Nothing truly surprising went down in week 10 in the Big 12, though there were a few matchups that ended up being closer than expected. Oklahoma State had to comeback from a 12-0 halftime deficit to beat Kansas State 20-18 after a slow day from Spencer Sanders and Chuba Hubbard. The most unexpected result from last weekend was Iowa State squeaking by Baylor 38-31after being down 21-10 at halftime.
Oklahoma dominated Kansas, what a surprise, and TCU took care of Texas Tech thanks to an outstanding performance from the Horned Frogs defense. Feels good to say that yes, Gary Patterson is still a defensive wizard.
The game I found most interesting from week 10 was Texas vs West Virginia, which finished in the Longhorns favor 17-13. Think back to the 2014 Big 12, who would have thought that Texas and West Virginia would finish with a combined 30 points, meanwhile Florida and Georgia are dropping 72? So much for that “rigorous” SEC defense, eh?
Last week I decided to go with a tie for the #1 spot, and it appears like neither team really wants to be the best, so back to the traditional rankings we go. Let’s get into the 10th installment of the Frogs O’ War Big 12 Power Rankings:
10. Kansas Jayhawks (0-7, 62-9 L vs Oklahoma)
Hooray! Kansas scored on three occasions against Oklahoma, which at this point in their season should be a celebrated accomplishment.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-5, 34-18 L vs TCU)
Texas Tech played a weird game against the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth last weekend — I’m generally curious if the referees got into any kind of trouble with their superiors after that display of officiating. Things took a while to get going as after eight drives, both teams had combined for 35 yards, and Tech accounted for -1 of that total. The Red Raiders held the Frogs to only 73 passing yards, but gave up 270 rushing yards including two long touchdown runs from Max Duggan. Tech struggled to get things going offensively for the most part of the game, though they scored on two 50+ yard explosive plays to keep things interesting. My personal highlight of last week’s matchup vs TCU was in the 4th quarter when coach Matt Wells made the decision to kick a field goal on 2nd down while losing 27-18… and they missed. Normally I would say Tech has an easier game next week against Baylor, but who knows after the Bears showed out in Ames.
Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 8 last week)
8. BayLor Bears (1-4, 38-31 L vs Iowa State)
Even though BayLor lost, and I can justify using that sweet, sweet capital L, the Bears played their best game of the season thus far. Excluding the Kansas game of course because does that really count? BayLor had a complete turnaround of a first half outing compared to their 30-0 disgrace against TCU, topping the Cyclones 21-10 after two. I wouldn’t quantify this game as “blowing it,” but the Bears defense did give up 21 points alone in the 3rd quarter; must have been a hell of a halftime speech from Matt Campbell. Charlie Brewer played a solid game, throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns, but ended his night by throwing an interception in the endzone to seal the W for Iowa State. The Bears travel to Texas Tech next week, where they’ll look to make me spell BayLor with a lowercase L from here on out (they can only hope).
Movement: ↑ 1 (Rank 9 last week)
7. TCU Horned Frogs (3-3, 34-18 W vs Texas Tech)
TCU is finally back at .500 after starting the year 1-3, though they did play one of the tougher opening schedules in the conference. #7 just feels too low for this team, there is certainly a significant gap between ranks 8 and 7, but ranks 7 through 4 are all relatively close. The Horned Frogs had several questionable play calling decisions throughout the game, but what’s new? Even though quarterback Max Duggan had a slow day through the air, only 73 yards on 47.8% completion, the man went off running the ball with 154 yards and three, count ‘em, three touchdowns. I think it’s safe to say Gary Patterson’s defense is back after last week, the Frogs kept the pressure on Tech all game. After Tech’s first four drives, the Horned Frogs defense had allowed a grand total of -1 yards. The Frogs defense was carried by linebacker Ochaun Mathis who had 3 sacks in the first half. TCU is going to need to get their wide receivers more involved next week as they face a tough West Virginia defense in Morgantown.
