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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 12

With just two games left in the regular season, Iowa State appears to be destined for the Big 12 Championship game, but who takes that second spot?

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Iowa State Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Only two games were played last week thanks to a COVID-19 postponement from Texas and Kansas, and both ended in blowouts.

Remember what I said last week about the Battle of Bedlam potentially being the best Big 12 matchup of the year?... Well, I was wrong. The Sooners made a big statement this week as they continue to push for a spot in the Big 12 championship game, beating Oklahoma State 41-13 in a high-stakes rivalry game.

Meanwhile in Ames, Iowa State absolutely manhandled Kansas State 45-0 holding the Wildcats to less than 150 total yards. Quite the turnaround from their 38-31 scare against Baylor in week 10.

Iowa State is not only 1st in these power rankings, but 1st in the Big 12 standings as well. The Cyclones have never been atop the Big 12 this late into a season, but 2020 is a year full of firsts.

Week 13 originally had a full slate of five Big 12 games scheduled, but unfortunately the matchup between Oklahoma and West Virginia was postponed to Dec. 12 due to multiple Oklahoma players testing positive for COVID-19. On top of postponing the game, the Sooners have halted all team activities including practice.

The most anticipated matchup of this weekend occurs on Friday morning when #17 Texas hosts #13 Iowa State, it will be interesting to see how the Longhorns perform coming off an unexpected bye week caused by COVID.

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

10. Kansas Jayhawks (0-7, DNP last week)

It’s been over two weeks since we last saw the Jayhawks in action, so there is not much to add here. Now that we are near the end of a crazy 2020 season, I’m starting to realize that Kansas might not be great at football... crazy idea right? Kansas is back home this Saturday as they take on TCU, opening as 24 point underdogs.

Movement: ↔

9. Baylor Bears (1-5, DNP last week)

You got lucky this time Baylor. With the Bears on a bye last week, they left me no opportunity to write this article using the classic capitalized L “BayLor.” C’est la vie. Baylor has somehow managed to blow a 14-point lead in each of their last two contests, so the Bears will be desperate to turn things around this weekend against Kansas State. If the Wildcats play anything like they did last week, the Bears have a decent shot at getting their 2nd conference win.

Movement: ↔

8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-5, DNP last week)

Texas Tech has always been one of the weirdest teams in the Big 12. Even though they currently have a 3-5 record and only two conference wins, one coming from a last second field goal vs Baylor, I feel like the Red Raiders could upset anyone at any time. Tech plays Oklahoma State this weekend in what could end up being a surprisingly good game. Texas Tech has absolutely nothing to lose, so we may see some trickeration and/or gutsy calls from coach Wells. On the other hand, OK. State has everything to lose; at one point they were undefeated and top of the conference, but now they are just one loss away from being eliminated from the Big 12 title race.

Movement: ↔

7. Kansas State Wildcats (4-4, 45-0 L vs Iowa State)

There is no beating around the bush on this one, Kansas State looked baaaaad last week against Iowa State. The Wildcats were out gained by nearly 400 yards on offense, putting up only 149 yards while giving up 539 on defense. Quarterback Nick Ast made his first appearance for the Wildcats this year after a rough start to the game by Will Howard, who threw for only 32 yards and an interception before being pulled. After starting 4-0 in conference play, K-State is trending in a downward direction as they have now lost their last three games by an average margin of 24.6 points. With only Baylor and Texas left on the schedule, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wildcats finish at an even .500 on the year. Not terrible, but certainly a disappointment after a solid start to the year. To the Wildcats credit, losing your starting quarterback tends to lead to a bit of disaster. K-State will travel to Baylor this Saturday to play in the toilet bowl, a.k.a McLane stadium.

Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 6 last week)

6. TCU Horned Frogs (3-4, DNP last week)

It’s not every week a team moves up in the rankings without even playing a game, but Kansas State was so terrible last Saturday I had no choice. The Frogs have won two out of their last three contests, but they didn’t look too hot in their last outing against West Virginia. This week @ Kansas is a gimme (I hope), which would bring TCU to an even .500. Whether or not TCU has a winning season will most likely come down to the final game of the year when TCU hosts Oklahoma State. I know the Frogs offense has had significant struggles in recent weeks, but this is Kansas we’re talking about folks. If TCU doesn’t put up at least 400 yards, I won’t know what to think anymore.

