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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 4

After a hectic week in the Big 12 full of upsets and high-scoring affairs, see where the teams rank amongst the conference:

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 did a great job this weekend of making my job near impossible. There were some unexpected performances from teams like Texas Tech and Kansas State this week that shook the entire conference, especially those Wildcats. That being said, this week’s power rankings may be a bit chaotic.

My biggest takeaway from this weekend: the Big 12 might not be the best conference in football this year, but we sure are entertaining. Be honest, would you ever have expected Kansas State to take down Oklahoma two years in a row, especially in Norman last week? If you answered yes, you are either some sort of football wizard or a liar, and that’s all there is to it.

Last week’s #1 team got taken down by the #9 team, and the #8 team was so close to beating the #2 team. What a toss up.

Without further adieu, let’s get into the 4th installment of the Frogs O’ War Big 12 Power Rankings:

10. Kansas Jayhawks (0-2, 47-14 L vs Baylor)

It would have been cool to see the Jayhawks pull off a miracle in Waco last Saturday, but it is what it is. If you look at their game against Baylor on paper, you would have thought it was a one possession game. Baylor’s offense only outgained Kansas by 49 yards; in fact the Jayhawks had 10 more passing yards than the Bears. Then again, it’s tough to keep the score close when you give up a 100-yard kick return touchdown to open up the second half. Pooka Williams seems to be the only light in this dim offense as he rushed for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns against Baylor. This result brings the Jayhawks to 0-10 all time when playing in Waco. Next week doesn’t get any easier for Les Miles and crew as they face 17th ranked Oklahoma State.

Movement: ↔

9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-1, 63-56 L vs Texas)

What a thriller in Lubbock last weekend! I knew these offenses could score points, but 119 combined points? That’s crazy! I know the Red Raiders almost beat UT, but I can’t justify ranking them ahead of teams that haven’t proven themselves to be unworthy. On top of that, weirder things have happened in Lubbock, much weirder things. If anything, this game told me more about Texas than it did Tech. The Red Raiders passing game came to play, racking up 325 yards passing and 5 TDs through the air. This offense exposed the Longhorns defense which after this week, clearly needs some work. This result slightly concerns me for Tech going into next week’s game against Kansas State. It’s never good for a team’s morale to blow a two possession lead with 3:00 left on the clock. If the Red Raiders can play like they did prior to the final 3:00 of the game consistently, they will climb the rankings. Until then, I’ve got to keep them at the bottom of the bunch.

Movement: ↔

8. Baylor Bears (1-0, 47-14 W vs Kansas)

Not often does a team win 47-14 and move down in the power rankings but remember, this is the Big 12. If this big of a win had come against anybody other than Kansas, maybe I’d move the Bears up, just maybe. The offense got the job done at home last Saturday, though not in typical Baylor fashion. The Bears had more rushing yards (203) than passing yards (149) and only outgained the Jayhawks offense by 49 yards. I can’t remember the last time I saw Baylor dominate on the ground like that, and honestly it’s a bit terrifying for opposing teams when paired with their dangerous passing attack. The Bears will travel to Morgantown this week to take on West Virginia in what could be an explosive, high-scoring affair.

Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 7 last week)

7. West Virginia Mountaineers (1-1, 27-13 L vs OK. State)

You can’t dog the Mountaineers for losing to a solid Oklahoma State team in Stillwater. In fact, if it weren’t for a 20-point 2nd quarter from the Cowboys, the Mountaineers would have had a real shot at winning. Quarterback Jarret Doege showed again that he can compete as one of the top QBs in the conference after posting 285 yards and a TD through the air. The Mountaineers offense looked okay, but their offensive line has room for improvement. They gave up 4 sacks against the Cowboys, one of which resulted in a 56 yard fumble recovery touchdown. This was a very competitive game all the way through, if you take away that second quarter as well as that massive fumble recovery TD, it’s a whole new ball game. The Mountaineers head back home this week to take on the Baylor Bears in what I think could be the Big 12 game of the week.

Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 6 last week)

6. TCU Horned Frogs (0-1, 37-34 L vs Iowa State)

It pains me to put TCU at #6, believe me it does. My reasoning for this ranking is because of all the question marks surrounding the Horned Frogs after their first game; most of which are still unanswered. Trust me, I could go on and on about some of the decisions made during last Saturday’s game, but no one wants that. The Frogs showed a lot of potential in their opener, especially when they had QB Max Duggan under center. In Duggan’s lone half of gametime, he put up 241 yards passing and 3 TDs through the air on an impressive 16/20 pass attempts. On the other end of the ball, the defense looked solid with the exception of the occasional 50+ yard play. If the Frogs eliminated those big plays on Saturday, they’d be in business. As expected, safeties Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington contained Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy well, but they can’t be everywhere on the field at once. This isn’t too concerning for the Frog’s defense as they head into Austin to play a pass-first Longhorn team, but again they need to eliminate those random big plays if they wanna hang with Texas. TCU has had great success against Texas thus far in the Big 12 (6-2 in 8 games), let’s hope that trend continues this Saturday and the Frogs get a bounce back win on the road. Until the coaching decisions are figured out, I can’t justify putting the Horned Frogs in the top 5, as much as I’d like to.

