It’s official! Iowa State will face Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Dec. 19.
Iowa State fans have waited a long, long time for this. 2020 marks the Cyclones first appearance in a Big 12 championship game, and could potentially be their first conference title since sharing the Missouri Valley Conference championship with Nebraska in 1912.
Thanks to TCU’s 29-22 upset over #15 Oklahoma State and Texas’s 69-31 blowout win against Kansas State, Oklahoma was confirmed to finish the regular season as #2 in the Big 12. If the Sooners win, it will be their sixth straight Big 12 title.
Now that both the Oklahoma vs West Virginia and Texas vs Kansas games were cancelled due to COVID-19 issues, only one regular season Big 12 matchup remains — Baylor vs Oklahoma State. Even though it’s always a bummer seeing a game get canned, it’s a smart decision especially for the Sooners considering they would still be in the Big 12 championship regardless of the game’s result. There is no need for extra risk of injury or even worse, spreading the virus.
Now that the championship matchup is set and the regular season standings are decided, let’s see where the teams rank in the 14th installment of the Frogs O’ War Big 12 Power Rankings.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (0-9, 16-13 L vs Texas Tech)
This is not a drill, Kansas ALMOST won a conference game last week. Considering the way the Jayhawks season has gone, a three-point loss against Texas Tech is something to celebrate. Kansas was originally scheduled to host Texas this weekend, but the game was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns which end’s the Jayhawks season on a winless record. On the bright side for KU fans, basketball season is in full tilt.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-6, 16-13 W vs Kansas)
I realize head coach Matt Wells was unable to attend the game because of COVID, but there is no excuse for beating Kansas by only three points in front of a home crowd. Not the best way to end a wishy-washy season for the Red Raiders.
Movement: ↓ 1 (Rank 8 last week)
8. BayLor Bears (2-6, 27-14 L vs Oklahoma)
Even though BayLor added another L to their column last weekend, I have to give them some credit for handling Oklahoma’s explosive offense rather well. The score was only 10-0 at halftime and BayLor was never completely out of it until the last few minutes. BayLor is one of only two schools with a regular season Big 12 game yet to be played, they’ll take on Oklahoma State at home this Saturday.
Movement: ↑ 1 (Rank 9 last week)
7. Kansas State Wildcats (4-6, 69-31 L vs Texas)
Kansas State possibly had the most disappointing seasons of any Big 12 program considering they started a perfect 4-0 in conference play only to lose their next five games consecutively. It’s never easy adjusting your game plan to not having your starting quarterback in the game, but what’s ironic is that K-State managed to win two, basically three, games without Skylar Thompson before declining rapidly. The only thing Wildcat fans will want to remember from this season is their second consecutive upset win over Oklahoma.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (5-4, 42-6 L vs Iowa State)
Now that the Mountaineers game against Oklahoma that was rescheduled for this Saturday has been cancelled, they finish the year on a not-so-great note. I can’t beat up on them too much, personally I would have been terrified if the Frogs had to play in Ames while the Cyclones were just one win away from clinching a spot in the championship — they were on a mission. West Virginia did have one of the best defenses in the conference, but this season it seemed like the offense was lacking a bit of pizzazz compared to years prior.
Movement: ↓ 2 (Rank 4 last week)
5. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-3, 29-22 L vs TCU)
Ever since taking their first loss of the year against Texas in overtime, Oklahoma State has been on a slow but steady decline. I think the Cowboys true skill level was hidden behind a top-25 ranking and a couple of one-possession wins at home against a struggling Kansas State and Texas Tech. Considering Oklahoma State was #1 in the power rankings for several weeks, it’s baffling to think they closed the year with a 41-13 blowout loss against Oklahoma, a 50-44 scare against Tech, and a 29-22 loss against TCU. Oklahoma State will look to salvage their season from total disaster as they take on Baylor this Saturday.
Movement: ↓ 2 (Rank 3 last week)
4. TCU Horned Frogs (5-4, 29-22 W vs Oklahoma State)
“Have faith in my Bobby!” - Mama Boucher. Despite opening conference play with a 1-3 record, TCU really turned things around towards the second half of the season to finish 5-4. Fun fact: TCU is currently tied with Oklahoma for most wins against ranked opponents in the Big 12, each having two. Despite losing the turnover battle 5-1, the Horned Frogs clawed their way back from a 16-7 halftime deficit to come away with the win behind Max Duggan’s stellar performance on the ground. Duggan may as well be the fastest quarterback I’ve ever seen, that kid can run. Even though the Frogs have completed Big 12 play for the year, they were fortunate enough to schedule an additional game against Louisiana Tech to be played this Saturday.
Movement: ↑ 2 (Rank 6 last week)
3. Texas Longhorns (6-3, 69-31 W vs Kansas State)
Texas ended the year in style by blowing out Kansas State 69-31, but they fell short from their goal of reaching the conference championship. I’ve probably said this every week, and I’ll continue to say it often because at this point it’s a meme — Texas is not back. The Longhorns were originally scheduled to play Kansas this weekend but the game was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues. Next time we’ll see Texas in action will be in whatever bowl game they get.
Movement: ↑ 2 (Rank 5 last week)
2. Oklahoma Sooners (7-2, 27-14 W vs BayLor)
It didn’t go exactly how they planned, but Oklahoma finished their season on a winning note after taking down BayLor 27-14. Coming into this game I was ready to see the Sooners put another 50 burger up on the scoreboard, but they struggled early on. In fact, Oklahoma’s offense was out gained by BayLor 288 to 269 yards and had three less first downs. Outside of their two losses, the Sooners had a relatively dominant year. Their seven wins came by an average margin of 29 points. Oklahoma was originally scheduled to play West Virginia this weekend, but COVID-19 has caused the game to be cancelled altogether now that the Big 12 championship matchup is locked in.
1. Iowa State Cyclones (8-2, 42-6 W vs West Virginia)
At the beginning of the season Iowa State was a team I had labeled as a “sleeper” with potential to make the conference championship, and they did just that. In hindsight, I wouldn’t say they are much of a sleeper anymore. Over the course of the season the Cyclones have proved themselves worthy of competing with the best in the conference week in and week out. Breece Hall had himself a monster year, ending the regular season with 1,357 rushing yards — enough for #1 in the country. A regular season title is an accomplishment in and of itself, but the Cyclones aren’t done yet. Next time we see Iowa State step on the field will be in Cowboy Stadium taking on Oklahoma for the Big 12 title.