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Keeping Up With the Conference: Week 10 Power Rankings

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A chaotic power rankings reflect an even more chaotic Week 9.

Sports Illustrated

Now that some time has passed from a chaotic weekend in the Big 12, let’s reflect on the conference and make rational decisions regarding how each team stacks up against the other nine.

For example, here’s a few good, reasonable questions you could ask:

  • Does Oklahoma still have a chance at the College Football Playoff?
  • Is Baylor really the best team in the Big 12?
  • Should Texas fire their coaches and entire defense into the sun?

All totally reasonable, level-headed questions as we enter the final month of the regular season.

Given that we’re staring down the home stretch of the season, and with many teams having only four more games left to play with only one month of football remaining (shudders), it’s time we start focusing on the future.

This week’s edition of the Power Rankings will have an emphasis on future prospects, including record predictions and bowl projections.

With all this being said, let’s take a look at the rankings in this week’s edition of Keeping Up With the Conference.

A reminder that the Power Rankings are not meant to reflect the current standings. They’ll be based on a combination of season performance, heavily weighing more recent games, and will take into consideration opponent quality compared to the rest of the conference.


Previous week ranking is in [BRACKETS]

1. (12) Baylor Bears [2]

Last week: off week 9

Projected Final Record: [8-1, 11-1]

Trending: NEUTRAL. The only team ranked in the top four from last week that DIDN’T get upset, Baylor moves into the No. 1 spot via an idle week that saw Oklahoma go down. Baylor played host on Halloween to a less-than spooky WVU team and took care of business with a 17-14 win. After that, the Bears most likely hold all the chips at the table as the Big 12’s lone playoff contender. A 13-0 Baylor would make the playoff, and that’s a fact. The only question — with games at TCU and against Oklahoma and Texas at home in back-to-back-to-back weeks, is that possible?

Next Up: at TCU, November 9 (Time and Network TBD)

2. (10) Oklahoma Sooners [1]

Last week: L at (22) Kansas State, 48-41

Projected Final Record: [8-1, 11-1]

Trending: DOWN. And down goes Goliath. Through eight weeks, Oklahoma had looked untouchable and en route to another Big 12 Championship and College Football PLayoff appearance. They can still win the Big 12, but their playoff hopes took a major blow this past Saturday, as the AP Poll dropped them to 10th in the rankings. What’s worse, is that their one ranked opponent still on their schedule (Baylor) would absolutely plummet in the poll should the Sooners win. This is still the best team in the Big 12, and will most likely be favored in the rest of their conference games. But they’re not a top four team nationally, and certainly not unbeatable.

Next Up: off week 10, vs Iowa State, November 9th 7:00 p.m. Central (TBD)

3. (22) Kansas State Wildcats [6]

Last week: W vs (10) Oklahoma, 48-41

Projected Final Record: [5-4, 8-4]

Trending: UP. Who would’ve thought that hiring the greatest coach in NCAA FCS history would have translated to success at the next level? There were some doubters, but those who questioned the move to hire Chris Klieman are silent this week, after K-State notched their first true signature win in the Klieman era. This team currently has no more ranked teams left in their schedule, but do have a couple of tough games in a road trip to Texas and a home game against Iowa State that should provide for some heavier competition. But if Kansas State, a team currently sitting at 5-2, finishes at worst at 8-4, then that’s a huge success.

Next Up: at Kansas, Saturday, November 2nd 2:30 p.m. Central (on FS1)

4. Texas Longhorns [3]

Last week: L at TCU, 37-27

Projected Final Record: [5-4, 7-5]

Trending: DOWN. Texas now faces a tough uphill climb to make it back to the Big 12 title game. Down two games to Baylor and essentially two games to Oklahoma, Texas will need some help as well as to win out in order to finish top two in the conference. Given how the defense has looked paired with the offensive play calling, that may just be too steep a climb.

Next Up: off week 10, vs Kansas State, November 9th (Time and Network TBD)

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys [5]

Last week: W vs Iowa State, 34-27

Projected Final Record: [5-4, 8-4]

Trending: UP. With the Cowboys’ season essentially lost (OSU was 1-3 in conference going into the game), they put up a fight and got a huge victory over Iowa State to pull to a 2-3 conference record. It’s still a far cry from what many fans had hoped for before the season started, with some selecting OSU as a dark horse Big 12 Championship Game candidate. The Oklahoma season-ending game still looms large at the end of their schedule, but other than that game the Pokes have by far the easiest remaining schedule: TCU, Kansas, and West Virginia.

