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Around the Horn: Big 12 Power Rankings Week 10

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A modest winning streak means a modest bump up in the Power Rankings for the Longhorns.

Jay Jenner / Austin-American Statesman

At the beginning of the season, many pundits and experts identified the Big 12 as a wide- open race, with multiple schools vying to win the conference championship. So far, that prediction looks accurate entering the season’s final stretch.

BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS

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

Last edition’s ranking is in [BRACKETS]

1. (14) Oklahoma State Cowboys [1]

Last game: W at Kansas State, 20-18

Trending: DOWN. Oklahoma State righted the ship on their season, but just barely. Their two-point win over Kansas State came not only after the Pokes fell behind 12 points at the half, but OSU also failed to score any points in the first two quarters of play. Winning masks a lot of the negative points here, but they’re still worth pointing out. Quarterback Spencer Sanders struggled all day, throwing for just 108 yards on the day. Skill position superstars running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace both sustained injuries during the game, and the offensive line has been churning through replacements for the past few weeks. It’s a bit ironic that the year OSU finally gets an elite defense, their offense is the side holding the team back.

Next Up: at (18) Oklahoma, Saturday, November 21st 6:30 p.m. Central (on ABC)

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2. (17) Iowa State Cyclones [2]

Last game: W vs Baylor, 38-32

Trending: DOWN. Like OSU, Iowa State escaped their matchup last week with the expected result, but had to fight tooth and nail for the victory. But unlike OSU, this loss would’ve been at the hands of one of the worst teams thus far in the Big 12. If not for a pivotal late interception in their own end zone, the Cyclones may have dropped their second conference game on the year and would have fallen to 4-3 overall on the season. Instead, they’re 5-2 and in control of their own destiny. We’ve seen this Jekyll and Hyde act from ISU plenty of times, where the team seemingly fails to show up for some games (Baylor, Louisiana) but handles their business against bigger opponents (Oklahoma). In order to avoid a late-season collapse, they need to improve on their consistency.

Next Up: vs Kansas State, Saturday, November 21st (Time TBD, on FOX)

3. (19) Oklahoma Sooners [3]

Last game: W vs Kansas, 62-9

Trending: NEUTRAL. Winning over Kansas in 2020 isn’t hard, and it’s not a great way to make assumptions or draw any kind of useful information from. But one thing you can say is that Oklahoma got plenty of live practice and reps in before their big matchup against Oklahoma State next weekend. The Sooners looked like a well oiled machine for the most part, though Rattler (15/27 for 212 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT) appeared to struggle at times, as he has all season. But the Sooners had a whopping nine different players log a carry in the game, with the team totaling 200 yards and six scores on the ground. But again, this was expected against Kansas. All eyes are looking forward to Bedlam next Saturday night.

Next Up: vs (14) Oklahoma State, Saturday, November 21st 6:30 p.m. Central (on ABC)

4. (22) Texas Longhorns [5]

Last game: W vs West Virginia, 17-13

Trending: UP. Another win for the Horns puts this team back square in the hunt for a top two spot in the Big 12 and a chance to play for the conference title. Like most of their wins this year, the Texas defense came up big when it mattered most. The Mountaineers made it to the red zone on each of their three final drives, but only came away with three points from those trips. With the offense struggling against WVU’s potent defense, credit has to go to Ash and the Longhorns defense for coming up with the crucial win here.

Next Up: at Kansas, Saturday, November 21st 2:30 p.m. Central (on ESPN2)

5. West Virginia Mountaineers [6]

Last game: L at (22) Texas, 17-13

Trending: NEUTRAL. Mountaineer fans can clamor all they want that the referees played too large of a part into their loss last weekend, but at the end of the day, they had ample opportunities to score and take a lead late in the game. This game was a microcosm of WVU’s season this year — their defense is so good it will keep them in most games, but their offense really struggles at times to put points on the board. Quarterback Jarret Doege threw for 317 yards, but it came on 50 pass attempts and resulted in zero passing touchdowns. On top of that, WVU was held to just 43 yards rushing on 26 attempts. The offense creates a rock-hard ceiling this team will struggle to break out of, but luckily, their defense should keep them competitive.

