Now that every football team in the Big 12 has played a conference game, and with West Virginia having the weekend off, it seems like a good time to reset and take a look at who is doing what around the league.
Oklahoma, as predicted, has been the class of the conference so far this season, but the middle of the league is a little more crowded than this reporter anticipated.
We’ll do this power ranking style, starting at the top.
1. Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has been as good, if not better, than expected in Lincoln Riley’s offense, and the Sooners defense has not faced a serious test yet in 2019. Hurts is the big story in Norman, and with weapons around him like receivers Cee Dee Lamb and Charleston Rambo, as well as running backs Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon it sure seems like OU has all the pieces to make a run at a return trip to the College Football Playoff.
2. Texas (3-1, 1-0)
Nobody else in the league is on Oklahoma’s level right now, but Texas has been the closest. The Longhorns, led by quarterback Sam Ehlinger, played with a very good Louisiana State team for four quarters in a narrow loss to the Tigers at home and rebounded to slip past a pesky Oklahoma State team. Texas, like WVU, had the weekend off and should be well rested when the Longhorns visit the Mountaineers on Saturday (3:30 p.m. on ABC).
3. Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1)
The Big 12 is an offense-first league, and the Cowboys have two of the best offensive players in the conference and a young quarterback that has played well. Running back Chuba Hubbard and receiver Tylan Wallace give Oklahoma State a chance to score touchdowns any time they touch the ball, and freshman Spencer Sanders has done well to guide the OSU offense. The Cowboys lone loss came at Texas in a game they had a shot to win late.
4. Baylor (4-0, 1-0)
Don’t look now, but here comes Baylor. The Bears quietly have run off four wins to start the season, and a peek ahead at the schedule shows winnable games against Kansas State and Texas Tech in the coming weeks. If the Bears get through those two games with wins, it will set up an Oct. 19 showdown at Oklahoma State with BU sitting at 6-0.
5. TCU (3-1, 1-0)
The Horned Frogs took care of business against some bad teams to open its schedule, but then fell in a rivalry game to SMU. TCU still has some questions on offense but a strong showing in a 51-14 beatdown of Kansas could be a step in the right direction. The Frogs’ defense, as usual, has been pretty good. TCU gets its first real test in Big 12 play this week at Iowa State.
6. Iowa State (2-2, 0-1)
Yes, I thought Iowa State would be the second-best team in the Big 12 this season behind Oklahoma and it has become pretty clear that isn’t’ the case and the Cyclones are a flawed team. ISU lost its in-state rivalry game against Iowa in a very Iowa State way. On Saturday, the Cyclones were down 20-0 at Baylor before coming back to make it interesting late. If Iowa State wants to stay in the race for a Big 12 title game spot, a win this weekend against TCU is a must.
7. Kansas State (3-1, 0-1)
The Wildcats have been much better in their first season with Chris Kleiman as head coach than I thought they would be. K-State got a surprising win at Mississippi State to get some momentum going into conference play, but couldn’t hang with Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater.
8. West Virginia (3-1, 1-0)
The last three teams on this list are all bunched in pretty close. WVU gets the nod here because the Mountaineers won on the road at Kansas and, unlike Texas Tech, are not operating with a backup quarterback. October’s schedule is going to be tough, and even one win out of the four games against Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Baylor would have to be considered a step in the right direction for this team.
9. Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1)
The Red Raiders had the poor fortune of drawing Oklahoma for Jalen Hurts’ Big 12 debut and it went about how you’d expect. TTU still searching for an identity under first-year coach Matt Wells and dealing with an injury to starting quarterback Alan Bowman for the second consecutive season.
10. Kansas (2-3, 0-2)
Kansas might be a little bit better than in recent seasons, but the bar for that achievement ain’t exactly set very high. It’s going to take some time for Les Miles to recruit some talent into Lawrence, and in the meantime KU will continue to struggle. Oh and add standout running back Khalil Herbert possibly entering the transfer portal to the list of things gone wrong for the Jayhawks.