Next Up: vs TCU, Saturday, November 2nd 2:30 p.m. Central (ESPN)

6. Iowa State Cyclones [4]

Last week: L vs Oklahoma State, 34-27

Projected Final Record: [6-3, 8-4]

Trending: DOWN. A crushing loss for Iowa State, right after the team had started finding some momentum with a three-game winning streak and a No. 23 AP Poll ranking. With games still remaining against Texas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma, it seems highly unlikely the Cyclones will be one of the two teams making the trip to Arlington to play in the Big 12 Championship this December.

Next Up: off week 10, at (10) Oklahoma, November 9th 7:00 p.m. Central (TBD)

7. TCU Horned Frogs [8]

Last week: W vs Texas, 37-27

Projected Final Record: [4-5, 6-6]

Trending: UP. TCU desperately needed a win, and they got a big one against the visiting, ranked-at-the-time Longhorns in thrilling fashion. The Frogs were able to hop up to another level on offense, getting freshman QB Max Duggan going for his best game on the young season. The win puts TCU at 4-3 on the season, much more comforting especially knowing that Baylor and road games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State still remain.

Next Up: at Oklahoma State, Saturday, November 2nd 2:30 p.m. Central (on ESPN)

8. Kansas Jayhawks [10]

Last week: W vs Texas Tech, 37-34

Projected Final Record: [1-8, 3-9]

Trending: UP. Coming off of the moral victory in Austin, the Jayhawks fell behind 17-0 in the first half and then 27-14 in the third quarter against the Red Raiders. However, QB Carter Stanley helped Kansas rally back with 415 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest moment of the game, though, came from a potential game-tying kick from the Jayhawks that was blocked, then subsequently lateraled to no one. With Kansas recovering the lateral, Les Miles’ team punched in the next field goal try to win the game.

Regardless of what else goes down this season, it’s hard to not chalk up this year as a success for Miles and the Kansas program. If Kansas can sneak out one more win to get to four on the season, it will be the most they’ve had in a single year since they went 5-7 in 2009.

Next Up: vs (22) Kansas State, Saturday November 2nd 2:30 p.m. Central (on FS1)

9. West Virginia Mountaineers [9]

Last week: off week 9

Projected Final Record: [1-8, 3-9]

Trending: NEUTRAL. After starting off the season 3-1, the Mountaineers got a week off following a three-game losing skid. They get rewarded with a road trip to Waco to face the undefeated Baylor Bears in a nationally televised Thursday night game. For a team with a rushing attack that ranks 125th out of 130 teams, the last thing they needed to see was a tough road game against a staunch defense. Neal Brown’s team battled, but came up short at the end.

Next Up: vs Texas Tech, Saturday November 9th noon Central (ESPN2/ESPNU)

10. Texas Tech Red Raiders [7]

Last week: L at Kansas, 37-34

Projected Final Record: [2-7, 4-8]

Trending: DOWN. An absolutely stupefying loss pretty much seals Texas Tech’s fate as a non-bowl participant this season. This team was dealt some bad luck with QB Alan Bowman only making it through three games before getting injured, but the problems the Red Raiders have go much farther than that. And again, I can’t emphasize enough how bad of a loss this was, this stings even from here.

Next Up: off week 10, at West Virginia, November 9th 11:00 a.m. Central (TBD)


Conference record listed first, followed by overall record

  1. (12) Baylor Bears [4-0, 7-0]
  2. (10) Oklahoma Sooners [4-1, 7-1]
  3. Iowa State Cyclones [3-2, 5-3]
  4. Texas Longhorns [3-2, 5-3]
  5. (22) Kansas State Wildcats [2-2, 5-2]
  6. TCU Horned Frogs [2-2, 4-3]
  7. Oklahoma State Cowboys [2-3, 5-3]
  8. West Virginia Mountaineers [1-3, 3-4]
  9. Kansas Jayhawks [1-4, 3-5]
  10. Texas Tech Red Raiders [1-4, 3-5]


With half the season down in the record books, here’s where the conference is slated to go bowling this year:

Allstate Sugar Bowl (Big 12 vs SEC) - (10) Oklahoma vs (8) Georgia

Goodyear Cotton Bowl (Selection Committee) - (12) Baylor vs (15) SMU

Valero Alamo Bowl (Big 12 vs Pac 12) - Texas vs (9) Utah

Camping World Bowl (Big 12 vs ACC) - (22) Kansas State Wildcats vs (16) Notre Dame

Academy Sports + Outdoors Bowl (Big 12 vs SEC) - Oklahoma State vs Texas A&M

AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Big 12 vs SEC) - Iowa State vs (24) Memphis

Cheez-It Bowl (Big 12 vs Pac 12) - TCU vs Washington State