Another week, another new number one in our weekly Power Rankings. It just goes to show how competitive and deep the Big 12 is (and has zero to do with a bigger sample size starting to show its influence).
We’ve got some big risers this week, and a couple big drops, and overall the Big 12 is looking pretty solid 1-9 IRL. In our quirky world, however, 1-11 are still “Not Dead Yet”, though this week’s #11 is trying pretty hard to put themselves in an early grave.
And yes, some of you will be pretty #madonline this week. Just know that we still love you(r clicks) anyway!
This week we finally give the Cowboys credit for their 4-0 start to the season. They didn’t look exactly impressive in their non-conference games, but came out and held off a charge from Baylor to finish with a 36-25 victory to open their Big 12 slate, in Waco no less, and avenge their loss in the 2021 Big 12 Championship. The Pokes pushed their lead to 23-3 just after halftime, but the Bears recovered and closed it to 23-17 before OSU woke back up and started to pull away again. It’s not the most impressive win by the teams at the top of the conference, but at the moment it puts the Cowboys in the driver’s seat in the conference race thanks to preseason expectations. Next up is a return to Stillwater to face off against a solid Texas Tech squad.
2. Kansas State
The Cowboys win on the road was more impressive this week than the Wildcats closer-than-necessary win at home over Texas Tech, so the Cats fall a spot this week. What was looking like a blowout turned into a mid-game slugfest before the Cats put their foot back on the gas and pulled away for a solid 37-28 victory, their 7th-straight over the Red Raiders. After the loss to Tulane a couple weeks ago, the Wildcats have recovered to win the first two games of Big 12 play, and will look to make that three straight as they venture north to Ames for FARMAGEDDON. The Wildcats will be looking for payback after getting pantsed in their last trip to Iowa State.
The Horned Frogs take a big leap this week after absolutely crushing OU in Ft. Worth to open their Big 12 slate. TCU took the lead early, and never looked back on the way to a 55-24 win that wasn’t really even that close. The only black mark was TCU’s Jamoi Hodge needlessly targeting OU’s Dillon Gabriel, getting Hodge ejected and Gabriel knocked out of the game with a concussion. TCU is looking really good under first-year coach Sonny Dykes. But they put that on the line this weekend in Lawrence, as they head north to face the surprising Jayhawks.
First of all, I want to know how the Jayhawks get to open Big 12 play with two straight home games? K-State has never* opened Big 12 play at home, and yet these punks get to have back-to-back home games...Whatever. The Jayhawks are 5-0 and ranked for the first time since 2009, and undeniably a better football team than they’ve been in the past 12 seasons. But I’m still incredibly suspect of the schedule they’ve been gifted by the Football Gods so far this season. They’ve barely scraped by Bad West Virginia, Bad Houston, Suspect Duke (in Lawrence), and Suspect Iowa State (in Lawrence). That’s not exactly confidence-inspiring. But we finally* get a real look at KU this week with TCU headed to Lawrence, in front of a College Gameday crowd (though the game will be shown on FS1).
EDIT: OOPS, forgot they opened AT West Virginia. My bad.
*1. I’m aware that K-State has opened Big 12 play at home, but like once in 20 years doesn’t really count; 2. I think I’ve said this three weeks in a row now, maybe they are who they think they are...
The Bearcats make a big leap this week, moving up into the Top 5 for the first time this season after beating Tulsa on the road to improve to 4-1 on the season and return to the Top 25 national rankings. Cincy isn’t making the Playoff again this year, but they are still looking like the favorites to win the American in their final season before officially joining the Big 12. Next up is a visit from a South Florida team that will likely still be feeling the effects of Hurricane Ian, on top of not being very good this year. Don’t expect that to be particularly competitive.
Yikes. Two weeks in a row the Cougars have done something for us to give them the five-letter word. This week it was struggling with a not-good Utah State team in Provo. We’ve already admonished BYU for scheduling so many games at home, but if you’re gonna do that then at least you’ve got to win them convincingly. But the Aggies held a 17-14 lead before BYU tied it up with a FG before halftime, and while the Cougars slowly pulled away in the second half, it wasn’t exactly pretty. Oh well, a win is a win, and BYU is now 4-1. Next up is a trip to the friendly environs of Las Vegas to face off against 2-2 Notre Dame at Allegiant Stadium.
