KU tumbles and OSU soars in latest Big 12 power rankings

photo by: AP Photo/Mitch Alcala

Kansas's Daniel Hishaw Jr. (20) is tackled by Oklahoma State's Kendal Daniels (5) and Nickolas Martin (4) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.

On the strength of a 39-32 upset of No. 23 Kansas, Oklahoma State made the biggest move in this week’s Big 12 Conference power rankings. The Cowboys climbed six spots to fourth place in voting by a panel of 14 beat writers who regularly cover the league.

Meanwhile, KU had the biggest drop of the week, going from third to eighth.

Idle Oklahoma remained the unanimous No. 1 for the second consecutive week, while Texas was second.

After two weeks in the bottom spot, Houston – coming off a 41-39 win over West Virginia as time expired – moved up to 12th. Instead, Cincinnati finished last in this week’s rankings, one point behind fellow Big 12 newcomer UCF.

1. Oklahoma

Previous ranking: 1

Points: 196 (14 first-place votes)

Record: 6-0 (3-0 Big 12)

Last week: Open date

This week: vs. UCF

Comment: Oklahoma’s bye week came at an ideal point, after Week 6. Brent Venables mentioned that it’s allowed the team to recover both physically and mentally as it enters the back half of the regular season. The OU coach said this portion will be more grueling than the opening part.

Did you know? The Sooners lead the nation in turnover margin at plus-11. Oklahoma is also tied for second nationally with 12 interceptions. — Eric Bailey, Tulsa World

2. Texas

Previous ranking: 2

Points: 182

Record: 5-1 (2-1 Big 12)

Last week: Open date

This week: at Houston

Comment: Texas has moved the ball with ease between the 20s while averaging 486.5 yards a game, but fixing some red-zone woes was an open-week priority. For the season, the Longhorns have scored only 11 touchdowns on 24 trips into the red zone. None of the 132 other teams in the FBS has fewer touchdowns on as many red-zone trips.

Did you know? Saturday’s game at Houston will mark the first meeting between the former Southwest Conference rivals since 2002, when Texas beat the Cougars 41-11. The two teams competed in the SWC together from 1976 to 1995, when they played each other every year. – Thomas Jones, Austin American-Statesman

3. Kansas State

Previous ranking: 6

Points: 160

Record: 4-2 (2-1 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Texas Tech, 38-21

This week: vs. TCU

Comment: The Wildcats are in a good spot. Not only did they just win an important game at Texas Tech, but now they get to play TCU and Houston at home. If K-State takes care of business over the next two weeks, its game against Texas will have Big 12 championship implications.

Did you know? Avery Johnson tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns against Texas Tech. – Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star

4. Oklahoma State

Previous ranking: 10

Points: 138

Record: 4-2 (2-1 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Kansas, 39-32

This week: at West Virginia

Comment: With a defense that clamped down just in time, and an offense powered by blossoming star Ollie Gordon, the Cowboys rallied for a 39-32 win over No. 23 Kansas on Saturday. Gordon became the first OSU running back to surpass 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game since Gerald Hudson in 1989.

Did you know? Oklahoma State averaged 20.3 points and 321.7 yards per game while rotating three quarterbacks in non-conference play. With Alan Bowman as the sole QB against three Big 12 opponents, the Pokes are averaging 31.7 points and 458.3 yards per game. – Scott Wright, The Oklahoman

5. Iowa State

Previous ranking: 8

Points: 128

Record: 4-3 (3-1 Big 12)

Last week: defeated Cincinnati, 30-10

This week: Open date

Comment: The Cyclones have neither fumbled nor recovered a fumble this season, but they’re tied for second nationally in interceptions with 12. Sophomore safety Jeremiah Cooper has a Football Bowl Subdivision-leading five picks.

Did you know? Junior wide receiver Jayden Higgins racked up an Iowa State career-best 172 yards via the air in last week’s 30-10 win at Cincinnati, but it’s not his career-high performance in that regard. Higgins, a transfer from Eastern Kentucky, totaled 185 yards receiving in a game while playing for the Colonels. – Rob Gray, Cedar Rapids Gazette

6. TCU

Previous ranking: 9

Points: 115

Record: 4-3 (2-2 Big 12)

Last week: defeated BYU, 44-11

This week: at Kansas State

Comment: In his first start Josh Hoover put on a show by throwing for 439 yards and four touchdowns in a blowout victory over the Cougars that snapped a two-game losing streak.

Did you know? The TCU secondary has only allowed one passing touchdown in the last six games. – Steven Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

photo by: AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox

Houston wide receiver Stephon Johnson, right, beats West Virginia safety Marcis Floyd for a touchdown catch during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, in Houston.

7. West Virginia

Previous ranking: 4

Points: 114

Record: 4-2 (2-1 Big 12)

Last week: lost to Houston, 41-39

This week: vs. Oklahoma State

Comment: Lost in the stunning last-second loss to Houston was the fact that WVU’s offense had by far its best performance of the season. The Mountaineers put up 39 points and nearly 600 yards in the loss. This week’s game against Oklahoma State will be crucial for the team to turn the page and get its season back heading in the right direction.

