Saturday was the first day of Big 12 play for most teams, and while most of the games played out as expected, West Virginia made sure there was at least one upset as the Mountaineers improved to 3-1 on the year with a home win over Texas Tech — which came in as a touchdown favorite.
The start of league play wasn’t a warm welcome for the four newcomers (BYU, Houston, UCF, Cincinnati) as each of them are now 0-1 in Big 12 play.
After playing each other last week, TCU and Houston played non-conference games as the Horned Frogs took down SMU (34-17) and the Cougars handed Sam Houston it’s worst loss of the season (38-7).
So, how does the league stack up in this week’s Big 12 power rankings? Let’s take a look.
Week 4 Big 12 Power Rankings
|1. Texas (4-0, 1-0)|
|2. Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0)|
|3. Kansas (4-0, 1-0) ↑2|
|4. Kansas State (3-1, 1-0) ↑2|
|5. West Virginia (3-1, 1-0) ↑3|
|6. BYU (3-1, 1-0) ↓3|
|7. TCU (3-1, 1-0)|
|8. UCF (3-1, 1-0) ↓4|
|9. Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1)|
|10. Iowa State (2-2, 1-0) ↑2|
|11. Houston (2-2, 0-1) ↑3|
|12. Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1) ↑1|
|13. Texas Tech (1-3, 0-1) ↓2|
|14. Baylor (1-3, 0-1) ↓4|
No. 1 Texas (4-0)
Wins: No. 3 Alabama (34-24), Baylor (38-6), Wyoming (31-10), Rice (37-10)
Saturday’s road victory at Baylor was Texas’ most dominating win of the season so far as the Longhorns racked up more than 500 yards of total offense en route to a dominating 38-6 win.
Next up: vs. Kansas
No. 2 Oklahoma (4-0)
Wins: Cincinnati (20-6), SMU (28-11), Tulsa (66-17), Arkansas St. (73-0)
The Sooners got their first real test of the season as they traveled on the road to face a Cincinnati team looking to prove that they belong in the Big 12. While Oklahoma was able to move the ball with over 400 yards of total offense, it was the defensive that shined the brightest as the unit appears vastly better than what it was a year ago. Granted, Cincinnati isn’t the same NY6 team that they’ve been, however, it’s a great sign to see the defense well after such a disappointing season last year.
Next up: vs. Iowa State
No. 3 Kansas (4-0)
Wins: BYU (38-27), Nevada (31-24), Illinois (34-23), Missouri St. (48-17)
Having played one of the softest schedules (124th) in the country leading up to the BYU game, Saturday’s showdown was a true test to see if Kansas was a true contender or pretender in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks answered the call as they took down the Cougars 38-27 in front of a sold out crowd at Memorial Stadium. While Kansas is known for its offense, it was the defense that shined the brightest on Saturday with two touchdowns thanks to a pick-6 and a scoop-and-score.
Next up: @ Texas
No. 4 Kansas State (3-1, 1-0)
Wins: UCF (44-31), Troy (42-13), SE Missouri (45-0)
Losses: Missouri (30-27)
Kansas State bounced back from the last-second field goal against Missouri and followed it up with a 44-31 victory over Big 12 newcomer UCF. Kansas State running back DJ Giddens ran for a career-high 207 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to victory. The home win did come against a Knights team that was playing without starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, so the fact that the defense allowed 30+ points again is concerning. Luckily for the Wildcats the bye comes at a perfect time as they look to shore up the defense.
Next up: Bye
No. 5 West Virginia (3-1, 1-0)
Wins: Texas Tech (20-13), Pitt (17-6), Duquesne (56-17)
Losses: No. 7 Penn State (38-15)
West Virginia keeps climbing as the Mountaineers move up to No. 5 in this week’s power rankings. Many, including myself — sorry West Virginia fans — had the Mountaineers in the bottom of the Big 12. Instead, West Virginia is 3-1 with wins over Pitt and Texas Tech. Now comes the biggest test in a road game against a good TCU team that is on a three-game winning streak. Saturday’s game will give us a good idea of which team is a contender and which team is a pretender.
Next up: @TCU
No. 6 BYU (3-1, 0-1)
Wins: Arkansas (38-31), SUU (41-16), SHST (14-0)
Losses: Kansas (38-27)
Home sweet home! After back-to-back tough road games against Arkansas (38-31) and Kansas (27-38), the Cougars are glad to be back in Provo where they are 18-3 over the past 3.5 years. Friday’s game will mark the first Big 12 home game for the Cougars in what should be a raucous crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium to cheer on BYU against fellow Big 12 newcomer Cincinnati.
BYU played well against Kansas in what was a very winnable game. The Cougars contained the Jayhawks offense, however, two defensive touchdowns for Kansas was the difference as they held on to beat BYU at home. BYU’s offense is still struggling with the ground game, however, the passing attack by Kedon Slovis is starting to pickup. If the ground game can get the going, the Cougars will be scary.
