With Oklahoma and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC and with BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston replacing them, I thought it would be fun to create a power rankings based on the future/new-look conference.
Excluding Texas and Oklahoma, and adding in the future newcomers — BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston — the soon-to-be new-look Big 12 is an impressive 39-15 through the first five weeks of the college football season, including a 31-7 record in non-conference play.
Kansas State opened the season with a win over Stanford and that win is more impressive each day as the Cardinal have beaten the Pac-12’s most prestigious programs in then-No. 14 USC and then-No. 3 Oregon. Cincinnati went on the road Saturday and beat then-No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 13 BYU opened the season with three consecutive Pac-12 wins, including ranked wins over then-No. 21 Utah and then-No. 19 Arizona State. Looking at the original Big 12, there is more parity than ever before. Every team, except Kansas, sorry Jayhawk fans, has a chance to win on any given Saturday.
Note: The power rankings do not care about what teams did last year. This ranking is based on what teams have done this year, who they’ve played, where they played, and how they’ve looked this year.
So without further ado, here it goes:
New-Look Big 12 Power Rankings
1) Cincinnati (4-0) — Facing its biggest test so far this season, No. 7 Cincinnati went on the road and beat Notre Dame 24-13. QB Desmond Ridder threw two touchdown passes and ran for score late in the fourth as the Bearcats earned one of the biggest wins in program history. No team from outside the P5 has been invited to the College Football Playoff, but this year could finally be the year.
2) BYU (5-0) — Like Cincinnati, the Cougars are also in the mix for a College Football Playoff spot should the Cougars run the table and finish the season undefeated. BYU has a P5 schedule and if teams above them continue to fall, the Cougars will continue to move up. Saturday’s nationally televised game (ABC) against Boise State will be a big one as BYU looks to make another statement.
3) Oklahoma State (5-0) — After opening the season with two cupcake wins, I wasn’t sure what to make of Oklahoma State. However, with a road win over Boise State and ranked wins over then-No. 25 Kansas State and then-No. 21 Baylor, the Cowboys look like the real deal. Running back Jaylen Warren has been terrific so far this season as the senior has averaged more than 150 yards over the last three games.
4) Baylor (4-1) — Just like Oklahoma State, I was skeptical of Baylor as the Bears opened the season with wins over inferior teams. However, a win over then-No. 14 Iowa State showed the Bears are legit. Unfortunately, Baylor couldn’t keep the momentum going as they went on the road and lost 24-14 to Oklahoma State. It was a close game between both teams as the Cowboys needed a touchdown with less than two minutes to go to pull away.
5) Texas Tech (4-1) — It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Red Raiders so far this year. After beating Houston to open the season, Texas Tech gave up 70 points in a loss to Texas. The Red Raiders bounced back last week with a win over West Virginia. We’ll see where they stand after a matchup against TCU this weekend.
6) Iowa State (3-2) — After starting the season with a Top 10 ranking, Iowa State hasn’t lived up to the hype (no surprise here). The Cyclones already have two losses and barely beat Northern Iowa in the season opener (16-10). Offensively, Iowa State looks like a mess and if they don’t get things figured out soon, it’s going to be a long season.
7) Kansas State (3-2) — The Wildcats might be the best two-loss team in the country. Kansas State has wins over several solid teams (Stanford and Nevada) and came up just short in losses to Oklahoma (37-31) and Oklahoma State (31-20). The Wildcats have done this with starting QB Skylar Thompson in and out of the lineup this season. When he plays, the team is solid, but when he’s out, the Wildcats don’t have much of an offense.
8) Houston (4-1) — It’s hard to tell just how good/bad this Houston team is. The Cougars are 4-1, however, they got whooped by Texas Tech (38-21) to open the season and have beat up on some really bad teams (Rice, Grambling State, Navy and Tulsa). The Cougars face No. 24 SMU in a couple weeks which will likely determine who will play in the AAC championship game against Cincinnati.
9) UCF (2-2) — After beating Boise State to open the season, UCF lost its second consecutive game and did so in heartbreaking fashion as the Knights blew a 13 point lead in the fourth quarter. The icing on the cake was that the loss was to a Navy team that picked up it first win of the season. UCF freshman QB Mikey Keene, who made his first career start in place of the injured Dillon Gabriel, completed 16-of-26 passes for 178 yards and two TDs. With Houston beating Navy and UCF losing to the Midshipmen, I put the Knights behind the Cougars.
10) TCU (2-2) — The Horned Frogs have just one good win this season (Cal) and will look to get its biggest win of the season so far against Texas Tech.
11) West Virginia (2-3) — The Mountaineers suffered another agonizing defeat as West Virginia fell 23-20 to Texas Tech on Saturday. It was the second consecutive week that the Mountaineers lost by a field goal after falling at Oklahoma (16-13) the prior week.
12) Kansas (1-4) — Well… this was an easy one. The Jayhawks are giving up 55 points per game in their last two outings and will likely give up that much again as the Jayhawks go up against Texas Tech in two weeks.