In the two months or so that we have published a weekly football power ranking of Big 12 teams this college football season, there have been few changes at the very top as well as at the very bottom of the league. That changes this week, with new entries at the very top and also at the back end of the conference.
After taking up residence at the top of the conference for most of the season, the previously unbeaten Baylor Bears, who have been cdestroying opponents all season long, rudely met their match before a primetime national TV audience at Oklahoma State on Saturday. Oklahoma State came out on fire and the Bears were unable to extinguish it, suffering the same beatdown that Baylor is used to administering on everyone else this season.
Although the 2013 championship trophy is not yet officially decided, the Cowboys of OSU are in the best poisition to come out on top. Although Oklahoma State must do to clinch the conference crown is to beat eight-time Big 12 champion Oklahoma a week from this Saturday.
Do that, and it’s all over. Because there are three teams with one loss currently, including Oklahoma State, both Texas and Baylor would have to win their final two games to claim a share of the league title. Only one of those two teams has a chance to win out, though, because the Longhorns and Bears meet in Waco the same day Oklahoma State entertains Bedlam archrival Oklahoma in Stillwater. If the Cowboys win over the Sooners, it won’t matter what happens in the Texas-Baylor season finale becasue Oklahoma State owns the tiebreaker with head-to-head wins over both teams.
So that’s the big picture heading into Thanksgiving week, which features four Big 12 games: Texas Tech at Texas, Baylor at TCU, Kansas Stat at Kansas in the annual Sunflower Showdown and Iowa State at West Virginia. The Texas Tech-Texas game is Thanksgiving night; the other three contests will be played on Saturday.
Later this week, I will preview the Baylor-TCU game as the Pick of the Week.
Big 12 Football Week 14 Power Rankings
(Last week’s rankings in parentheses)
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (2) – Don’t expect the Cowboys to look back after beating Baylor. The Cowboys have only a home date with Oklahoma between them and a second Big 12 championship in three seasons.
- Baylor Bears (1) – Every great team is entitled to a bad game. What the Bears do against their next two opponents – TCU and Texas – will define their season.
- Texas Longhorns (3) – The Longhorns can’t afford to overlook Texas Tech on Thanksgiving while looking ahead to season finale at Baylor.
- Oklahoma Sooners (4) – Just when everyone had counted out the Sooners, despite only having two losses, they came out all guns firing in picking up a big road win at Kansas State, their sixth in a row there under Bob Stoops
- Kansas State Wildcats (5) – Winning five of your final six games is a stong finish after losing four of your first six contests. We’re assuming a fairly easy victory over Sunflower State rival Kansas next Saturday.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (6) – Hopes to snap a four-game losing streak in the conference, but Texas stands in the way. A loss Saturday would drop the Red Raiders to 7-5 overall after beginning the season with seven straight wins.
- TCU Horned Frogs – It’s been a very disappointing season for a team that started out with such hig hopes as a conference contender. A season finale with Baylor, even it it is at home, is only going to add salt to the wound.
- West Virginia Mountaineers (8) – A disappointing season comes to a close vs. Iowa State on Saturday.
- Iowa State Cyclones (10) – Only the diehard Cyclone fans haven’t already turned their allegiance to basketball, where the winning prospects are considerably higher.
- Kansas Jayhawks (9) – The Jayhawks finally did win a league game after three years, but they likely won’t escape last place again.