Big 12 Football Power Rankings – Week 9

In Week 9 we finally experienced a crack in the facade of the top of the Big 12 power rankings. The Kansas State Wildcats picked up the biggest win of the year in college football with their upset over OU. While it didn’t bump the Sooners down for now, it shrank the gap between Oklahoma and the rest of the league, specifically No. 2 Baylor.

And, as is tradition in the 2019 Big 12, the middle of the conference experienced yet another major shakeup this week. Underdogs reigned conference-wide in Week 9.

1.       Oklahoma (LW: 1) Oklahoma is still the best team in the Big 12, but the gap between the Sooners and No. 2 in the rankings shrank drastically this weekend. OU was manhandled by K-State for the majority of their game before turning it on for a late comeback attempt. On one hand, OU’s first loss of the season could be viewed as a wakeup call game, but on the other hand the defense, which has been good throughout the season, looked far more exposed in Week 9. They’re still the cream of the crop in the league, but the Sooners’ margin for error is, in terms of the power rankings and their College Football Playoff hopes, essentially zero.


2.       Baylor (LW: 2) The Bears are the biggest winner of the week by virtue of not playing. In a week in which only underdogs won in the Big 12, Baylor escaped unscathed. Its defense is rested thanks to the bye ahead of a short-week home game against West Virginia on Thursday.


3.       Kansas State (LW: 6) When you pick up the biggest upset of the college football season, speaking in terms of the whole country, you deserve a huge jump in the power rankings. K-State looked phenomenal in its win over Oklahoma. The Wildcats did just enough through the air to complement an excellent game on the ground, all while the defense stifled the country’s best offense for three quarters (before the late comeback). Chris Klieman and his staff have done an excellent job in Manhattan and their work paid dividends on Saturday.


4.       Oklahoma State (LW: 5) OSU is one of several teams in the league this year that it’s nearly impossible to get a read on. The Pokes picked up a nice win over Iowa State this week in a game that featured a strong bounce back performance from Spencer Sanders. He was far more efficient and didn’t turn the ball over as much as the past few weeks, and, surprise, that put Oklahoma State in a good position. It helps, of course, to have the best running back/wide receiver dup in the country on your team and for both to have huge days.


5.       Texas (LW: 3) Texas is back … to the middle of the pack in the Big 12. This is not a particularly good team in general, weighed down by a downright terrible defense. TCU is undeniably a good running team, but a team with the talent that Texas has, injured or not, shouldn’t get gashed as badly as the Longhorns did this weekend. That sort of performance means the offense needs to play a nearly perfect game, which it did not against TCU. If Sam Ehlinger is throwing as poorly as he did this week (he threw four interceptions and completed just 22/48 passes) UT cannot win. The thought of another Red River Showdown for the Big 12 championship game is out the window.


6.       TCU (LW: 7) Max Duggan is coming into his own. The freshman quarterback had another solid game both through the air and on the ground, which propelled the Frogs to a big win over Texas. It’s the vaunted TCU defense that deserves the most credit this week, though, forcing four bad turnovers through the air and limiting Texas to just 5.7 yards per play. Is TCU a good bad team, or a bad good team? It’s impossible to know at this point, but it picked up an important win nonetheless on Saturday.


7.       Iowa State (LW: 4) This is a steep fall for the Cyclones, but in a bad week for the upper crust in the Big 12 it makes sense. This is another one of those aforementioned teams that just makes no sense. It seemed like Iowa State was finally putting it together and making a dark horse run for the conference title game, then they play a wildly inefficient offensive game and take another step back. The coaching and players are in place for the ‘Clones, but they can’t string together enough strong performances in a row to make you think they’re anything more than a middle-of-the-road bowl team.


8.       West Virginia (LW: 9) As mentioned above, had the Baylor/West Virginia game taken place this Saturday instead of Thursday, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks West Virginia would lose, given the upset trend of the week. The Mountaineers still move up, though, thanks to the gong show in Lawrence.


9.       Kansas (LW: 10) The Jayhawks finally got their first Big 12 win of the Les Miles era, and it’s one worth celebrating even if it came about thanks to a ridiculous set of circumstances. The offense has looked almost universally stellar since Brent Dearmon took over as offensive coordinator and it’s showing in quarterback Carter Stanley, this week’s Big 12 offensive player of the week.


10.   Texas Tech (LW: 8) Admittedly, this two-spot drop into the basement of the power rankings might be an overreaction. Then again, when you lead 17-0, have a 13-point lead with about 20 minutes to play and then commit the single dumbest play in football history, you deserve flak. Jett Duffey and the offense played better overall this week, but there was no reason for the Red Raiders to lose that game. To lose in comically disastrous fashion only makes it worse.

For past editions of the power rankings, click here.