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2020 Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 5

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The top two spots hold, but was there any other movement?

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma State Sarah Phipps-USA TODAY Sports

While the first two and last two spots remained stable this week, we had a whole slew of movement in between. And what’s most strange about that is, aside from a toss-up game in Morgantown, basically everyone who was expected to win did so. That just shows how wild things were to open the season.

1. Kansas State Wildcats

The Wildcats did what one would expect they should do to the hapless Jayhawks. K-State dominated in all phases of the game, and kept it’s sterling conference record intact without hardly breaking a sweat. OSU has the better win so far, but for now, K-State retains the top spot here because they hold a half-game lead in the Big 12 standings. Next week is dangerous, though, as the Wildcats head east to Morgantown in what could be a trap game if K-State gets caught looking ahead.

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Cowboys are legit. They held off a late charge from Iowa State to keep their undefeated season going, and while they didn’t dominate, they held things together in a game they traditionally would have lost (the Pokes are great at losing key games they should win, especially against the Cyclones). There will be no looking ahead for the Cowboys, as they host the Longhorns this weekend. The Longhorns aren’t all that good right now, but they are still very dangerous.

3. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

The Chants are still undefeated on the season, and have jumped into the bottom half of the Top 25. They pass Iowa State here for just that reason: they are the third-highest rated team with a Big 12 victory. And, by the power of the Transitive Property, still have more Big 12 wins (3) than seven Big 12 teams through five weeks of conference play. Yeah, this conference is a mess this season. Coastal, like K-State, still has the meat of their schedule remaining, with a three week stretch coming up where they will face South Alabama (#1 in the SBC West), Troy (#3 in the SBC East), and Appalachian State (#2 in the SBC East).

4. Iowa State Cyclones

After such a tough game, the Cyclones get a two week break. Well...not really, but they do get KU next week and then a visit from Baylor, so it’s effectively any easy period for them before they get a week off to prepare for K-State. The Cyclones should easily do to KU what K-State did to the Jayhawks, but they did struggle last year in a game they should have had no business struggling in.

5. Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners are finally starting to click after two straight wins. They’ve still got a game against an interesting Texas Tech squad next week before getting the Jayhawks and a bye week, but they should be on a four-game win streak when they host Oklahoma State the weekend before Thanksgiving. But Tech could be a trap game for the Sooners if they get caught thinking this will be an easy stretch for them, especially with the game being in Lubbock this weekend.

6. Louisiana Ragin Cajuns

Louisiana rebounded off their first loss of the season with a win over a solid UAB squad in Birmingham, AL that put them back up near the top of the “others receiving votes” category of the polls. They’ve got to head to San Marcos, TX next to face Texas State, where the Ragin Cajuns will be looking to improve on their divisional standing.

7. Texas Longhorns

Somehow, some way, a win over a reeling Baylor squad was enough for some crazy voters in both the AP and Coaches’ polls to rank Texas in their polls. Well, that likely won’t last for long unless the Longhorns can pull a huge upset this weekend in Stillwater. What’s more likely is they take a good lump this weekend, beat West Virginia in a couple weeks, and then Tom Herman gets fired immediately following their inexplicable loss to KU in Lawrence the weekend before Thanksgiving.

8. West Virginia Mountaineers

Yes, the ‘Eers lost this weekend to Tech in Lubbock. No, they didn’t look great doing so. But they still have two wins over Big 12 teams, and managed to win their non-conference game. That gets them the ever so slight edge here. They shocked the Big 12 last year by beating K-State in Manhattan to end a five-game losing streak, so expect the unexpected in Morgantown this weekend.

9. Arkansas State Red Wolves

The Red Wolves fall this week thanks to a blow-out loss to Appalachian State, but stay above Tech since their best win (K-State) is better than Tech’s (WVU). There’s no rest for the weary either, as they host a good Troy team this weekend before heading to Louisiana to complete the “we all beat Big 12 teams” triangular with the Ragin Cajuns.

10. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Tech finally got to head away from the bottom of the conference standings thanks to beating a suspect Mountaineers teem this weekend. Tech has been on the verge of winning several games, so I’m sure Tech players are grateful to finally get over that hump. They host OU this weekend, and will be looking to complete the upset that got away from them against UT.

11. TCU Horned Frogs

TCU falls a bit more than expected this week thanks to two straight losses. I still think they are better than their record, and will have a great chance to surge towards the finish of the season with Baylor, Tech, WVU, and KU all left on the schedule before their finale against OSU. TCU could easily be 5-3 headed into the game with the Pokes and ready to play spoiler.

12. Baylor Bears

Baylor has just one win on the season, and that was beating KU in what eventually became their season opener. They’ve lost two straight games since then, an overtime loss at West Virginia to open October, and a loss in Austin this past weekend. But Baylor keeps right on losing to COVID this season, with games at the beginning of the season cancelled, their game with OSU postponed, and now two Bears running backs have decided to opt-out of the season. Baylor has a tough stretch to finish the season, and they may not win another game in 2020.

13. Kansas Jayhawks

Boy, KU sure looked awful on Saturday. I mean, their 17-year-old QB has promise, and they’ve got some great pieces scattered around the roster, but the KU coaching staff is so woefully inept that they gave up two punt return TD’s and two almost-TD’s because they clearly weren’t smart enough to just punt the ball out of bounds. Or just go for it on fourth down. Or sky-punt so that the coverage team has less room to cover. Or basically anything but continuing to boom punts past the coverage to Phillip Brooks, who already has a history of returning punts for TD’s. Wowza. At this point, with Tech showings signs of life, there is not a realistically winnable game left on KU’s schedule. The Jayhawks will very likely finish 0-10, marking their second winless season in the last five years and their third in program history. KU, I realize you want to catch up with K-State, but maybe first try catching up with 2018 K-State, not 1988 K-State.