What a week. I want to take a minute to congratulate Big 12 alumni Mike Leach for taking Mississippi State to Death Valley and beating LSU while cooking up 600+ passing yards and confirming what Big 12 fans have known for years: that the Air Raid not only works wherever you run it, but it thrives. I look forward to the spin SEC analysts put on their vaunted defenses getting torched by Air Raid football, while knocking down Big 12 defenses at the same time. And remember dear readers, when SEC upsets happen, it’s because the league is so good. When upsets happen in the Big 12, it’s because the league is all bad.
In Big 12 world, the conference favorite got the bone-crushing loss out of the way early this year. Pretty smart by Lincoln Riley to drop his team down the AP poll now, so they can progressively climb back up the rest of the way. Texas came from 15 points down with 3 minutes left in the drunkest game of the weekend. Iowa State is tied for 1st in the conference, and Oklahoma is tied for last. Nothing else makes sense, so let’s try and rank these 10 teams before something else happens.
1. Texas (Last Week: 2, Beat Texas Tech 63-56 in OT)
Something about this doesn’t feel right, almost like there shouldn’t be a number 1 team in the rankings this week. Because Texas shouldn’t be rewarded or applauded for last weekend’s outcome. But we’re kind of left without a choice. Texas might be here by default, but on my personal “Texas is back, folks” meter is decidedly on “Not Back”.
2. Baylor (Last Week: 4, Beat Kansas 47-14)
Congrats to Dave Aranda for the first win of his head coaching career. Your running backs looked good. Now on to what I didn’t like, namely that Charlie Brewer changed numbers. When I checked in on the game and saw #5 at QB, I thought he was hurt again. How about a little heads up, eh Bears?
3. Oklahoma State (Last Week: 3, Beat West Virginia 27-13)
After grinding out a win with the backup QB and a balanced rushing attack, we have to ask the question: are the Cowboys a defensive juggernaut now? Through 2 games, Okie State is allowing a conference-best 10 points per game. That number should stay low with Kansas on the schedule this week, but while their offense is a mess, they at least have something to lean on.
4. Oklahoma (Last Week: 1, Lost to Kansas State 38-35)
What happened? One second it was 35-14 and Oklahoma was cruising. It all slipped away so fast. And Spencer Rattler? Not only did he throw a couple of back-breaking interceptions, he turned into a meme that can never be unseen.
Spencer Rattler looks like the creepy spider human toy of Sid's in Toy Story. pic.twitter.com/3qycc2vIFi— Andrew White (@Andrew_White5) September 26, 2020
5. Kansas State (Last Week: 8, Beat Oklahoma 38-35)
Let’s file this result away under “Things We Didn’t See Coming”. Kudos to Chris Klieman who apparently just has Lincoln Riley’s number. Skylar Thompson gutted out an injury to run for 3 touchdowns. K-State also has what looks like Darren Sproles reincarnated in Duece Vaughn. Texas Tech comes to town this weekend, so I guess we’ll know soon if the Wildcats have staying power or were a 1 hit wonder.
6. Iowa State (Last Week: 9, Beat TCU 37-34)
The Clones kept it uncomfortably close, but winning on the road in the conference is never easy. Plenty will be said about this one, but I don’t think Mike Rose’s game clinching interception can be talked about enough. That’s on the short list for best defensive play of the year, especially given the game situation.
MIKE ROSE WITH THE IMPROBABLE PICK! pic.twitter.com/XH9MrJCOUe— OutCYde the Lines (@OutCYdetheLines) September 26, 2020
Perhaps the offensive line has found a workable combo and Breece Hall can continue to cook. OU can certainly be run on. Saturday night at JTS should be a treat.
7. Texas Tech (Last Week: 7, Lost to Texas 63-56 in OT)
Oh what could have been. Instead, Tech lost in a game that was an epitome of their entire program. Tons of points, competitive in Lubbock, but ultimately not quite enough to win. I know it goes against conventional wisdom, but in the TV broadcast it was suggested that Matt Wells should’ve taken the ball first in overtime, and I tend to agree. And now a trip to Manhattan isn’t exactly what they need to right the ship.
8. West Virginia (Last Week: 5, Lost to Oklahoma State 27-13)
Tough one for the ‘Eers. Lost to a team that should be in the thick of the championship race in a game that was close, but they were never actually threatening to win. Baylor comes to Morgantown in a real “prove it” game for Neal Brown and his progress in year 2.
9. TCU (Last Week: 6, Lost to Iowa State 37-34)
Talk about a game with a misleading final score. It was back-and-forth with Iowa State for awhile, but with a gift-wrapped 7 points from Brock Purdy, and a more meaningful than thought last second touchdown, the Frogs should have some stuff to build on. One can’t help but think what if they stuck with Max Duggan from the start?
10. Kansas (Last Week: 10, Lost to Baylor 47-14)
The Mad Hatters have now been outscored 82-37 in their first 2 games, and with only Big 12 games left, 0-10 is a real possibility. We might be struggling to find nice things to say for awhile, but given the nature of the Big 12 in 2020, they are just as liable to get blown out by Oklahoma State as they are to pull an upset.