Week 2 in the Big 12 was highlighted by a few Power-5 matchups, including the biggest game of the week, Oklahoma at Ohio State. The Big 12 represented well with the Sooners grabbing the sport’s most impressive win of the season, TCU dominating at Arkansas, and Iowa State nearly knocking off Iowa.
The media has used the conference as its punching bag for a few years now after the Big 12’s top teams have missed the College Football Playoff twice in three years.
Some of the criticism was warranted. Last season, it was clear the Big 12 was in very serious trouble after Oklahoma lost high-profile matchups with Houston and Ohio State. A much-hyped TCU team lost to Arkansas. Oklahoma State lost at home to Central Michigan. Kansas State took one on the chin at Stanford. Cal beat Texas after the Longhorns appeared to top a good Notre Dame team. You get it.
But this year’s non-conference results are changing the narrative. Maybe. With one week left in the non-conference schedule, the Big 12 is poised to have at least three, quite likely four teams (Kansas State is at Vanderbilt in Week 3), get through unscathed.
Combine the early-season success of the conference’s top teams with more favorable preseason rankings than in years past, and we’re going to see more high-profile games in the conference than we’ve seen in recent memory.
Sure, you might point out that Kansas, Baylor, and Texas have had embarrassing losses, and that Iowa State is consistently a drag on the conference strength. But we’ve seen that the media and committee favor top-heavy conferences with little regard for the depth of the roster. Maybe the Big 12 finally has the right recipe?
But right, you came for power rankings. Here you go.
Baker Mayfield plants the OU flag in the Ohio State logo at midfield pic.twitter.com/Ovas203PqP— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 10, 2017
- Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield and the Sooners triggered all of Ohio by dissecting the Buckeye defense for 386 yards and four touchdowns. But the best trolling came after the game when he planted the OU flag at the 50-yard line. Nevermind that Ohio Stadium has field turf.
- TCU: The biggest movers of the week are the Horned Frogs. The inevitable collapse of Kenny Hill may be less dramatic if Gary Patterson has again conjured his defense magic.
- Oklahoma State: I watched approximately nine plays of the Pokes’ matchup with South Alabama. I didn’t see any touchdowns, hence the drop to three in this week’s rankings. The Cowboys have TCU in two weeks.
- Kansas State: The Wildcats have built on last season’s momentum, but it’s hard to gauge their current standing with blowout wins over Central Arkansas and Charlotte. I suspect Kansas State is worthy of its ranking in the AP (18), but it’s still a bit of an unknown.
- West Virginia: Dana Holgerson’s squad dropped off the national radar with the Week 1 loss to Virginia Tech, but they’re still dangerous. In fact, I’m calling it now. The Mountaineers will take down Oklahoma State in late October.
- Iowa State: This loss hurt for Cyclones fans. While some of the pain comes from having to endure the verbal farts of Kirkwood’s finest for another year, perhaps more comes from another late-game meltdown.
- Texas Tech: The Red Raiders were off in Week 2. They will lightly engage Arizona State in Week 3 in a game that featured 123 points (ASU won 68-55) last season.
- Texas: The media will feel more comfortable hyping the Longhorns’ showdown with USC after a 56-0 win over San Jose State. If Maryland scored 51, how many will Sam Darnold and the Trojans put up on Saturday?
- Kansas: The bottom of the Big 12 is taking fine shape with the Jayhawks feeling more comfortable as the ninth-place team. Central Michigan brought nine Jayhawk football fans back to Earth with a 45-27 win in Lawrence.
- Baylor: Chip and Joanna Gaines are considering a move to Happy Valley, where scandals are still ignored, but at least those boys can play. I mean....Saquon Barkley can ball! At least Barkley can ball!