The conference hierarchy is really starting to solidify, but with so many teams as evenly matched as they are in the Big 12, there’s still a lot of potential for some volatility in the standings. And as we see in Oklahoma, you can gain just as much by not having a game (and avoiding an embarrassing performance) as by getting a lopsided victory.
The top contenders will spend the next few weeks beating each other up and trying to avoid random trap games, so let’s dive into this week’s conference snap.
A quick reminder of how I intend to do this power chart. It will NOT just repeat the sequence. It’s entirely possible for a team with a worse record to climb higher in the rankings, especially if they’ve been playing really well lately. Likewise, it won’t be a “who’s the hottest” list either. Instead, it will be a subjective mix of which team is playing better and which team I think IS better, with the tiebreaker going to the teams that have significantly exceeded my expectations.
Previous Performance Rating:
So with that, here are the Blue Wings Rising Big 12 Football Power Rankings after Week 8:
1. TCU Horned Frogs (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) (LW: 1 High: 1)
Last week: 38–28 W vs #17 Kansas State
This week: at West Virginia (3-4, 1-3 Big 12)
Sure, the Horned Frogs have had a close game and some injury luck, with Oklahoma, Kansas and Kansas State losing their starting quarterback to injury early in their respective games. But it’s impossible to deny that their offense has been electric this season, and the defense has stepped up to make big plays when needed. You can doubt them if you want, but you do so at your own risk.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) (LW: 2, High: 1)
Last week: 41-34 W vs. #20 Texas
This week: at #22 Kansas State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12)
Oklahoma State bounced back from a tough loss to TCU by mounting another second-half comeback against the Texas Longhorns. The defense shut down Quinn Ewers and the Texas offense in the final quarter, allowing Spencer Sanders to lead the comeback and keep the Cowboys in contention for the Big 12 Championship. This style of complementary football is going to be huge.
3. Texas Longhorns (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) (LW: 4 High: 5)
Last week: 41-34l at #11 Oklahoma State
This week: GOODBYE
Led by head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Longhorns blew another double-digit lead in the second half. There’s no question that quarterback Quinn Ewers has talent, but he’s a true rookie. He made some critical mistakes that hurt their chances of finishing the games. The defense is still at the top of the conference and we’ll see if that’s enough.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) (LW: 5, High 3)
Last week: GOODBYE
This week: at Iowa State (3-4, 0-4 Big 12)
A bye week right after an encouraging performance against the Jayhawks gave a lot of time to forget how bad the defense has been in the past. But this was a team that always wanted to go as far as their offense could take, and it looks like the offense is back on track. We’ll find out if the Sooners’ offense actually improves when they take on Iowa State’s top-10 defense.
5. Kansas State Wildcats (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) (LW: 3 High: 1)
Last week: 38-28L at #8 TCU
This week: vs. #9 Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1 Big 12)
This drop in the Wildcats’ rankings may seem a little harsh, but it’s an open question whether Adrian Martinez will return. Despite Will Howard’s stellar performance, there’s a reason he’s a backup, and we’ve seen countless backups look fantastic in their first sub, only to see them struggle when the team has had a week to prepare for them. Until Martinez comes back, it’s hard to give them that kind of support.
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) (LW: 7 High: 3)
Last week: 48-10 W vs. West Virginia
This week: vs. Baylor (4-3, 2-2 Big 12)
With quarterback Behren Morton’s fantastic performances, I was tempted to move Texas Tech up a few more spots. But the defense has struggled against teams that have competent offenses, so I need to see how to shut down a Baylor team that is struggling in its own right before jumping them into the top half of the conference.
7. Baylor Bears (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) (LW: 9 High: 6)
Last week: 35-23 W vs. Kansas
This week: at Texas Tech (4-3, 2-2 Big 12)
Baylor was able to get back on track at home against a depleted Kansas Jayhawks team, but that’s nothing to scoff at when you’ve been as inconsistent as this team has been this year. Blake Shapen continued his pattern of playing well enough to win before nearly giving it back with a couple of critical errors, but the defense did enough to win. But if they have a similar performance against any team at full strength (even the Jayhawks), then it’s hard to see them winning.
8. Kansas Jayhawks (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) (LW: 6, High: 1)
Last week: 35-23 against Baylor
This week: GOODBYE
Injuries have been brutal for the Kansas Jayhawks, with several key players out at critical times and many players battling through some serious injuries to try and help the team. Until they can get some key players back into the lineup at full strength, most notably Jalon Daniels, Lonnie Phelps, Kenny Logan and others, it will be hard to expect more wins.
It’s still unknown if first-time playmakers like Cobee Bryant and Daniel Hishaw will be able to return, but the depth the Jayhawks have has served them well. They just don’t have enough in the 3rd or 4th string to continue rotating players with the same degree of success they had at the start of the year.
9. West Virginia Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) (LW: 8 High: 8)
Last week: 48-10 L at Texas Tech
This week: vs. #7 TCU (7-0, 4-0 Big 12)
The roller coaster continues as West Virginia followed up a gutsy win over the Bears by getting blown out by Texas Tech. It’s hard to imagine it getting better anytime soon, as they face TCU at home this week, Iowa State in Ames, and then go through the gauntlet of Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. He may not have another win in the schedule depending on which Iowa State offense he faces.
10. Iowa State Cyclones (3-4, 0-4 Big 12) (LW: 10 High: 5)
Last week: GOODBYE
This week: vs Oklahoma (4-3, 1-3 Big 12)
The bye week didn’t inspire much confidence in Iowa State’s offense, but they were headed in the right direction against Texas. And it helps that they face an Oklahoma defense that has struggled in basically every game this season, so Hunter Dekkers should get some opportunities.
The defense is an elite unit, but it can’t win games by itself. Until the offense shows some consistency (or beats West Virginia next week in Ames), it’s hard to justify moving Iowa State out of the conference cellar.
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