The Big 12 Rollercoaster: Power Rankings

by Cole Niles | October 16, 2018

Through 7 weeks, the only thing that we know about this year’s iteration of the Big 12 is that we don’t know anything. 

Are the West Virginia Mountaineers contenders or pretenders?

Is Kyler Murray going to win the Heisman?

Is Texas really back? 

All of these questions and more, answered shortly. Here are the Power Rankings for the Big 12 after Week 6.

10.  Kansas (2-4, 0-3 in Big 12)

The Jayhawks have disappointed everyone’s expectations of them coming into the season. In a conference like the Big 12, it’s crucial that your offense can put up massive point totals in a hurry – offense reigns supreme. Aside from their star freshman RB Pooka Williams, this offense remains largely inept. 

9. Oklahoma State (4-3, 1-3 in Big 12)

What happened to the Pokes? At week 4, Mike Gundy had his squad sitting pretty at #15 in the nation. Since then, Oklahoma State has been in a freefall, beginning with their throttling at the hands of Texas Tech in their first conference game. They bounced back with a win against Kansas but were promptly taken down by Iowa State and Kansas State in back to back weeks. This season looks lost for the Pokes.

8. Kansas State (3-4, 1-3 in Big 12)

The Wildcats boast a worse overall record than the Pokes, but their dismantling of Mike Gundy’s team last weekend justifies their leap to #8. The week before last, K-State lost to a fearsome Baylor offense on a last second field goal. The week prior, the #9 Texas Longhorns barely squeaked by the Wildcats with a five-point victory. Not too shabby for a team with only a single conference win.  

7. TCU (3-3, 1-2 in Big 12)

The Horned Frogs had high hopes for the season, with a #16 ranking going into their first contest. Now at an even .500, fans are left scratching their heads. Is this the team that was supposed to vie for a Big 12 title? Regardless, Gary Patterson’s defense has remained stout. The Frogs held a prolific Texas Tech offense to only 17 points, a promising sign as they stare down the high-powered Sooners on Saturday. While a tough schedule has not been kind to the Horned Frogs, they still pose a serious threat to anyone in the conference.

6. Texas Tech (4-2, 2-1 in Big 12)

Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury is really, really good at designing an offensive game plan. Until their game against TCU on Thursday night, Texas Tech hadn’t scored less than 41 points in a game. Even against a top tier defense in TCU, the Red Raiders were able to scrap out a win in Fort Worth. With a few winnable games approaching on their schedule, look for Texas Tech to surge in the coming weeks.

5. Baylor (4-3, 2-2 in Big 12)

Well this is odd. How did the 1-win Bears from a season ago climb up to a top five spot in the Big 12 power rankings? Well, it has a lot to do with a fantastic QB in Charlie Brewer and elite WR talents Jalen Hurd and Denzel Mims. Coach Matt Rhule was only a few missed plays short of pulling off a massive upset vs Texas on Saturday. The loss itself stings, but the exceptional play by the Bears’ defense bodes well for their matchup against a struggling Will Grier on Thursday night. 

4. West Virginia (5-1, 3-1 in Big 12)

The Mountaineers have come back down to earth after soaring to #6 in the AP poll a week ago. Their once daunting offense sputtered against Iowa State, as QB Will Grier struggled to make his case as the elite QB that many projected him to be before the season. This is a good team, and Will Grier will undoubtedly bounce back, but an impressive Baylor team could prove problematic for the Mountaineers this week. 

3. Iowa State (3-3, 2-2 in Big 12)

Before you send the death threats, just listen. Despite the losses, the Cyclones have officially proven that they are a dangerous football team. Their worst losses of the season were decided by only 10 points each. Even more, those losses came against two top 25 teams in rival #19 Iowa and the College Football Playoff contending #9 Oklahoma. On Saturday, the Cyclones made #6 West Virginia’s QB Will Grier look silly as the Heisman hopeful threw for only 100 yards and an interception en route to a 16-point loss. Coach Matt Campbell’s team is legit, and now the whole nation knows it.

2. Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 in Big 12)

Let’s get this straight: OU’s three-point loss to the Longhorns two weeks ago means that Texas is good, not that OU is bad. Even in the loss, Kyler Murray looked like the Heisman contender that he is, picking apart Tom Herman’s defense meticulously. But as we’ve come to discover, weird things happen in the Red River Showdown, and the Sooner’s defense got exposed by Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger. Regardless, Lincoln Riley and company will recover swimmingly. Expect a blowout against an inconsistent TCU team on Saturday.

1. Texas (6-1, 4-0 in Big 12)

As much as it pains me to say, it seems as though Texas is back. This version of the Longhorns does not look like the same team that lost to Maryland in their season opener. Sam Ehlinger and company looked motivated in their victory over Oklahoma two weeks, as the sophomore QB amassed almost 400 total yards and 5 TDs on the day. The team team followed up the impressive performance with a gritty, defensive win in Austin against Baylor. The Longhorns are firmly in the #1 spot and should be expected to take the Big 12 crown.

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