Next Up: vs TCU, Saturday, November 14th 11:00 a.m. Central (on FOX)

6. Kansas State Wildcats [4]

Last game: L vs (14) Oklahoma State, 20-18

Trending: DOWN. Just three weeks ago, K-State looked poised to make a run for the Big 12 title. Fast forward to now, and after two straight conference losses with games against No. 17 ISU and No. 21 Texas still left on the schedule, the Wildcats look like they’re running out of steam. Kansas State jumped out to a 12-0 lead at the half, but failed to score again until 2:08 left in the fourth quarter. A failed two-point conversion resulted in an insurmountable and ultimately final two-point deficit. On top of this bad news, a recent COVID outbreak of around 20 players among the scout team has impacted their practices this week.

Next Up: at (17) Iowa State, Saturday, November 21st (Time TBD, on FOX)

7. TCU Horned Frogs [7]

Last game: W vs Texas Tech, 34-18

Trending: NEUTRAL. TCU attacked Texas Tech through the run game and wound up with a convincing 16 point win over the Red Raiders. While quarterback Max Duggan was a non factor in the passing game with just 73 yards passing, he destroyed TTU on the ground with 154 rushing yards and three touchdowns. In total, the Frogs racked up 270 rushing yards against Tech. Looking forward, TCU is a fairly predictable, low-ceiling team that can be competitive in their games thanks to controlling the clock and a good defense. That makes their win against Texas back in Week 4 all the more frustrating.

Next Up: at West Virginia, Saturday, November 14th 11:00 a.m. Central (on FOX)

8. Texas Tech Red Raiders [8]

Last game: L at TCU, 34-18

Trending: NEUTRAL. The Red Raiders couldn’t stop a nose bleed on Saturday, let alone a TCU rusher, and lost their second game in a row and their fifth of the season. Texas Tech kept it close through two quarters and went into halftime trailing 10-3. After a disastrous third quarter, though, the Red Raiders found themselves down 27-10 after allowing 17 points and 157 yards to TCU. The good news is that Tech still has two winnable games left on their schedule with matchups against Baylor and Kansas still out there. The bad news is that Tech needs to win out just to avoid another sub-.500 season, as they currently sit at 2-5 on the year.

Next Up: vs Baylor, Saturday, November 14th 3:00 p.m. Central (on FS1)

9. Baylor Bears [9]

Last game: L at (17) Iowa State, 38-31

Trending: NEUTAL. The Bears found themselves in a rarified promising position with a chance to win this game after taking a 21-10 lead into halftime. But the offensive struggles resurfaced in the second half, and after allowing 28 unanswered points in just over 15 minutes of play, Baylor yet again wound up on the short end of the scoreboard. The Bears then came back to life after the Cyclones got up to 38-24 lead, and rattled off an 80 yard touchdown drive to pull within one score with 8:43 left in the game. Baylor then got a stop on defense and were primed to potentially score a game-tying touchdown with just over four minutes left and the ball at ISU’s 14. But an ill-advised Charlie Brewer throw was intercepted in the end zone, resulting in a loss for the Bears. The heartbreaker is the fourth of the season for Baylor, and while the team isn’t particularly bad at any one spot of the game, they’re also just not very good at any part of it either.

Next Up: at Texas Tech, Saturday, November 14th 3:00 p.m. Central (on FS1)

10. Kansas Jayhawks [10]

Last game: L at (19) Oklahoma, 62-9

Trending: NEUTRAL. Another week, another absolute drubbing of the Jayhawks. What more is there to say about this team that hasn’t been said already? At least there’s basketball to look forward to.

Next Up: vs (21) Texas, Saturday, November 21st 2:30 p.m. Central (on ESPN2)

BIG 12 STANDINGS (THROUGH WEEK 9)

Conference record listed first, followed by overall record

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

BOWL PROJECTIONS

Though the selection process is different for this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t still make predictions on which bowls the Big 12’s best will find themselves in come holiday season.

The projections are based off of the current Big 12 standings and national rankings. Big 12 representative in BOLD.

Cotton Bowl (At-Large vs At-Large) - (14) Oklahoma State vs (12) Georgia

Alamo Bowl (Big 12 vs PAC-12) - (17) Iowa State vs Arizona State

Liberty Bowl (Big 12 vs SEC) - (21) Texas vs Kentucky

Texas Bowl (Big 12 vs SEC) - Kansas State vs Tennessee

Cheez-It’s Bowl (ACC vs Big 12) - NC State vs (18) Oklahoma

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Big 12 vs Big 10) - TCU vs Penn State

First Responder Bowl (Big 12/ACC vs Group of Five) - West Virginia vs UT San Antonio

PARTING SHOT