The end is near. We have quite the battle on our hands with Championship Saturday only 3 Saturdays away. Eleven weeks through, Oklahoma now sits atop of the conference with Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and TCU in a three-way tie for 2nd place. Looking below that, although Iowa State has 3 conference losses they hold the tiebreaker between both Oklahoma and TCU so you can’t count them out—even though it would require several upsets. Keep this in mind, here are this week’s Big 12 Football Power Rankings.
1. Oklahoma (#3): Everything seems to be playing out in the Sooners’ favor. Last week, OU took down the No. 8 ranked TCU Horned Frogs to claim the top spot in the Big 12. In this game, Oklahoma completely dominated TCU, particularly in the first half as they outscored their opponent 38-14. Even on the defensive end, Oklahoma looked much improved only allowing Kenny Hill to throw for 270 yards on 13/28 passing. If the season ended today OU would be in the playoffs as a 3-seed, and with only KU and West Virginia left on the schedule the likelihood of them winning out is pretty good.
2. Oklahoma State (#10): Down but not out. In last week’s matchup with Iowa State, Oklahoma State found themselves down two touchdowns early in the first quarter. Despite the early deficit, the Cowboys did respond with back to back touchdowns of their own. For remainder of the game, these two teams ended up going back and forth before ending on a very controversial play that was eventually ruled interception. Running back Justice Hill led the charge for OSU, finishing with 134 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Next week, Oklahoma State will look to keep their Big 12 title hopes alive as they will host Kansas State (5-5) in a game they can’t afford to drop.
3. TCU (#11): Tough week for this team. Last week TCU got pummeled by Oklahoma 38-20. Even TCU’s 6th ranked defense couldn’t find an answer for Baker Mayfield and the Sooners’ offense who were able to accumulate 533 yards of offense on the game. Not only did they get beat bad, they also lost their leading rusher, running back Darius Anderson to a season-ending leg injury. After the game, news also broke about an undisclosed injury to starting quarterback Kenny Hill and he is now listed as questionable for next game. On the bright side, of the teams tied for second place in the conference, TCU has the easiest remaining schedule and the tiebreaker against WVU and Okie State. Next week TCU will travel down to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-5).
4. West Virginia (#24): Opportunities are coming. Despite turning the ball over 4 times, West Virginia still found a way beat Kansas State last week behind another 4-touchdown game from Will Grier. Next week, West Virginia will face a tough Texas (5-5) team who, although their record doesn’t show it, has played with every team in the conference. If the Mountaineers can get by them, this would set up a really interesting matchup with Oklahoma.
5. Iowa State: Another tough week for the Cyclones. Last week after going up early on Oklahoma State, starting quarterback Kyle Kempt left the game with a shoulder injury. To replace him, in stepped freshman Zeb Noland. The young QB did show a lot of poise being able to keep ISU in the game by throwing for 263 yards. Unfortunately, this game ended on a super controversial play that was initially ruled a touchdown but later changed to an interception after an official review. If ruled a touchdown this play would have tied the game up, likely sending it to overtime. Iowa State will look to shake this one off next week as they travel down to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears (1-9).
6, Texas: Pride restored. After waiting an entire year, Texas was finally able to avenge their embarrassing upset loss to KU last year with a 42-27 win. To start the game, the Longhorns came out guns blazing outscoring the Jayhawks 28-7 in the first quarter. After this, KU did pick up the pace a bit but for the most part Texas was well in control throughout. Texas will look to repeat their stellar play next week as they take on the No. 24 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers.
7. Kansas State: Two steps forward, one step back. With Alex Delton out with a concussion, freshman Skylar Thompson made his first career start at quarterback of the Wildcats. Thompson’s debut was rather rough as KSU failed to capitalize off of the frequent turnovers forced by their defense. Looking ahead, K-State will need to win one of their next two to achieve bowl-eligibility. Next week, they will have their hands full against Mason Rudolph and the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater.
8. Texas Tech: Just like that Texas Tech is only one win away from being bowl eligible. Last Saturday, the Red Raiders were able to snap a 4-game losing streak with their 38-24 win over Baylor. This game got off to a quick start as Tech receiver Keke Coutee took the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Later in the game, it was the Texas Tech defense who would deliver the dagger, putting away Baylor on strip-fumble return touchdown. Up next, the Red Raiders will be taking on the beat-up No. 11 TCU Horned Frogs.
9. Baylor: Another loss for Baylor. Last week Baylor fell to Texas Tech 38-24. Baylor did; however, see another huge game from receiver Denzel Mims—who finished with 12 receptions 152 yards and touchdown. Other than this stellar outing, Baylor played as sloppy as they have all season, turning the ball over four times, three of which were fumbles. Baylor will look correct these mistakes next week as they take on a hungry Iowa State team fresh off of back to back losses.
10. Kansas: We now have a new college football record holder, unfortunately it is one Kansas should not be proud of. After last Saturday’s 42-27 loss to Texas, the Jayhawks now have the record for longest road losing streak in college football history. Needless to say, this season has been downright embarrassing for KU football. Next week, the Jayhawks will be taking on the No. 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in a game that will more than likely end in a landslide OU victory. To my fellow KU fans: ONWARD TO BASKETBALL SEASON!