Movement: ↑ 1 (Rank 7 last week)

5. West Virginia Mountaineers (5-3, DNP last week)

West Virginia is also an interesting team in the sense that they are just a few plays away from being 7-1 rather than 5-3, but it is what it is. The Mountaineers were on a bye last week, and now they are set for a lengthy two weeks off thanks to another postponement caused by COVID-19 complications. Luckily for West Virginia, the outbreak only occurred within the Sooners program which means the Mountaineers can continue practicing as normal. This defense is something special, at one point in the year they were the #1 statistical defense in the country. A few weeks has passed since then, but the Mountaineers still sit high in the rankings at #5 for overall defense. In fact, three of the top 25 defenses as of now are Big 12 schools. Not bad for an “offensive league.”

Movement: ↔

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-2, 41-13 L vs Oklahoma)

Last week against Oklahoma was potentially the worst the Cowboys have looked all season. Less than 9 minutes into the game, OK. State was already facing a 21-0 deficit; not the greatest start to a top-25 matchup. After making things somewhat interesting at halftime (27-13), the Cowboys did not show up for the 2nd half whatsoever. They scored a whopping 0 points in the 2nd half to finish the game at 41-13 in the Sooners favor. Both of OK. State’s quarterbacks had a rough outing. Spencer Sanders started, as expected, but had to leave the game late in the first quarter after taking a big hit. Sanders threw for just 97 yards and an interception on the night, and his backup Shane Illingworth threw for 71 yards and a touchdown while completing only 23.8% of his passes. During his time in. Oklahoma likely has the best offense of anyone they’ve played this season, but the Cowboy defense had 0 answers for Spencer Rattler and crew last week, giving up 492 yards on the night. Things get a bit easier for OK. State considering they host Texas Tech this weekend.

Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 3 last week)

3. Texas Longhorns (5-2, DNP last week)

After starting Big 12 play 1-2, the Longhorns have slowly but surely climbed up these power rankings to find themselves back in the top 3. They’ve now won three in a row including a road win against #6 Oklahoma State and are looking to make a last minute push for the Big 12 championship. The Longhorns game last week against Kansas was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, which means they’ve had extra time to prepare for #13 Iowa State on Friday. It’s going to be a tight finish as to who makes the Big 12 championship game come December, and this matchup has huge implications on who makes the trip to Jerry World.

Movement: ↑ 1 (Rank 4 last week)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (6-2, 41-13 W vs Oklahoma State)

I was ready to put the Sooners back at #1 after a dominant performance against their in-state rival Oklahoma State, but the Cyclones played just as well if not better. To my surprise, Oklahoma played some phenomenal defense to hold the Cowboys to just 13 points and 246 total yards. Spencer Rattler and Rhamondre Stevenson had themselves a day. Rattler threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns while Stevenson ran for 141 yards on 26 carries, as well as 54 receiving yards on just three receptions. After starting the year 1-2, the Sooners are on a five game win streak and appear to be one of the favorites to reach the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma was originally scheduled to play West Virginia this Saturday, but due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Oklahoma, the game was rescheduled to Dec. 12.

Movement: ↔

1. Iowa State Cyclones (6-2, 45-0 W vs Kansas State)

Ever since dropping the ball and losing to LA-Lafayette in their home opener, Iowa State has been one of the more consistent teams in the Big 12. Last week, they toppled Kansas State 45-0 thanks to a stellar day from Brock Purdy and Breece Hall. Purdy threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns while Hall ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns on only 15 carries. The Wildcat defense had an excellent outing as well, forcing three turnovers and giving up just 149 yards all game. This Friday, they will look to solidify themselves as #1 in the Big 12 with a win on the road against #17 Texas. Note that the Iowa State has not beat the Longhorns in Austin since 2010, so this game is massive for the Cyclones.