KU comes in at No. 6 in final Big 12 power rankings

photo by: Carter Skaggs/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP

Kansas defensive lineman Tommy Dunn Jr. (92) celebrates after cornerback Cobee Bryant (2) intercepted a Cincinnati during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Cincinnati.

The Kansas football team came in at No. 6 in the final edition of the Big 12 Conference power rankings voted on by a panel of beat writers who cover the league.

Iowa State surged into fourth place ahead of both Kansas and Kansas State after beating the Wildcats in the Farmageddon rivalry game.

Texas, which remained at No. 1, and Oklahoma State, which comes in at No. 3 behind Oklahoma, will face off in the Big 12 championship game Saturday.

1. Texas

Previous ranking: 1

Points: 196 (14 first-places votes)

Record: 11-1 (8-1 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Texas Tech, 57-7

Next: vs. Oklahoma State in Big 12 championship game

Comment: The maligned Texas pass defense, which had allowed a 300-yard passer in four of its previous five games, gave up a season-low 88 yards passing and had three interceptions against Texas Tech.

Did you know? With its second largest margin of victory ever over Texas Tech, Texas secured a spot in the Big 12 title game for the first time since 2018 and will try and claim its first Big 12 title since 2009. – Thomas Jones, Austin American-Statesman

2. Oklahoma

Previous ranking: 2

Points: 176

Record: 10-2 (6-2 Big 12)

Last week: defeated TCU, 69-45

Next: Bowl game

Comment: The Sooners will try to find a new offensive coordinator after Jeff Lebby took the head coach job at Mississippi State. OU scored at least 66 points in three games this season, including 69 points against TCU in the regular-season finale.

Did you know? The last nine offensive coordinators since Bob Stoops’ first season in 1999 have ended up as FBS head coaches. — Eric Bailey, Tulsa World

3. Oklahoma State

Previous ranking: 4

Points: 174

Record: 9-3 (7-2 Big 12)

Last week: defeated BYU, 40-34 in double overtime

Next: vs. Texas in Big 12 championship game

Comment: The Cowboys overcame another ugly start, falling behind 24-6 by halftime before rallying for the double-overtime victory. The Cowboys will play in the Big 12 championship game for just the second time in program history, the first coming in 2021. OSU’s lone Big 12 title came in 2011, when the championship game was not in effect.

Did you know? OSU sophomore running back Ollie Gordon II became the nation’s first 1,500-yard rusher. His 166 yards moved him to 1,580 for the season. And his five rushing touchdowns matched OSU’s single-game record held by Barry Sanders, who accomplished it three times in his Heisman Trophy season of 1988. – Scott Wright, The Oklahoman

4. Iowa State

Previous ranking: 6

Points: 142

Record: 7-5 (6-3 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Kansas State, 42-35

Next: Bowl game

Comment: The Cyclones ran just two plays on the Wildcats’ side of the field last Saturday, yet still scored a decisive 42 points. Kansas State ran 102 plays to the Cyclones’ 35 and enjoyed a nearly 14-plus minute advantage in time of possession. Five of Iowa State’s six touchdowns spanned 50-plus yards.

Did you know? The Cyclones have cemented their sixth winning season since head coach Matt Campbell took over the program in 2016 — a streak unparalleled in program history. — Rob Gray, Cedar Rapids Gazette

5. Kansas State

Previous ranking: 3

Points: 128

Record: 8-4 (6-3 Big 12)

Last week: lost to Iowa State, 42-35

Next: Bowl game

Comment: All four of the Wildcats’ losses were by single digits this season, including a 42-35 heartbreaker in the snow against Iowa State on Saturday.

Did you know? The Avery Johnson era is already underway now that Will Howard has announced his intentions to transfer. – Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star

6. Kansas

Previous ranking: 5

Points: 127

Record: 8-4 (5-4 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Cincinnati, 49-16

Next: Bowl game

Comment: Jason Bean and the Jayhawks took out some frustration on the Bearcats after consecutive home losses and built momentum entering bowl season. Bean, returning to action following a head injury, accounted for 340 total yards and four touchdowns and generally vexed the Cincinnati defense practically every time he touched the ball.

Did you know? The 33-point margin is KU’s largest in a road conference win since 1980. — Henry Greenstein, Lawrence Journal-World

7. West Virginia

Previous ranking: 7

Points: 124

Record: 8-4 (6-3 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Baylor, 34-31

Next: Bowl game

Comment: In a season of weird games, West Virginia saved the weirdest for last. The Mountaineers gave up back-to-back kickoff return touchdowns at Baylor, played their worst football of the season in the second half and somehow mustered up just enough at the very end for a game-winning drive with 90 seconds left. It was that kind of year for Neal Brown and company.

