We’re almost done with the regular season, and would be if a few games hadn’t needed to be rescheduled due to COVID issues. So that means we’ll get one more week of regular season power rankings before the conference championship games put a bow on the part of the season that counts for somethings.
And yes, there are games this weekend, but as far as the conference championship games are concerned, they are all just filler games. The participants have already locked up their spots, and the only thing to paly for now is padding of the resume to hopefully make a bit better of an impression on the College Football Playoff committee.
1. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
The Chants are undefeated, and just scored a huge victory over previously unbeaten BYU this past weekend. And for all their success this season, including beating a Louisiana team that rocked Iowa State to open the season, the Chanticleers are sitting at 13th in the latest CFP Rankings, six spots below the 8-2 Cyclones. JOKE. The Big 12 Champions Chanticleers are being snubbed, and you should be outraged. Next up for the Chants is the regular season finale against Troy, which could be a slip-up game if Coastal gets caught looking ahead to the SBC championship game, a rematch against the Ragin Cajuns.
2. Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
Yeah, that’s right, I went there. The Cajuns only loss this season was to the undefeated Big 12 Champions Coastal Carolina, by a measly three points. They even took down a good Appalachian State team this past weekend in Boone, NC, no easy task for any team. Oh, and they beat some team from Iowa 31-14 back to open the season. And yet, Louisiana is somehow just 19th in the latest CFP Rankings, sitting a full 12 spots behind a team they demolished. Absurd. Louisiana is off this week, and will get an extra week of prep for their rematch against Coastal in the SBC championship game.
The Sooners haven’t lost a game since dropping two straight to start Big 12 conference play, and have already secured their spot in the Big 12 championship game on December 19th, their fifth consecutive appearance (dating back to 2010). The Sooners weren’t ridiculously dominate over Baylor, but to be fair, the Bears had just gotten a jolt of momentum after coming from behind to beat K-State a couple weekends ago. OU has one regular season game left, their rescheduled game against West Virginia in Morgantown. The ‘Eers may be out of contention for the title, but they are still a tough team and could easily trip up the Sooners if OU is too busy looking ahead to their rematch with Iowa State.
Iowa State is experiencing some 2011 K-State levels of luck this season. Well, except that first game when they got throttled by Louisiana. And that game they lost to Oklahoma State back in October. So yeah, 2011 K-State feels accurate. A week after needing a missed field goal to escape Austin with a victory in regulation, the Cyclones dropped 42 points on the Mountaineers while only giving up six. It was their third 40+ point outburst since their loss to OSU. They get a week off this week, but if their scoring pattern holds, they could be in for a long day against OU on December 19th.
Texas finally looked like Texas should. At least on offense against the M.A.S.H. unit K-State threw out on defense. The Longhorns exploded for 69 points on Saturday, handing the Wildcats a 38-point defeat on Senior Day in Manhattan (how rude). Texas is out of the Big 12 title hunt, but they still have to look sharp because they’ve got KU in Lawrence next weekend. Tom Herman may have already lost his gig in Austin (presumably), but he sure doesn’t want to get embarrassed on his way out the door like his predecessor.
TCU is below Oklahoma State in the standings, but the reeling Cowboys still have one game left to play and things could even themselves up when it’s all said and done. But the Horned Frogs get the spot this week because they beat the Cowboys this weekend, picking up their fifth conference win of the season. The Frogs finished the conference slate winning four of their last five after dropping three of their first four games. They get one more chance to improve their resume this weekend, as they finally get a nonconference game against Louisiana Tech.
The Cowboys haven’t quite fallen off as much as the Wildcats, but neither team has looked particularly good since Halloween. The Pokes have gone 2-3 heading into their finale with Baylor after starting the season with four straight wins and looking like the team to beat in conference. But the Bears appear like they might have actually have made it over the hump (thanks, Wildcats), and a Cowboys squad with nothing to play for might be ripe to pick up their fourth loss.
Headed into this weekend’s game, there was still a small chance the Mountaineers could make the Big 12 championship game. But a drubbing in Ames by the red-hot Cyclones put those dreams to bed for good. WVU has had a bit of a weird season, including losing to Texas Tech back in late October, and their best win being TCU a few weeks ago. But they played tough against Texas (and probably should have won), and still have one more chance to make things weird, as they host OU this weekend in a makeup game from a couple weeks ago.
9. Baylor Bears
The Bears have just two conference wins this year, both against the schools from Kansas, but after their come-from-behind victory over K-State it appears as though the Bears might have finally gotten over the hump. Their loss to the Sooners this past weekend was by less than two touchdowns, and the Bears have played maybe their best football over the last four games. Sure, one more win might not feel like a lot to a team that’s currently 2-6, but a win to close out the season could give Dave Aranda some much-needed fuel into the offseason.
On October 24th, K-State had just beaten KU to earn their fourth straight victory in 2020, and the Wildcats were sitting all alone in first place in the Big 12, a half-game ahead of Oklahoma State. Fast forward to December 5th, and as the Cats watched the clock tick away on their fifth-straight loss, this time a 69-31 beating at the hands of the Longhorns, it’s prudent to question what went wrong. The only reason the Wildcats haven’t dropped further is because the teams below them are just that bad (yes, even the team that beat K-State to open the season). But thanks to 2020, the 4-6 Wildcats are still bowl eligible, and could really use the practice if nothing else.
11. Arkansas State Red Wolves
After suffering through five straight losses, the Red Wolves finally got back on track this past weekend. Sure, it was against ULM (the KU of the Sun Belt), but a win is a win, and ASU smashed the Warhawks like they were supposed to. Their game this weekend against Incarnate Word has been cancelled, so it’s likely that the Red Wolves, sitting at 4-7 on the season, are done for the year. They’ll finish in fourth in the west division of the Sun Belt, thanks to their head-to-head tiebreaker with Texas State.
When you can only beat the worst team in the conference by three points at home, you don’t get to move up in the rankings. In fact, you get dropped for punishment. The Red Raiders very nearly gave KU it’s first conference road victory in 12 years, which could get a lot of coaches fired on the spot. But Matt Wells’ bunch pulled it out, and so the Jayhawks get to enter another offseason without a road conference victory. But Wells still has some serious questions to answer in Lubbock, and a 3-6 season in conference play didn’t provide many answers.
13. Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks had their best opportunity for a road win in conference since 2018, and still couldn’t pull off the upset. At least they only gave up 16 points, which was by-far the fewest points they gave up all season. They get one more chance at insanity, however, as Texas is headed to Lawrence this weekend. Tom Herman appears to be fighting off the Texas boosters from dragging him out the door, but a loss to the Jayhawks would strip him of all leverage. KU got the last UT coach fired (and sparked a meme that still hasn’t quite died yet), so it would be only fitting that they get this one fired, too.