Next up: vs. Cincinnati
No. 7 TCU (3-1, 1-0)
Wins: SMU (34-17), Houston (36-13), Nicholls (41-6)
Losses: Colorado (45-42)
Don’t look now but TCU is on a three-game winning streak after doubling up SMU (34-17) on Saturday. It was the 102nd meeting between both teams in one of the longest rivalries in college football. The rivalry isn’t scheduled beyond 2025 though and could be in jeopardy after the Mustangs accepted a spot to join the the ACC next year.
For TCU, after losing to Colorado in the first game of the season, which the Buffaloes turned out to be a better than expected, the Horned Frogs will get the next best test as they host West Virginia which is also on a three-game winning streak.
Next up: vs. West Virginia
No. 8 UCF (3-1, 0-1)
Wins: Boise State (18-16), Villanova (48-14), Kent State (56-6)
Losses: Kansas State (44-31)
Despite missing quarterback (John Rhys Plumlee), UCF’s offense continues to hold steady as the Knights racked up more than 400 yards of total offense against a good Kansas State team. Wide receiver Kobe Hudson continues to be the go-to target as the senior has a team-high 20 catches for 463 yards and two touchdowns. Hudson finished with 138 yards last week and recorded his third-straight 100-yard receiving game. Next up is a home game against Baylor in which UCF is favored by 10+ points.
Next up: vs. Baylor
No. 9 Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1)
Wins: Pitt (27-21), E. Kentucky (66-13)
Losses: No. 16 Oklahoma (20-6), Miami Ohio (31-24)
Cincinnati’s offense continues to struggle to score points, but luckily for fans, the Bearcats have another terrific defense that will keep them in games. That was on full display last week when Cincinnati held Oklahoma to just 20 points, well below their season average of 55 points per game so far this year. The issue for the Bearcats revolves around an offense that can move the ball, but not do anything with it.
Next up: @ BYU
No. 10 Iowa State (2-2, 0-1)
Wins: Oklahoma State (34-27), Northern Iowa (30-9)
Losses: No. 25 Iowa (20-13), Ohio (10-7)
In the first Big 12 game of the season, Iowa State’s offense came to life as the Cyclones scored a season-high 34 points in the win over Oklahoma State. Freshman quarterback Rocko Becht continues to look good as he completed 27 of 38 passes for three touchdowns and 348 yards to lead the team to victory. If the offense can keep it going, the Cyclones will have a chance at upsetting Oklahoma on Saturday.
Next up: @ Oklahoma
No. 11 Houston (2-2, 0-1)
Wins: Sam Houston (38-7), UTSA (17-14)
Losses: TCU (36-13), Rice (43-31)
Houston got its second win of the season in a 38-7 victory over Sam Houston. What’s actually impressive is that Sam Houston held BYU (3-1) and Air Force (4-0) to 14 and 13 points respectively. The fact that Houston put up 38 points is shocking, but it’s good to see the team have some life after back-to-back losses to Rica and TCU. Up next is a game against Texas Tech with the loser likely to be at the bottom next week.
Next up: @ Texas Tech
No. 12 Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1)
Wins: Arizona State (27-15), C. Arkansas (27-13)
Losses: Iowa State (34-27), South Alabama (33-7)
Not often does a team move up after losing, but that’s exactly what Oklahoma State did after a decent showing against Iowa State. This was good to see after an embarrassing blowout loss to South Alabama. It also helps Baylor has looked awful and Texas Tech’s only win so far this year is against an FCS team. The Cowboy’s haven’t looked good, but at least they have a P5 win and the offense appears to have some life with Alan Bowman taking all of the snaps now. Having said that, the Cowboys defense might be the worst in the Big 12 after giving up 33 to South Alabama and then 34 to lifeless Iowa State offense. Luckily Oklahoma State has a bye week so they can regroup.
Next up: Bye
No. 13 Texas Tech (1-3, 0-1)
Wins: Tarleton State (41-3)
Losses: No. 13 Oregon (38-30), West Virginia (20-13), Wyoming (35-33)
Texas Tech is 1-3 and it’s lone win so far this year is against an FCS team. The Red Raiders are nowhere close to being the darkhorse team (No. 4 in the preseason poll) that many expected them to be this year.
What makes it worse is that starting quarterback Tyler Shough suffered a fractured fibula and was carted off the field in the loss last week. A recovery timeline for Shough is not immediately clear, but it doesn’t look good for the Red Raiders. Typically that type of injury takes 6-8 weeks, which means he could miss most, if not all of the rest of the season.
Next up: vs. Houston
No. 14 Baylor (1-3, 0-1)
Wins: Long Island (30-7)
Losses: No. 3 Texas (38-6), No. 12 Utah (20-13), Texas State (42-31)
Rock bottom! There’s nothing going right for Baylor this year after another blowout loss at home. Starting quarterback Blake Shapen is injured and the offense and defense both stink. There’s certainly potential as evident by the Utah game that the Bears, but right now the wheels seem to be falling off. It’s remarkable how quickly the Bears they’ve fallen off after their Big 12 championship just two years ago.
Next up: @ UCF