Did you know? With the win at Baylor, WVU has reached eight wins for just the fourth time since joining the Big 12. It is just the third time since joining that the Mountaineers have won at least six conference games. – Cody Nespor, Morgantown Dominion Post

8. Texas Tech

Previous ranking: 8

Points: 95

Record: 6-6 (5-4 Big 12)

Last week: lost at No. 7 Texas, 57-7

Next: Bowl game

Comment: Just an unmitigated disaster of a season finale for the Red Raiders to close what was turning into a promising season. Now they must wait to see which bowl they’re headed to.

Did you know? The 57-7 loss to Texas was Texas Tech’s most lopsided defeat since succumbing to Iowa State 66-10 on Nov. 19, 2016. It was the worst loss in the series with Texas since 1999 (58-7). — Nathan Giese, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

9. UCF

Previous ranking: 10

Points: 85

Record: 6-6 (3-6 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Houston, 27-13

Next: Bowl game

Comment: UCF rallied from an early 10-6 first quarter to outscore Houston 21-3 through the final three quarters. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee scored 2 touchdowns and running back RJ Harvey rushed for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns to power the Knights. The defense held Houston to 75 yards and 4 first downs in the second half.

Did you know? RJ Harvey rushed for at least 100 yards in a game for the sixth time in the last seven games. He finished with 1,296 yards, the fourth-highest season total in school history. — Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

10. TCU

Previous ranking: 9

Points: 74

Record: 5-7 (3-6 Big 12)

Last week: lost at Oklahoma, 69-45

Comment: TCU’s season came to a disappointing end as the defense gave up over 600 yards and 60 points while Josh Hoover had another costly interception that was returned for a touchdown.

Did you know? TCU becomes just the third team to make the College Football Playoff in one season and miss a bowl game the next. – Steven Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

11. BYU

Previous ranking: 11

Points: 50

Record: 5-7 (2-7 Big 12)

Last week: lost to Oklahoma State, 40-34 in double overtime

Next: Season over

Comment: BYU had its first lead in five weeks on Saturday. It jumped out to an unlikely 24-6 start. But in the second half, BYU got conservative, and its defense wore down. Ollie Gordon and the Pokes ran all over BYU for five touchdowns and stormed back to punch their ticket to Arlington.

Did you know? BYU ended the season on a five-game losing streak. That hasn’t happened in Provo since 1955. – Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune

12. Houston

Previous ranking: 12

Points: 40

Record: 4-8 (2-7 Big 12)

Last week: lost at UCF, 27-13

Next: Season over

Comment: Saying the on-field results “fell below our standards of excellence,” Houston fired head coach Dana Holgorsen after a third losing season in the last five years. It was a decision that will cost the school a $14.8 million buyout. The offense was again a no-show against UCF, as the Cougars ended the season on a three-game losing streak and dropped five of the last six games. UH now begins the search for its fourth coach in the last nine years.

Did you know? UH’s 4-8 record was its worst for the first season in a conference since going 4-6 in the Lone Star Conference in 1946, the Cougars’ first year of playing football. – Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

T13. Baylor

Previous ranking: 14

Points: 25

Record: 3-9 (2-7 Big 12)

Last week: lost to West Virginia, 34-31

Next: Season over

Comment: It took until the second half of the final game for Baylor to finally play like the team Dave Aranda has been talking about all season. Led by backup quarterback Sawyer Robertson, the Bears scored 17 unanswered points to lead West Virginia late in the fourth quarter before the Mountaineers scored on the final drive. Baylor had a program record and NCAA-most eight games in Waco this season but finished the year 1-7 at home.

Did you know? Sophomore running back Richard Reese returned back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns in Saturday’s loss to West Virginia. He’s the first-ever Baylor player to return consecutive kickoffs for scores, and he’s the first Bear to have two kick return touchdowns in one game since Tresten Ebner did it against Kansas in 2020. — Zach Smith, Waco Tribune-Herald

T13. Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 13

Points: 25

Record: 3-9 (1-8 Big 12)

Last week: lost to Kansas, 49-16

Next: Season over

Comment: The Bearcats had a first quarter lead over Kansas at 3-0, but once the Jayhawks scored in the second they were in command, winning with ease 49-16. Jason Bean threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 90 yards and two more. Cincinnati got as close as 28-16 in the fourth quarter, but Bean had touchdown runs of 43 and 50 yards to put the game away.

Did you know? Cincinnati’s 3-9 finish is their first 3-win season since 1999 when they finished 3-8. Their last 9-loss season was the year before in 1998. — Scott Springer, Cincinnati Enquirer

photo by: Carter Skaggs/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP

Cincinnati safety Ken Willis (27) tackles Kansas wide receiver Luke Grimm (11) during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Cincinnati.


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