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2021 Big 12 Power Rankings - Week 9

Well, hello Houston.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

1. Cincinnati Bearcats

It wasn’t as flashy a beatdown as you’d expect an undefeated team to lay on a one-win team, but it was a beatdown nonetheless, and the Bearcats remain undefeated after pasting Tulane 31-12 in New Orleans. Of course, remaining undefeated is apparently not quite enough for the CFB Playoff committee, and there are rumors swirling that the Bearcats may be on the outside looking in when the initial rankings are released later this week. Whatever, just keep putting that chip on their shoulder and see what happens. The Bearcats have Tulsa visiting this week, and Cincy is a heavy favorite (again).

2. Oklahoma Sooners

I don’t know if beating Texas Tech qualifies as beating someone with a pulse, especially after the Red Raiders lost their head coach at the beginning of the week, but the Sooners went out and actually did what they were supposed to against a team like that, and pasted Tech 52-21 in a game that wasn’t really even that close. The Sooners have this coming weekend off before a trip to Waco against the surprising Bears.

3a. Baylor Bears

Baylor gets the “a” slot this week because of who they beat this week; a win over Texas is better than a win over KU. The Bears are still technically in the 3rd spot of the Big 12 standings, and if the season finished today we’d have Bedlam in the conference championship game, though Baylor still has a game left against OU in a couple weeks. But for now, they need to worry about this weekend’s rivalry game in Ft. Worth that just got interesting.

3b. Oklahoma State Cowboys

I mean, sure, the Cowboys did what OU could not, but are we really all that surprised that the Pokes almost blanked KU this past Saturday? Coming off the loss to Iowa State, the Cowboys had some frustration to work out, and the only surprise is that they didn’t hang 60+ on the hapless Jayhawks. Next up is a game that also just got a lot more interesting, as the Pokes are headed out to Morgantown this weekend to face the team that just knocked off Iowa State.

4. Houston Cougars

Well, hello Houston. After that inexplicable stumble in the season opener, the Cougars have tallied seven straight wins, including beating previously undefeated SMU on Saturday night. That was a wild game, and SMU’s decision to kick the ball off to Marcus Jones, one of the best returners in the country, after tying the game late helped Houston hold off a furious SMU comeback. After the big win, the Cougars will need to avoid a letdown this week against USF in Tampa.

5. BYU Cougars

BYU put up 66 points on Virginia this weekend, which is something the Cavaliers basketball team is fuming about. But seriously, it was a surprising offensive explosion from BYU in the 66-49 affair, who hadn’t broken 40 this season, and facing a Virginia team that was already bowl eligible. The Cougars schedule lightens up a bit now, with a home game against Idaho State this weekend, followed by a bye week, then a trip to face Georgia Southern on November 20th.

6. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

After suffering their first regular season loss since 2019, the Chants bounced back with a strong 35-28 win over Troy last Thursday night. The win keeps Coastal in the hunt for the Sun Belt championship, though they still need to win out and hope App State stumbles at least once thanks to the Mountaineers holding the tie breaker. Next up for the Chanticleers is a trip to Statesboro, GA to face Georgia Southern.

7. Iowa State Cyclones

After losing to a struggling WVU team, I was really tempted to drop the Cyclones lower. But playing in Morgantown is always a tough affair, and the Cyclones are known for being mercurial. That said, it was the Cyclones game to lose, and much like their opponent this weekend often does, Iowa State started the 4th quarter with the lead, only to see WVU storm back and win the game. The Cyclones can now win no more than 9 games this season, and still have a trip to Norman left on the schedule. Oh, and they’re pretty much out of the race for the CCG at this point. After all the preseason hype, this sure feels like a pretty big let-down. Next up is a visit from UT, a game the Cyclones should win.

8. Kansas State Wildcats

Thanks to Felix Anudike-Uzomah’s record-setting six sacks* and two forced fumbles, the Wildcats shut down TCU’s decently potent offense, while having a decent offensive day themselves for three quarters. The 31-12 final score is closer than the game was, with TCU getting a garbage time TD to close the final margin ever so slightly. It was really an incredible day for K-State’s defense, even outside of Anudike-Uzomah’s incredible performance. K-State now sits just one game away from bowl eligibilty, and has KU next on the schedule. Might go ahead and start saving for those bowl tickets now.

*He got six sacks, no matter what the dumb NCAA says about it. It’s now King Felix’s world, so you better enjoy it Big 12 QBs.

9. UCF Knights

First off, I want to apologize to UCF fans and alums. For some reason, my brain was still stuck in the early 00’s (or maybe on ESPN’s propaganda) and I was still using the old “Golden” moniker for the Knights, which hasn’t been a thing since 2007. Seriously, my bad for not getting that corrected sooner.

What did get corrected sooner was UCF’s season, and after a 49-7 plastering of Temple in Philly, the Knights are now just one win away from bowl eligibility with a final slate that features three very winnable games, plus a trip to Dallas to face SMU. It’s very likely that after a rough start, UCF is going to finish with a 8-4 record and a Top 4 finish in the American. Good job. Next up for the Knights is a visit from Tulane.

11. West Virginia Mountaineers

Well, Neal Brown has to be enjoying that cooling sensation on his backside. After two straight wins, including this past weekend’s surprise win over Iowa State in Morgantown, the Mountaineers are suddenly off the mat and appear to be alive again. Sitting at 4-4 on the season, the ‘Eers still have a real shot at bowl eligibility with games against K-State, Texas (in Morgantown), and KU left on the schedule. But first up is a visit from Oklahoma State this weekend, and it’s not above WVU to play spoiler once again.

12. Texas Longhorns

LOLUT. I mean, c’mon, it’s becoming absurd at this point. Three games straight, UT has went into the halftime and the 4th quarter with a lead. Three games straight, UT has lost. This time it was Baylor that had the honor of coming from behind to beat the Longhorns. To be fair to the Longhorns (which we are loathe to do), the three losses have come to the top three teams in the Big 12 standings, but right now Texas’ only Big 12 wins are against two schools who have already fired their coaches this season. Woof. And it doesn’t get any easier for the Horns, as they have a trip to the barren tundra of Ames this weekend.

13. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Despite a blowout loss this past weekend, it’s hard to move the Red Raiders down any further this week. I mean, we expected them to lose, and pretty handily. And that’s exactly what happened. Thankfully, they have a bye week this week to hopefully gets some things figured out under interim-HC Sonny Cumbie, because the Cyclones are in town following the break and it’s probably the last good chance for Tech to get that sixth victory.

14. TCU Horned Frogs

I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t surprised Gary Patterson is no longer the coach at TCU. The way things were headed, I expected some sort of retirement announcement at season’s end a-la Bill Snyder. But to have Patterson, who had been TCU’s head coach for all of the 21st century, just gone now is crazy. And replacing a legendary coach is no easy feat, just ask K-State fans. But no rest for the shell-shocked, as the Horned Frogs have a big rivalry game to worry about with Baylor headed to Ft. Worth.

15. Kansas Jayhawks

Managing only three points against Oklahoma State, and essentially in garbage time late in the 3rd quarter, was not the expected improvement we thought we would see out of the Jayhawks after the surprising game against OU. But somehow, there’s still a couple opportunities for wins left on KU’s schedule, especially now that TCU is dealing with an interim coach. But first up is a visit from K-State this weekend, and it’s likely to not look any prettier than their visit to Stillwater.