. 8 ranked Oklahoma Sooners (7-1).
5. Texas: Coming off of a heartbreaking loss the week prior, Texas destroyed Baylor even with starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger out with an injury. This game was complete domination right out the gate as Texas was able to get a pick six on the first drive of the game. Following the pick six, Texas was able to force another turnover the next drive on a Terrence Williams fumble. Needless to say, Texas went on win big time with a final score of 38-7. Next week, the Longhorns will face off against the No. 10 ranked TCU Horned Frogs (7-1).
6. West Virginia: Not a good week for this team. Last week against Oklahoma State, quarterback Will Grier, and running back Justin Crawford, both played their worst games of the year. Grier finished with an uncharacteristic 4 interceptions on an ugly 20 of 42 passing performance. Crawford also couldn’t get anything going as he was held to 45 yards on the ground while also losing a fumble. This loss was especially bad because OSU also kept on turning over the ball and WVU still couldn’t capitalize. West Virginia will be looking to bounce back next week as they will be taking on the No. 14 ranked Iowa State Cyclones (6-2).
7. Texas Tech: Ever since the start of conference play, Tech has been outshined by nearly every opponent they’ve faced. After last week’s loss to OU, Texas Tech is now 1-4 in conference play. Where did they go wrong you might ask? Well it starts with their defense who ranks last in the Big 12 in pass defense. Offensively Texas Tech can put up points, but against the firepower of the Big 12 they are totally outmatched. The Red Raiders will be looking to improve next week as they host Kansas State (4-4).
8. Kansas State: Last week had its fair share of good and bad for K-State. The bad: they allowed a bad KU team to play step for step with them for the entirety of the game due to short drives and bad defense. The good: the Wildcats may have actually found a quarterback who can throw. Although he had few reps, freshman Skylar Thompson showed off his passing ability late in the game after Alex Delton got hurt. Moving forward, Thompson could solve a lot of the issues that have plagued K-State if last week was any indication. K-State will have an interesting matchup against, a team that has also been underperforming, Texas Tech (4-4).
9. Baylor: Still winless. Last Saturday the Baylor Bears played their worst game since the start of conference play. After throwing a pick six to start the game, quarterback Zach Smith was benched mid-way through the first quarter. All in all, Baylor struggled to find an identity and went on to get blown out, 38-7. On the bright side, Baylor will have a chance get their first win next weekend as they face the one-win Kansas Jayhawks.
10. Kansas: Surprisingly enough, KU actually played fairly well last Saturday. Coach Beaty finally decided to start Carter Stanley and he played pretty well, posting 418 yards and a touchdown through the air. Steven Sims Jr. also seemed to have benefited from the start as he too had his best game of the season (9 catches, 233 yards and a touchdown). Down the stretch Kansas was in position to win the game but came up short due to several dropped passes and miscues. Moving ahead, the Jayhawks actually have chance to win next week at home against the 0-8 Baylor Bears.