Did you know? Garrett Greene’s 391 passing yards against Houston are the most by a WVU quarterback in a game since Will Grier threw for 539 against Oklahoma in 2018. – Cody Nespor, Morgantown Dominion Post

8. Kansas

Previous ranking: 3

Points: 98

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

Last week: lost to Oklahoma State, 39-32

This week: Open date

Comment: Jason Bean tossed five touchdowns to help KU earn a lead even as the Jayhawks struggled to contain OSU’s Ollie Gordon II. But Bean threw a pair of picks late and KU turned it over on downs twice more in crucial moments in what became a one-score loss.

Did you know? The Jayhawks struggled with point-after tries on Saturday. Using two separate kickers, in total they had two extra points blocked (one called back due to a defensive penalty) and one stymied by a bad hold, plus a failed two-point conversion attempt. — Henry Greenstein, Lawrence Journal-World

9. Texas Tech

Previous ranking: 7

Points: 79

Record: 3-4 (2-2 Big 12)

Last week: lost to Kansas State, 38-21

This week: at BYU

Comment: Bowl eligibility is now in question for the Red Raiders. If they don’t get the win at BYU next week, it might just be completely out of the question.

Did you know? Joey McGuire’s first two years as head coach have seen three quarterbacks needed because of injury. Freshman Jake Strong stepped in for Behren Morton in last week’s loss and could get his first start against BYU. As of Monday, Morton was considered a game-time decision against BYU. – Nathan Giese, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

10. BYU

Previous ranking: 5

Points: 74

Record: 4-2 (1-2 Big 12)

Last week: lost to TCU, 44-11

This week: vs. Texas Tech

Comment: Coming off a bye week, BYU was outclassed by TCU in nearly every way. The Cougars were out gained by 300 yards and down by 24 points in 22 minutes. It raises significant concerns about BYU’s speed and physicality in this new league. BYU is still yet to beat a tenured member of the Big 12 before it hosts Tech this week.

Did you know? Saturday was the second-worst loss of Kalani Sitake’s coaching tenure at BYU. You would have to go back to 2017 against Wisconsin, when the Cougars lost 40-6, to find a worse showing in the Sitake era. – Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune

11. Houston

Previous ranking: 14

Points: 54

Record: 3-3 (1-2 Big 12)

Last week: defeated West Virginia, 41-39

This week: vs. Texas

Comment: The first Big 12 win in school history came in incredible fashion as Houston’s Stephon Johnson grabbed a tipped ball on a Hail Mary (officially a 49-yard catch) as time expired to beat West Virginia. Next up is a matchup against bitter rival Texas. The two teams haven’t played since 2002 and, with the Longhorns set to join the Southeastern Conference, aren’t expected to meet in the foreseeable future. How big is the game to UH fans? “Just beat Texas,” coach Dana Holgorsen joked he’s been told by supporters. “You can go 1-11 and it’s OK if you beat Texas.”

Did you know? Saturday’s game will be the first sellout at 40,000-seat TDECU Stadium since Nov. 17, 2016, when Houston sacked eventual Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson 11 times in a 36-10 upset of third-ranked Louisville. — Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

12. Baylor

Previous ranking: 12

Points: 35

Record: 2-4 (1-2 Big 12)

Last week: Open date

This week: at Cincinnati

Comment: Offense has been a struggle for Baylor this season. Of the 130 FBS schools, the Bears rank 110th in scoring offense, 103rd in rushing offense and 60th in total offense. The lone bright spot has been the passing attack, which ranks 30th overall. Quarterback Blake Shapen has averaged more than 300 yards in three starts, while receiver Monaray Baldwin has 276 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.

Did you know? This will be the first meeting between Baylor and Big 12 newcomer Cincinnati. It will also be the Bears’ first game in the state of Ohio since losing at Ohio State in 1982. — Zach Smith, Waco Tribune-Herald

13. UCF

Previous ranking: 13

Points: 31

Record: 3-3 (0-3 Big 12)

Last week: Open date

This week: at Oklahoma

Comment: UCF is mired in its first three-game losing streak since the 2015 season. The Knights have been banged up and hope to have several key contributors back for their road contest at Oklahoma, including quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who has battled back from a knee injury that saw him miss three starts.

Did you know? OU quarterback Dillon Gabriel ranks fourth all-time at UCF in passing yards (8,037) and passing touchdowns (70). — Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

14. Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 11

Points: 30

Record: 2-4 (0-3 Big 12)

Last week: lost to Iowa State, 30-10

This week: vs. Baylor

Comment: For the first time all season, the Bearcats were outrushed, as Iowa State ran for 123 yards to UC’s 115. Quarterback Rocco Becht threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another as the Cyclones became the second team to outgain UC in total offense, 364-214.

Did you know? As with Iowa State, Cincinnati has never played Baylor in football. The Bearcats continue to struggle with touchdowns as Chamon Metayer’s first quarter reception from Emory Jones was the first Nippert Stadium touchdown since late in their loss to Miami University Sept. 16. UC led briefly 7-3 vs. Iowa State midway into the second quarter but was outscored 27-3 from there. — Scott Springer, Cincinnati Enquirer


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