6. Kansas State Wildcats (4-3, 20-18 L vs Oklahoma State)
Kansas State played a good game against No. 14 Oklahoma State last week, but weren’t able to come away with the upset. After starting Big 12 play 4-0, the Wildcats have now lost their last two contests. K-State had a solid defensive outing, holding the OK. State offense to 0 points in the first half and only 256 total yards — 155 yard less than the Cowboys season average. The Wildcats nearly tied things up late in the 4th quarter, but failed to convert on a 2-point conversion leaving the score at 20-18. K-State has another tough matchup coming up as they travel to Ames to take on No. 17 Iowa State on Nov. 21.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers (4-3, 17-13 L vs Texas)
Even though West Virginia and Texas only combined for 30 points last week, they managed to put up 723 total yards in the game; one would expect there to be more scoring but I guess this is the new era of the Big 12. I’ve mentioned how the Mountaineers have one of the more well-rounded offenses in the conference several times, but against the Longhorns all they could do was pass. Nothing got going on the ground. West Virginia put up only 43 yards rushing yet 317 through the air. Turnovers ended up costing the Mountaineers last week as they had two fumbles in the game, something they’ll need to avoid against a cutthroat TCU defense next week.
4. Texas Longhorns (5-2, 17-13 W vs West Virginia)
If I’m being honest, I thought Texas was down and out after opening conference play with a 1-2 record, but to their credit they have won two big games in recent weeks to keep their Big 12 title hopes alive. It wasn’t in the usual high-scoring manner, but the Longhorns took care of business at home last week behind an excellent game from the defense. West Virginia was held to just 43 rushing yards and their only touchdown came within the first 10 minutes of the game. On offense, Bijan Robinson was the star of the show averaging an outstanding 9.4 yards per carry with 113 yards on the ground. Robinson also tallied 38 receiving yards on two receptions. Next week is about as easy as it gets for the Longhorns as they play Kansas on the road. Imagine what the Big 12 picture would look like if Texas randomly lost to the Jayhawks... Absolute madness.
3. Oklahoma Sooners (5-2, 62-9 W vs Kansas)
There’s never much to take away from a top-rated team blowing out Kansas, but Oklahoma appears to be finding their stride after a shaky start to conference play. The Sooners have a bye next week, but after that they’ll play the biggest game of their season against Oklahoma State, which could theoretically determine who goes to the Big 12 championship game.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-1, 20-18 W vs Kansas State)
I made the decision to bump Oklahoma State down one after their non-existent first half last week against K-State. Good teams find a way to win games no matter the score, and that is exactly what the Cowboys did, they just found a way to win. It was a slow offensive day for Ok. State, Spencer Sander only threw for 108 yards with a less than impressive 21.6 QBR and Chuba Hubbard only gained 35 yards from scrimmage, his lowest total all season. In fact, fellow running back LD Brown was the star of the offense last week running for 110 yards on 15 carries. The Cowboys have a bye next week before taking the short trip over to Norman for a high-stakes Bedlam matchup on the 21st.
Movement: ↓ 1 (Tied for rank 1 last week)
1. Iowa State Cyclones (5-2, 38-31 W vs BayLor)
Similar to the Oklahoma State situation last weekend, it wasn’t pretty, but Iowa State found a way to win late in the game thanks to a few key stops from the defense. It feels like I write this every week, but Breece Hall is an absolute monster, rushing for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. FEED HIM! The Cyclones had to overcome a 21-10 halftime deficit in this one, but was made easy thanks to an explosive 21 point 3rd quarter. The game was almost sent into overtime by a last minute effort from Charlie Brewer and the BayLor offense, but Iowa State ended things with an interception in the endzone to call it a night. The Cyclones are on bye next week, which means unless something absurd happens this Saturday, they’ll be on top of the rankings for some time.
Next week is going to be a slow one for the Big 12 as only two games are being played. TCU takes on West Virginia and BayLor takes on Texas Tech, meaning we could see the bottom of the rankings get shaken up after Saturday.