1. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
The Chants took care of business in San Marcos, TX, taking down Texas State easily to improve to 9-0 on the season. And thanks the Appalachian State beating Troy, the Chanticleers have secured their spot in the Sun Belt championship game on December 19th. Next up is the Chants biggest, and newest, game of the season, as thanks to a COVID cancellation, BYU is headed to Conway, SC this weekend for a Top 15 showdown between to undefeated teams that are feeling snubbed by the national rankings. And, true to form, this is a mid-afternoon game on ESPNU.
In a game that neither team really seem interested in winning, Iowa State did just enough to come back at the end and put themselves ahead with just over a minute remaining. And even then, they needed a missed field goal from Texas to avoid overtime and keep their path set on the Big 12 conference championship game. The Cyclones avoid falling below OU this week only because the Sooners didn’t play. Next up is one final test, as the Mountaineers will be upset-minded with their own outside path to the CCG.
The Sooners were off this week thanks to having to postpone their game against WVU due to COVID issues. And it’s not just the players, as a considerable number of the coaching staff are out in COVID quarantine. Heck, Lincoln Riley even had to bring Bob Stoops back to help assist at practice (no, I’m not kidding). It’s entirely possible the future hall-of-famer will be on the sidelines this weekend as the Sooners host Baylor.
The Cowboys finally got some guys back and healthy and it showed. The 50 points the Pokes put up against the Red Raiders were their most all season, including their beat-down of KU, but they also gave up their most points of the season at 44. Unless something crazy happens, the Cowboys are likely out of contention for the Big 12 championship game, but they can still finish with a great season, but with have to do it on the road. The Cowboys next two games are at TCU this weekend, and the make-up game at Baylor next weekend.
5. Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
The Ragin Cajuns did what they were supposed to against a win-less ULM team, dropping 70 points on the road. With the win, Louisiana has secured the other spot in the Sun Belt championship game, and will have to travel to Conway, SC to play the Chanticleers — the only team to beat the Ragin Cajuns this year. But before that, they have to travel to Boone, NC to face Appalachian State in a Friday night affair on ESPN.
West Virginia got another week off thanks to issues at OU. Hopefully the turned their attention quickly to Iowa State, as a win in Ames, followed by a win the make-up game against OU, could really throw a wrench in the Big 12 championship game makeup. Neal Brown’s bunch seems to be doing mostly well in this strange season, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm to see them win out and head into 2021 with a bang.
I was tempted to drop UT lower here, because getting beat at home is pretty rough, but losing a close game to Iowa State is still worth more than blowing-out KU. But no matter where they end up on this list, there are serious issues in Austin. Two starters have decided to opt-out of the remainder of the season to prepare for the NFL Draft, and Tom Herman’s seat may finally be torched for good. Good luck getting Urban Meyer to deal with that mess. The Longhorns are in Manhattan this weekend. At least, they physically should be there.
TCU hung their most points of the season, 59, on the hapless Jayhawks. And also managed to allow KU to tie their highest point total, a whopping 23. At least they didn’t make it look hard, which has happened to better TCU teams. With the win, TCU improves back to .500, and has two more chances to stay at or above that mark. This weekend they host Oklahoma State, who will probably beat the Frogs, and then in two weeks is a make-up game against Louisiana Tech, which replaces the postponed game against SMU from the start of the season.
9. Baylor Bears
Baylor finally got their second win of the season after coming from behind to beat K-State last weekend. The Bears two wins of 2020 have come in Waco against schools from Kansas, which doesn’t make take anything off the sting for Wildcat fans. Baylor will look to have similar luck against the state of Oklahoma, as their remaining two opponents are OU and OSU. First up is prime-time in Norman this weekend, and the Bears will have to hope the momentum they gained against K-State, and a little help from COVID issues at OU, can propel them to a big upset.
Since beating KU on October 24th, the Wildcats have lost four straight — two blowouts, and two come-from-ahead losses. The 3rd quarter has mystified the Wildcats since the Texas Tech game, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Wildcats have one game remaining, and need a win against Texas to get back to .500 overall on the season, and post their second winning record in conference play in as many years.
The Red Raiders have been not good away from Lubbock this season, and only okay at home. Their loss to OSU this past weekend made them win-less on the road this season, and dropped the Red Raiders to 3-6 overall on the season, and just 2-6 in conference play. But they will get a great opportunity for a 3rd conference win this weekend, and a big shot at redemption from an embarrassing loss last season, and the Jayhawks are headed to Lubbock this weekend to close out the Red Raiders regular season.
12. Arkansas State Red Wolves
The Red Wolves are headed for some disastrous territory. They’ve lost five straight after starting the season 3-2, but should be favored in their next two games. First up is win-less ULM this weekend in Jonesboro, AR, followed by the home finale against FCS foe University of the Incarnate Word. 5-7 won’t feel so bad, but when they look back, the close losses in each of the last three weeks will sting just a bit more.
13. Kansas Jayhawks
We are just two games away from a perfect season. And while an upset win over UT in two weeks might be hilarious, it would rob us of KU having two win-less seasons in the last six years, and three seasons over the same span without a single Big 12 victory. The race to the bottom continues for the Jayhawks, and it’s been a fun flaming trashcan to watch. The Beakers are headed to Lubbock this weekend, hoping for a repeat of the craziness that allowed them to pick up their sole Big 12 win of 2019.