The Big 12 has cycled through several different iterations this season. TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State all had turns at the top of the conference.
But 11 weeks into the season, the favorites are back on top. Oklahoma beat No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday to reassert itself as the Big 12’s top contender for the College Football Playoff.
Here’s the state of the Big 12 world heading into Week 11.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (previous: No. 1)
Last week: 62-52 win over No. 11 Oklahoma State
This week: vs. No. 6 TCU
The kings are back. Baker Mayfield threw for 598 yards and had 6 total touchdowns in the win over Oklahoma State. Now after facing college football’s other best offense, it’s onto the nation’s best defense. Win this game and the title game and Oklahoma is a virtual lock for the playoff.
2. TCU Horned Frogs (previous: No. 4)
Last week: 24-7 win over Texas
This week: at No. 5 Oklahoma
TCU manhandled Texas on Saturday, and now has the No. 6 total defense in the nation despite playing three top-10 offenses. The Horned Frogs are able to beat teams in a variety of ways. However, Saturday is one of Gary Patterson’s most difficult tests.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (previous: No. 2)
Last week: 62-52 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma
This week: at No. 21 Iowa State
There is no shame in losing to Oklahoma in a crazy game. The Cowboys are now eliminated from national championship contention. However, but they can make a quality bowl game and win a Big 12 title with a few more wins.
4. West Virginia Mountaineers (previous: No. 4)
Last week: 20-16 win over No. 15 Iowa State
This week: at Kansas State
West Virginia is the best 3-loss team. The College Football Playoff rankings may disagree, but it’s true. The Mountaineers’ only losses are to No. 15 Oklahoma, No. 6 TCU and No. 17 Virginia Tech. It’s been a brutal schedule. Picking up that elusive win over a ranked opponent helps.
5. Iowa State Cyclones (previous: No. 1)
Last week: 20-16 loss to West Virginia
This week: vs. No. 15 Oklahoma State
Don’t cry that it’s over, smile because it happened. Iowa State’s status as dark horse College Football Playoff contender is complete, but the Cyclones are a great story. Even after a loss, the program is in a great spot to win eight games and already has a bowl berth.
6. Texas Longhorns (previous: No. 6)
Last week: 24-7 loss to TCU
This week: vs. Kansas
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger is sidelined for the foreseeable future, and the offense reflects it. Granted, it was against one of the best defenses in college football, but TCU held Texas to 263 total yards and 7 points. Nine total rushing yards is an embarrassment. Texas has to beat two out of three against Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia to make a bowl. That’s no easy feat.
7. Kansas State Wildcats (previous: No. 8)
Last week: 42-35 (OT) win over Texas Tech
This week: vs. West Virginia
This team is odd. The offense isn’t good, but is finding its way under Alex Delton. Beating Texas Tech is a nice boon, but it’s unclear how much that means at this point in the season. Regardless, it puts the Wildcats in a good spot to make a bowl game.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (previous: No. 7)
Last week: 42-35 (OT) loss to Kansas State
This week: vs. Baylor (in Arlington)
A few weeks ago, Texas Tech seemed like a middle-tier team. After losing to Kansas State, a bowl game might be a borderline proposition. The Red Raiders have to beat Texas and Baylor to get there.
9. Baylor Bears
Last week: 38-9 win over Kansas
This week: vs. Texas Tech (in Arlington)
Congrats, Baylor. You have officially punched your ticket to finish No. 9 in the final Big 12 power rankings after dominating Kansas. The Bears had every phase of the game rolling at the right time. Charlie Brewer looks like the answer at quarterback.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
Last week: 38-9 loss to Baylor
This week: at Texas
Kansas lost against Baylor in embarrassing fashion on Saturday and is officially the worst team in the Big 12. All that’s left is to take care of that next team on the schedule – the Texas Longhorns. To be fair, the Jayhawks have a winning streak against them.
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