We’re now several weeks into conference play, and there is still CHAOS all over the Big 12. Oklahoma continued to dominate, Baylor is still undefeated, Iowa State is starting to look like a contender, and the Wildcats finally have a conference win. On the other hand, Texas is confusing, Oklahoma State is a mess, and Kansas looks like it might have found a pulse.
So let’s try to put some order to the chaos. Because why not?
Aside from the annual crash of the Sooner Schooner, it was OU’s day yet again. The Sooners may yet trip up this season, but it’s not happening in Norman. Oklahoma takes its show on the road next weekend, and will look to spoil homecoming in Manhattan.
2. Baylor Bears
The Bears are still undefeated, and are starting to look legitimate after beating the Cowboys in Stillwater. With West Virginia and TCU next on the schedule, there’s a very real possibility that Baylor could be 9-0 when the Sooners visit Waco in mid-November.
Three straight wins, including two straight on the road, are making the Cyclones look like contenders again. They’ve still got both Oklahoma and both Kansas schools on the schedule, and a visit from the Longhorns, but there’s now hope in Ames after a rough start sent the Cyclones tumbling down the standings. Iowa State gets to head home next weekend to take on the visiting Cowboys.
4. Texas Longhorns*
This ranking is solely due to the Longhorns record after their game this weekend. While Texas may have finished their game last night with more points on the scoreboard, I have a hard time justifying that they “won” their game against Kansas. It was, however, very on-brand for Texas to look terrible against KU, so at least there is some order in the chaos. But after the dust settled, and Dicker the Kicker saved the day, the Longhorns are 3-1 in conference and 5-2 overall with the only losses officially on their record to highly-ranked LSU and OU.
Yeah, it’s a real mess after the top four. No one outside the top four teams has more than one conference win, and only one outside the top four won a game this weekend: Kansas State. The Wildcats picked up the first Big 12 win of the Chris Klieman era on Saturday, beating the visiting Horned Frogs in a nail-biter. For the sheer fact that the Wildcats won, and are only one of two teams in spots 5-10 with a winning overall record, they get to jump from 9th to 5th this week. Go crazy Wildcats, because next week is not going to be nearly so fun.
The Pokes have serious problems, but Baylor is looking legitimately good. Good enough so that a loss at home, after a bye week, is not such a critical issue. Yet. The Pokes get this spot this week for being the other team outside the top four with a winning overall record, but that will likely change next weekend. Things are headed south in Stillwater, but the schedule lightens up a bit after next week and the Cowboys likely are not in danger of missing post-season play this season.
The Horned Frogs headed to Manhattan to face a very hungry Wildcats squad, and still managed to take the Cats to the limit before ultimately falling on the road. The best thing on the TCU record right now is the extremely close loss to Top 25 SMU, and the road doesn’t get any easier for the Frogs with all the other Texas schools and the Oklahoma schools still left on the schedule. Good luck Frogs.
Of the teams near the bottom, Texas Tech has the best win, beating Oklahoma State at home to open October. They also took Baylor to double-OT in Waco two weeks ago, and showed that the emergence of the Red Raider defense is no fluke this weekend against Iowa State. While they ultimately fell to the visiting Cyclones, things are still looking up in Lubbock, and the Red Raiders are at least looking competitive. They’ll get their chance to move up the rankings these next two weeks, with trips to Lawrence and Morgantown next up on the schedule.
I was tempted to give Kansas credit for nearly beating Texas, but at the end of the day, a win is a win and a loss is a loss, and West Virginia still beat KU in Lawrence back in late September. A blowout loss to Oklahoma is nothing to worry about, everyone is getting blown-out by Oklahoma, but things won’t ease up for the struggling ‘Eers until November. Next up is a Halloween match-up with Baylor, and the trip to Waco is likely to be pretty scary for WVU.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
It’s so hard to tell if Kansas has actually gotten better, or if Texas just Texased all over itself against the visiting Jayhawks (it’s not just a UT problem either, as schools from the state of Texas have long had issues, even in the best of years, against KU — I think they forget that even though KU is bad at football, you still have to show up to the game to win it). Either way, if KU wants to move itself out of the basement, they are going to have to earn it. They are still 0-4 in conference play, and will still struggle to find a win in their final five games. Their best chances come the next two weeks, with Texas Tech and K-State headed to Lawrence.