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Big 12 Football Power Rankings – Week 3

By Brendan Dzwierzynski | @BrendanDzw on Twitter

There weren’t any marquee matchups across college football this weekend (the first time in several years there hasn’t been a game between ranked teams), and that was the case in the Big 12 as well. However, in what some predicted may have been a tough weekend for the conference, Big 12 teams went 7-2 against their nonconference foes in Week 3.

The most shocking result of the weekend came in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, when Kansas upended Boston College. Outside of that stunner, it was largely status quo throughout the Big 12. The top teams dominated and teams with a lot of question marks struggled.

Conference games begin (almost) in full next week, and here’s how the rankings shake out heading into Big 12 play:

1.     Oklahoma (LW: 1) Given how dominant OU has been to start the season, it’s almost a surprise the Sooners only won by 34 against UCLA. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner right now and made more Oklahoma history this weekend (becoming the first player to pass for 200 yards and run for 100 yards in one half). For an idea of how dominant their offense has been, this was a down week in terms of efficiency and the Sooners still picked up over 9.5 yards per play. The nonconference slate was a cakewalk for Oklahoma.

 

2.     Texas (LW: 2) Texas avoided losing to food this week, which was a positive (it beat Rice 48-13 in what was either a disaster or a miracle for all you bettors out there, depending on which side you were on). It was a strong bounce-back effort after the hard-fought, emotional loss to LSU in Week 2. For as good as Hurts has been for Oklahoma, quarterback Sam Ehlinger has been almost as fantastic for Texas. They were expected to blow Rice out and accomplished that mission with ease (until the fourth quarter).

 

3.     Oklahoma State (LW: 3) The Cowboys’ Week 3 win over Tulsa didn’t feel like a blowout (they won by 19 on the road), but there were a lot of positives to take away from the nonconference finale. The offense posted 40 points yet again and the defense, despite struggling at some points in the first half, pitched a second-half shutout of the Golden Hurricane. If that defense can stay steady the rest of the way, Oklahoma State is going to give a scare to the top two teams in the Big 12. Oh, how convenient, OSU plays Texas next weekend.

 

4.     TCU (LW: 5) TCU smothered a strong Purdue offense this weekend, cruising past the Boilermakers thanks to strong efforts from the ground attack and the defense as a whole. The Horned Frogs racked up 346 rushing yards while limiting the Boilermakers to just 204 total yards in West Lafayette. That’s an impressive statement after a week off and a less-than-inspiring Week 1 effort. Defense can be hard to come by in the Big 12, but TCU’s is flexing its collective muscle right now.

 

5.     Kansas State (LW: 7) This weekend the Wildcats had less than 300 yards of offense, lost three fumbles and lost the time of possession battle against a team that creamed them at home last season. Despite all of that, they won, and you can argue they should have won by more. K-State is for real, and picking up a road win over a previously undefeated SEC teams illustrates that. They need to clean up a handful of issues as the games continue to get tougher against Big 12 foes, but becoming the first team to post 30 points against Mississippi State in since Week 13 of 2017 is worth a big bump in the rankings.

 

6.     Baylor (LW: 4) Baylor is a victim of a couple strong performances from teams previously ranked below it while having a week off. Maybe playing real teams to start the season would have helped buoy their rankings. The Bears should post huge offensive numbers again next week when they play Rice (Baylor is averaging 59.5 points per game so far).

 

7.     Iowa State (LW: 6) This year’s version of the battle for the CyHawk Trophy, or ¡El Assico! to those who spend way too much time online, was as much of a mess as it usually is, and for the fifth year in a row the Cyclones came out on the losing end. That’s now two sloppy, close games at home for Iowa State to open the season. The defense has looked good and there are reasons to be optimistic about the offense, but through two games this is not what many expected from Matt Campbell’s squad (they were picked to finish third in the Big 12 preseason poll).

 

8.     Texas Tech (LW: 8) Week 3’s loss to Arizona was a tough one. Quarterback Alan Bowman got dinged up at one point, but the offense only putting up 14 points wasn’t a great look. The game’s decisive drive also featured Kevin Sumlin’s Wildcats running through the Red Raider defense with the grueling, agonizing dominance of an Army-like ground game. Things won’t be any easier going forward for Texas Tech, because after a bye next weekend it’ll head north to Norman to face Oklahoma.

 

9.     Kansas (LW: 10) It’s hard to get a gauge on this Kansas team. Last week, the offense was embarrassingly bad and the Jayhawks lost at home to Coastal Carolina. This week, quarterback Carter Stanley looked like a Heisman candidate, running back Kahlil Herbert put up ridiculous rushing numbers and they bullied Boston College on both sides of the ball to earn their first P5 road win since yours truly was an eighth grader (Oct. 2008). If the play calls and execution from this week are the norm in Big 12 play, Kansas is not going to be a pushover (to the degree it usually is, anyway). The sheer shock of the result boosts KU.

 

10.  West Virginia (LW: 9) Next week’s battle between West Virginia and Kansas very well could decide who spends the rest of the season in the ninth and 10th spots in the rankings. The Mountaineers handled the North Carolina State Wolfpack at home on Saturday, looking better than they had in either of their first two games. Quarterback Austin Kendall is a key component in making sure coach Neal Brown’s offense can keep progressing, and he did his job this weekend. There’s certainly an argument that West Virginia could have remained out of the basement this week following its win.

For past editions of the power rankings, click here.


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