Movement: ↓ 2 (Rank 4 last week)

5. Kansas State Wildcats (1-1, 38-35 W vs Oklahoma)

Kansas State’s game on Saturday reminds me of the popular clip of Paul Rudd saying “Who would’ve thought?.. Not me!” I know it’s tough to judge a team based on only 2 games, but the Wildcats looked to be the real deal last week against the Sooners, and props to the coaching staff for resolving the issues that cost them the game against Arkansas State in week 1. The Wildcats had a miraculous 17-0 4th quarter to cap off a comeback upset against the then 3rd ranked Sooners. This was a game highlighted by two pass-first offenses, though ironically mistakes through the air were likely what cost the Sooners the game. Freshman QB Spencer Rattler had 3 interceptions in the game, and the Wildcats were sure to capitalize on his mistakes. Kansas State will look to continue this high level of play against Texas Tech this Saturday.

Movement: ↑ 3 (Rank 8 last week)

4. Iowa State Cyclones (1-1, 37-34 W vs TCU)

We all know what happened last Saturday, there is no need to harp on it. Iowa State managed to escape Fort Worth with a 3-point victory over TCU in what was the Horned Frogs season opener. My biggest takeaway from the Cyclones is that they have got to find a way to get highly rated quarterback Brock Purdy going. Last Saturday was the Breece Hall show for the Cyclone offense as he put up 154 rushing yards and 3 TDs on 18 attempts, not too shabby. A lot of those yards came from a couple explosive plays here and there. Iowa State is in a tough spot this weekend as they face the Oklahoma Sooners. If I were the Cyclones, I’d be worried the Sooners are going to unleash their wrath this Saturday after a frustrating loss at home to an unranked opponent.

Movement:

3. Texas Longhorns (2-0, 63-56 W vs Texas Tech)

Well, here we are again, Longhorns back at #3. I said it in week 1 and I’ll say it again. Texas is not back until they prove they are back, and last week’s performance against Tech didn’t quite support the idea of the Longhorns being “back.” As a neutral fan, the game against Tech was as exciting and entertaining as ever. I’m sure sweating through that 4th quarter wasn’t as fun for the Longhorn faithful, but alas, they got the job done. Good teams find a way to win late in games and Texas is a good team this year, just not one of the best. Through two games so far, the Longhorns are averaging 61 PPG which is absurdly good. I’m curious to see if they can keep lighting up the scoreboard against Gary Patterson’s highly rated defense, their first true defensive test of the season. Albeit TCU is unranked, don’t let that distract you from the recent history between these programs. The Longhorns are 2-6 against the Horned Frogs since they joined the Big 12. Will this trend continue this weekend in Austin?

Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 2 last week)

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0, 27-13 W vs West Virginia)

Despite not having starting quarterback Spencer Sanders due to an injury suffered in game 1 against Tulsa, Oklahoma State had a solid outing against the Mountaineers. Not often do we talk about the Cowboys defense, but they came to play last week. Remember this is a West Virginia team that put up 56 points in their season opener, and the Cowboys held them to just 13. 2nd string quarterback Shane Illingworth didn’t play amazingly, but he did what he needed to do to come out with a win. When you have Chuba Hubbard in the backfield, all you have to do is not turn the ball over and feed him the ball as much as possible. Spencer Sanders will be back from injury soon, and as long as the defense can continue playing like this throughout his absence, the Pokes will be a-okay. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Gundy rested Sanders another week as a precautionary measure being that they play Kansas this week (no offense Jayhawks…).

Movement: ↑ 1 (Rank 3 last week)

1. Oklahoma Sooners (1-1, 38-35 L vs Kansas State)

I know I know, “Oklahoma lost why are they #1?!” I can already see it coming. The truth is, after this week there is no definitive #1 in the Big 12; at least at this point in the season. Remember, this is the power rankings, not the Big 12 standings. Even though they lost, Oklahoma remains to have the best team on paper in the conference, as well as one of the best coaching staffs. I believe it’s too early in the season to determine if this loss to Kansas State was a fluke or if it will become a continuing trend. For this reason, I’m playing it safe and keeping the Sooners at #1. Oklahoma heads to Ames this week to face Iowa State in what the Sooners hope to be a bounce back game.

Movement: ↔

Here’s to another hectic week of Big 12 football. Sit back, relax, and enjoy another abundance of touchdowns this Saturday.