Another exciting weekend of college football is behind us, and once again the Big 12 proved to be the most unpredictable conference in the country.
How about those Horned Frogs, eh? Unranked TCU took down 9th ranked Texas in Austin 33-31 thanks to a dominant performance by quarterback Max Duggan and a miracle of a defensive stop on the goal line. The other half of the Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma, was taken down on Saturday as well (again…), this time losing to Iowa State in Ames 37-30.
After this weekend, the Big 12 is wide open; it’s anybody’s game right now. Hear me out: If TCU wins out, they are basically guaranteed a spot in the Big 12 Championship game. Now that we’ve seen Oklahoma lose twice already, this is a real possibility.
Only 6 of the 10 Big 12 teams will be playing this Saturday and of those matchups includes a high stakes Red River showdown where for the first time in what seems like ages, Oklahoma is desperate for a win.
Let’s get into the 5th installment of the Frogs O’ War Power Rankings:
10. Kansas Jayhawks (0-3, 47-7 L vs OK. State)
Shout out to Kansas for consistently making the #10 ranking the easiest decision I make all week. Saturday went as expected for the Jayhawks, losing at home to a superior Oklahoma State team 47-7. Hey, at least it wasn’t a shut out right? You know it’s going to be a bad day on offense when Pooka Williams Jr. only gets 32 yards. The offense only managed to gain 193 total yards throughout the game, and went an unimpressive 1/14 on third downs. Kansas gets a rest this weekend, and they’d better use it wisely if they don’t want a repeat of last weekend when they play a good West Virginia team in Morgantown.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-2, 31-21 L vs K-State)
I’ve got to admit, Texas Tech held their own on Saturday against Kansas State, and it was a close game down to the wire. Bad news for the Red Raiders though as quarterback Alan Bowman left the game in the 1st quarter with an apparent leg injury and did not return. The timetable for his return is uncertain but for now Bowman is listed as “day-to-day.” On the bright side, backup QB Henry Colombi stepped up to the plate throwing for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns, though it wasn’t enough to come away with the win. Running back Xavier White showed his versatility on Saturday rushing for 113 yards on 12 attempts and catching 4 passes as well. This marks the 9th loss for the Red Raiders against K-State in the last 10 years.
8. BayLor Bears (1-1, 27-21 L vs West Virginia)
Yes, the L is capitalized on purpose… see what I did there? I crack myself up. Anyways, BayLor was handed their first loss of the season in a thrilling overtime showdown against West Virginia in Morgantown. I’ll be honest, BayLor played better than I thought they would, but it seems like the running game was the big issue against the Mountaineers. The Bears racked up only 27 total yards on the ground. Charlie Brewer played a decent game with 229 yards and 3 touchdowns threw the air, but you’ve got to wonder how different the game would have been without the 2 interceptions he threw, especially the one in overtime. You could argue that there were smaller mistakes during quarters 1-4 that contributed to the loss, but quite frankly that OT interception cost the Bears the game. BayLor is one of 4 Big 12 teams on a bye week this Saturday, and they’ll need all the time in the world to prepare for Oklahoma State in week 7.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1, 27-21 W vs BayLor)
Before I get into the Mountaineers, be aware that there is a significant gap between the 8th and 7th ranking; this is a good football team. Quarterback Jarret Doege held his own on Saturday despite having 2 interceptions, but the running backs were the stars of the show. Leddie Brown posted 93 yards rushing and 2 TDs while Alec Sinkfield added 53 yards on only 6 attempts. This brings the Mountaineers to an impressive 177 rushing yards per game on the season. The defense came up huge in overtime, intercepting Charlie Brewer to set up a game winning touchdown. The Mountaineers get a well deserved break after a tough win as they have a bye this week and play Kansas at home in week 7. I would have liked to move WVU up to at least #6 because it just feels wrong having them at 7, but the teams above did a great job of opening up the conference. Like I said before, it’s anyone’s game now.
6. Kansas State Wildcats (2-1, 31-21 W vs Texas Tech)
Not often does a team move down in the rankings after a 10-point win, but this is the Big 12. A 10-point win is a 10-point win, but I would have expected Kansas State to win that game a bit more convincingly, especially after their performance against Oklahoma. Starting quarterback Skylar Thompson injured his right arm midway through the 2nd quarter and sat out the remainder of the game. Thankfully for the Wildcat faithful, he is okay and is currently listed as QB1 on the depth chart vs TCU. Backup Will Howard stepped in and played a decent game, but the rushing game took over after Thompson’s departure. Running back Deuce Vaughn racked up 113 yards and 1 touchdown adding to the teams 198 total rushing yards. Big game this weekend for the Wildcats as they take on the TCU Horned Frogs coming off an electric 33-31 upset over Texas.
Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 5 last week)
5. Texas Longhorns (2-1, 33-31 L vs TCU)
Well it’s official, as I expected Texas is not “back.” The Longhorns lost a close one at home against the unranked TCU Horned Frogs in what may have been the weirdest college football game of the year. This game had a combined 26 penalties, 14 from TCU and 12 from Texas, only 10 away from tying the NCAA record of 36 set by San Jose State and Fresno State in 1986. The Longhorns had a shot to win this one as they got the ball down 33-29 with 4 minutes on the clock, though the drive resulted in a fumble by Keaontay Ingram on the 1 yard line recovered by TCU. To top off an already unusual game, it finished with an intentional safety by TCU as time expired; something you don’t see every Saturday. Next week is another big game for Texas as they face Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, looking to avoid 2 straight losses.
Movement: ↓ 2 (Rank 3 last week)
4. Oklahoma Sooners (1-2, 37-30 L vs Iowa State)
This is going to take some getting used to. Who would have thought that three games into the year, the defending Big 12 champs would be sitting at a 1-2 record? As talented as Spencer Rattler is, he has made some costly mistakes during crunch time in both of the Sooners losses. After the defense gave up a go-ahead touchdown with around 4 minutes on the clock, Rattler threw an interception in the endzone to end the Sooners chances of forcing overtime. I never thought I’d say this, but this Saturday is a must win for the Sooners. They take on Texas in the Red River Rivalry, which should be a high scoring affair based on the way these teams’ quarterbacks and defenses have been playing.
Movement: ↓ 3 (Rank 1 last week)
3. TCU Horned Frogs (1-1, 33-31 W vs Texas)
“Well well well… how the turntables” - Michael Scott from The Office. Even though the Horned Frogs had the world picking against them last weekend, they came out with a huge upset win against 9th ranked Texas. Max Duggan is the real deal, and a baaaad man at that. Duggan ended the game with 231 yards passing and 79 yards rushing as well as two touchdowns on the ground, one of which was the go-ahead TD with 4 minutes left in the game. The Horned Frogs defensive front struggled against an elite Texas offensive line, ending the game with 0 sacks on the day; an area the Frogs need to improve on dramatically. The game was a bit frustrating for TCU at some points considering over half of their red zone appearances resulted in field goals, but nonetheless they came away with the victory. TCU now moves to 7-2 against the Longhorns since joining the Big 12. I hope this game taught the media to never doubt Gary and the boys in big games again.
Movement: ↑ 3 (Rank 6 last week)
2. Iowa State Cyclones (2-1, 37-30 W vs Oklahoma)
After a slow start in week 1, the Cyclones are finally living up to their potential. Running back Breece Hall went off, posting 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a score with 4 minutes on the clock to take the lead 37-30. Coming into the season, all the hype was focused on quarterback Brock Purdy, who has had a relatively slow start to the year, but so far it’s been the Breece Hall show. The defense came up big in the 4th quarter as they intercepted Spencer Rattler in the endzone to seal the deal. Iowa State has gotten better with each game, and if Purdy started playing to his full potential, the Cyclones would be cooking with fire. I said it week 1 and I’ll say it again, Iowa State is a sleeper to make the Big 12 championship game. Iowa State will look to continue their undefeated conference start on Saturday against Texas Tech, another home game for the Cyclones.
Movement: ↑ 2 (Rank 4 last week)
1. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0, 47-7 W vs Kansas)
Through three games, Oklahoma State is the only remaining undefeated team in the Big 12. No Spencer Sanders? No problem. The Cowboys took care of business cruising to a 47-7 victory against Kansas behind big performances from Chuba Hubbard and Shane Illingworth. Hubbard accumulated 145 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while Illingworth threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns. Not to mention Tylan Wallace’s 148 yards and two TDs on 9 receptions. I know it’s only Kansas, but at this point in the season the Cowboys are the only definitive #1 team, supported by their 3-0 record.
Even though there isn’t a full slate of Big 12 games this weekend, there are a few big matchups to watch for like Texas vs Oklahoma and TCU vs Kansas State.