The Knights took last week off, but jump up four spots this week thanks to teams losing above and behind them. They won’t have to wait long to get back into action, as they are set to host SMU on Wednesday night in Orlando. It’s the toughest game on the schedule since they hosted Louisville in Orlando on September 9th.
8. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders made yet another strong comeback attempt but, unlike against Texas a week ago, the Wildcats were able to weather the storm and hold off Tech to maintain the victory. The Red Raiders are a good team, and Joey McGuire has things pointed in the right direction, but they aren’t going to contend for the Big 12 title this year. Tech is now 3-2 on the season, with both losses coming away from Lubbock. They’ll be looking to buck that trend this weekend, but it’s a tall order, as they are in Stillwater to face off against #7 Oklahoma State.
Thanks to losses above them, Texas moves up a respectable three places this week despite blasting a bad West Virginia team in Austin this past weekend. And they’ll have the opportunity to keep moving up this week with the Red River Rivalry open for the taking against a struggling OU squad. Also, it’s possible the Longhorns might have Quinn Ewers back this weekend, and the Sooners have struggled against good QBs in consecutive weeks. Can the Longhorns make it three?
Did I drop the Bears too far? Possibly, but the Bears take a pretty mighty tumble this week after getting basically roasted at home despite the comeback attempt and their win in Ames a week ago quickly losing its luster. But they are still 3-2, and they still look better than OU right now, and are just sitting outside the Top 25 this week. They get a week off to lick their wounds and regroup before setting out on the road to Morgantown to get back to .500.
The Sooners are a mess at the moment. After opening the season at 3-0, they’ve fallen in consecutive weeks to Purple People. It’s possible that first-year coach Brent Venables just has a mind-block due to playing and coaching at teams wearing purple (K-State and Clemson), but it’s also possible that this will just be a rebuilding year for the Sooners after losing a bunch of top talent when Lincoln Riley ran off to USC. But they need to find themselves pretty quickly, because there are no easy games in the Big 12 this season (well, maybe WVU...). The Sooners have another tough one this week, as they head to Dallas to face off against Texas in a game the Longhorns will very much want to take advantage of OU’s misfortune.
12. Iowa State
Maybe not low enough to put the Cyclones, but KU is looking less like a fluke all the time. That said, the Cyclones probably should have won in Lawrence anyway, but failed pretty miserably in both coaching and special teams. Matt Campbell may need to take whatever job offer comes his way this off-season (or sooner), because he’s on course right now to wear out his welcome in Ames pretty fast. Next up for the struggling Cyclones is a visit from K-State, and the Wildcats will be looking for some payback after the dismantling in their last visit to Ames.
13. West Virginia
The Mountaineers are just not good. And I don’t think we’ll get much argument from ‘Eers fans right now, either. I still think they would beat Houston straight-up, but it would be an ugly affair. After getting back to .500 with two straight wins, they got smoked in Austin to fall to 0-2 in Big 12 play and 2-3 overall. They have the worst record in the “current” Big 12, and it’s becoming increasingly possible that even with a massive buyout, Neal Brown may not last the season in Morgantown. At this point, K-State has very clearly won the 2019 Coaching Carousel. Next up for WVU is a much-needed bye week. Hopefully for their sake, they don’t lose to BYE as well.
Woof. After starting the season in the Top 25 as a darkhorse playoff contender, the Cougars have fallen flat on their face and appear to have a concussion. Houston lost to Tulane in overtime this past weekend, and while on the face that’s not a terrible loss (we would know...), they needed a 4th-quarter comeback to take the lead, then subsequently gave up that lead...to Tulane’s 3rd-string quarterback. Then lost, again, in overtime (note: Houston has played in five games and already amassed six overtime periods this season). There are some easier games up on the schedule, and the Cougars will have every chance to recover and finish with a winning record and a bowl appearance. Though that likely starts after this Friday, as they have a trip to 4-1 Memphis on the docket this week.
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