Week two was somewhat disappointing for the Big 12 Conference as a whole. Nationally, there’s talk of the conference being the undoubted weakest link in the Power Five conferences. These first few non-conference games should be tune ups, almost like scrimmages for the Big 12 to prepare for the tough conference schedule. Also, a way to build team confidence while making a pretty penny doing it. Texas continued its dominance, while Oklahoma State slipped up in controversial fashion.
Power rankings following week two:
Last week is where we all saw Texas shock the college football world by defeating Notre Dame. This week, they handled business against in-state opponent UTEP. Granted, the Miners aren’t near the team Texas played last week, but Texas won in dominating fashion. In addition to that, the same things mentioned last week that looked good, looked good this week. Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele looked like the undoubted starting quarterback after completing 22-of-27 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Also, proving that he can be a dominant force in the conference by displaying his mobility, rushing 11 times for 50 yards which made him the second leading rusher. Defensively, they looked just as good or better, only allowing 74 passing yards. Another test will come this weekend against California (1-1).
The Sooners are back at the top of the league after a lopsided 59-17 win over Louisiana-Monroe, which wasn’t even that close. Although Monroe isn’t considered to be much of a competition for the Sooners, a loss versus a now top 10 team in Houston holds less weight than a loss to a weak non-conference opponent. It’s clear that Oklahoma is an elite team in the Big 12. Things that looked suspect against Houston didn’t this week. That obviously may be due to the lack of competition, though. Baker Mayfield completed 14-of-20 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns and Austin Kendall completed 12-of-15 passes for 108 yards for two touchdowns of his own. Walk-on freshman Nick Basquine showed some of his suspected potential from the offseason, with three receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. Joe Mixon also reminded Sooner fans what he’s capable of after rushing for 125 yards for 14 touchdowns. Semaje Perine didn’t get as many carries, with only 10 but picked up 50 yards and scored two touchdowns. Honestly, this week wasn’t a great gauge of what the Sooners can do, but next week should be a clear indication of what this Sooner team will be, as they host the No. 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Oklahoma made a huge jump in the standings only because of the Big 12’s poor showing in week two.
The Baylor Bears moved up in the rankings because they played a solid opponent in SMU. They controlled the game and handled business after winning 40-13. Seth Russell had a good game as expected, throwing for 261 yards on 26-of-47 passing. The only red flag there is that he threw two interceptions. The Oklahoma State loss really helped the Bears in this week’s power rankings too. Next week should be another easy win against another sub-par non-conference opponent in Rice.
4. West Virginia
Following a solid win over Missouri, the Mountaineers played a team in Youngstown State that they should’ve blown out, or at least defeated with absolutely no problems. Giving up 31 points to this team places some concern moving forward, but the deserve to stay in the same spot as last week. Skylar Howard continues to prove how elite he is through the air after throwing for 389 yards on 20-of-33 passing and five touchdowns. This guy could really present a problem for the Big 12 this year, especially if the defense improves in the next couple of weeks.
Week one was a disaster for TCU although they won. Being a member of an elite conference and allowing 41 points from South Dakota State is inexcusable. In week two, the defense didn’t look great, but it looked better in a loss to Arkansas. They improved in the power rankings because of that, but even though Arkansas is a SEC team, they were unranked and TCU was No. 12. They lost to an inferior team and that won’t be forgotten if they don’t beat Iowa State convincingly next week.
6. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys may have had the easiest two games of the season in the conference…and they lost one. Regardless of the controversy, the Cowboys would’ve dropped significantly in the power rankings due to them struggling against Central Michigan, a team everyone expected Oklahoma State to blow out. They ended up losing 30-27 due to a misinterpretation of the NCAA rules by the officials, who were suspended following the game. With that being said, Oklahoma State can redeem themselves with a big win over Pittsburg at home. Although a playoff appearance looks unlikely at this point, the Cowboys could still win the Big 12 Conference by going undefeated through the remainder of the season.
7. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders dropped this far only because of two things; they gave up 68 points to Arizona State after still scoring 55, and they lost. It’s clear that this team doesn’t have any issues offensively, where they may be the best in the conference, but their defense is so poor that they could easily lose more games than they win. Especially facing teams like Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas and West Virginia. On a positive note, Patrick Mahomes threw for 540 yards and WR Cameron Batson pulled in nine catches for 148 yards and one touchdown. Next week they play a Louisiana Tech team that they should beat, but with this defense looking they way it does, who knows.
The rest of the pack:
8. Kansas State
10. Iowa State