Over the last few years, the Big 12 Conference has taken a hit for its brand of football. The prototypical air raid offenses with the bend, and very often breaking, defenses has caused the conference to maintain a black eye. However, this week two big non-conference wins have bolstered the conference resume. Impressive road wins by Oklahoma and TCU have changed the proposition. Now, it appears the conference has a few opportunities to make noise in the playoff race. Let’s take a look at this weeks power rankings in the Big 12.
1. Oklahoma, 2-0
Last week: Defeated Ohio State 31-16.
The Sooners are the talk of the football world this week after walking into Columbus and defeating the Buckeyes. This could be a season-defining win both individually for the Sooners and for the Big 12 as a whole.
This Week: At home against Tulane
Oklahoma will return the confines of Gaylord Memorial Stadium to take on the Tulane Green Wave. Tulane looks to be much improved this season, and the Sooners must guard against the trap game.
2. Oklahoma State, 2-0.
Last Week: Defeated South Alabama 44-7.
The Cowboys remained razor sharp on the young season in a dominating performance over the Jaguars. The game was never in doubt, as Oklahoma State was equally as impressive on defense in holding South Alabama scoreless until very late in the contest.
This Week: At Pittsburgh
The Cowboys will get their biggest test of the season taking on the Pitt Panthers on the road. The Panthers appear to be a bit down in terms of their production from a year ago after struggling in the opener against Youngstown State and losing to Penn State 33-14 a week ago.
3. TCU, 2-0.
Last Week: Defeated Arkansas 28-7.
The Horned Frogs were the recipient of a big win for the conference in going to Fayetteville and defeating the Razorbacks. The defense was in full display as they held Arkansas scoreless over the last three and a half quarters of the game.
This Week: At home against SMU
This should be an interesting matchup between the high powered Mustang offense and the stingy Horned Frogs defense. SMU comes into the game averaging 56 points per game behind one of the best receivers in the country in Courtland Sutton.
4. Kansas State, 2-0.
Last Week: Defeated Charlotte 55-7.
Consistency is the name of the game in Manhattan. Thing that you come to expect out of a Bill Snyder coached team is a solid running game and a opportunistic defense. Both of those areas shined as the Wildcats ran for over 300 yards and scored twice on defense in the rout.
Next Week: At Vanderbilt
This could very well end up as the marquee matchup in the Big 12 this week. Vanderbilt has been impressive particularly defensively in its first two games this season. Both teams bring a similar mentality in terms of how they want to beat you so 21 points could very well win this ball game.
5. West Virginia, 1-1.
Last Week: Defeated East Carolina 56-20.
Will Grier nearly has as many touchdown passes (5) as incompletions (6) against the Pirates. This one was over early as the Mountaineers took a 49-3 victory into halftime. West Virginia compiled 614 total yards of offense in the victory.
Next Week: At home against Delaware State
Quick, tell me the official mascot of Delaware State. If you are a solid google user, you found they are called the Hornets. There will not be much sting in this game if you are a Delaware State fan. The Mountaineers will get to name their score on Saturday.
6. Texas, 1-1.
Last Week: Defeated San Jose State 56-0.
No Shane Buechele. No problem. The Longhorns got the first win in the Tom Herman era in dominating fashion. Texas ran for over 400 yards the defense held San Jose State to 171 total yards in shutout.
Next Week: At USC
The competition gets a major upgrade as the Horns travel to Los Angeles to battle the Trojans. After a lackluster performance against Western Michigan, USC looked very impressive in an 18 point victory against Stanford. Texas struggled defensively against Maryland in week one and how they handle Sam Darnold and company will be the biggest matchup.
7. Texas Tech, 1-0.
Last Week: Bye
The Red Raiders were off last week and the only victory was a dominating performance against Eastern Washington. It’s hard to get a good read on Texas Tech, but at the least it looks as though they will be in good hands with Nic Shimonek. Shimonek threw for 384 yards and three scores in the win.
Next Week: At home against Arizona State
If you like points, you are definitely going to like this game. With the reputation of the offensive prowess of both of these schools, the defense should truly be optional here. This will prove as a solid barometer game for the Red Raiders moving forward into the season.
8. Iowa State, 1-1.
Last Week: Loss to Iowa 44-41 (OT)
Heartbreak is the sentiment of the week for the Cyclones. Iowa State rallied from down 11 to up 10 only to see Iowa tie the score with a minute left. Iowa scored a touchdown in their opening possession to close out the game. The positive takeaway was the performance of Quarterback Jacob Park. He threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns in the loss.
This Week: At Akron
This will be an important win for bowl eligibility for the Cyclones. A victory here and Iowa State would need just four wins in conference play to establish that feat. Akron was outclasses in their opener against Penn State, but rebounded well in a 52-3 thumping of Arkansas Pine Bluff.
9. Kansas, 1-1.
Last Week: Lost to Central Michigan 45-28.
It was not a great defensive performance for the Jayhawks this week in giving up nearly 600 yard of total offense to Central Michigan. The Chippewas took control early on and led 24-6 at intermission. Kansas would crawl back to within six, but that would be as close as they would get before the eventual 17 point loss.
This Week: At Ohio
Both teams come into this game with a record of 1-1. As the Jayhawks did, Ohio struggled defensively giving up 558 yards to Purdue in a 44-21 loss. Maybe the Jayhawks are just thrilled they can say they aren’t the cellar dweller at this point.
10. Baylor, 0-2.
Last Week: Lost to Texas San-Antonio 17-10.
Baylor fans must be wondering how this happened so quick. The College Football world knew the Bears would fall down a little, but nobody thought it would be this dramatic, this soon. UTSA recorded its first ever win against a Power Five opponent in the victory. In the opening game loss against Liberty, it was the defense that faltered. On Saturday, the offense only amassed 274 yards of total offense.
Next Week: At Duke
Things don’t get any easier for the Bears this week as they travel to Durham to take on Duke. The Blue Devils had what was a very impressive under the radar victory against Northwestern. The game was dominated in every statistical area by Duke. Baylor will need to make great strides to be competitive in this game.