College football’s regular season is already 25% complete. Last year’s impressions are quickly fading on what we collectively thought we knew about all of the Big 12 conference members. Conference play is quickly approaching for all teams, but which teams are positioned the best? Let’s take a look at the Big 12 week four power rankings.
Big 12 Week Four Power Rankings
10. West Virginia
The good news for West Virginia? The Mountaineers secured their first victory this past weekend. Offensively, the Mountaineers have shown they can fill up the scoreboard. And it turns out the Kansas loss is not looking as bad by the week. The bad news? The defense has 93 points in their two games against power five opponents. Neal Brown’s hot seat continues to warm, but his buyout situation could be a tricky one if West Virginia wants to move on from Brown.
What does anyone know about TCU? So far, the quarterback situation has yet to be truly resolved due to injuries. In terms of results, the Horned Frogs have beat up on the worst power five team this year in Colorado. Their only other game so far was a shellacking of lowly Tarleton State. TCU is one of those few programs that have a very early bye week in the season. It does set them up nicely with two weeks to prepare for the battle of the Iron Skillet. TCU has a shot to jump up the rankings quickly, but their lack of real data to judge them on keeps them near the bottom.
8. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders have already shown they have made strides early in Joey McGuire’s tenure. Specifically, the defense has been a pleasant surprise. They rank 28th nationally in total defense. And while their scoring defense only ranks 55th, their 22.33 points game allowed average would have been something Texas Tech fans would be jumped on. Especially given the extensive history of swiss cheese defenses, they are turning the tide on that side of the ball. The problem lies with the offense. So far, Zach Kittley’s offense has yet to have a great showing against an FBS opponent. Red Raider fans hope that will change this week with Texas coming to town.
7. Kansas State
The Wildcats have one of the best weapons in all of the conference in Deuce Vaughn. And, thanks to Tulane, they proved that is about all the Wildcats have on offense. Kansas State was coming off throttling Missouri with real momentum building on that darkhorse conference champion title they earned heading into the season. While the loss to the Green Wave has no impact on the Big 12 conference race, it did expose how limited the offense can be if an opposing defense is able to keep Vaughn from beating them. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Chris Klieman can make this week before traveling to Norman.
The Bears’ talent on both lines of scrimmage is undeniable. But in their one test against a power five opponent, the offense looked very “meh”. Quarterback Blake Shapen was supposed to help this offense reach new heights it couldn’t achieve under last year’s starter Gerry Bohanon. Just like Kanas State, the defending Big 12 champions still have everything in front of them in terms of repeating. They will get their first crack at it this coming Saturday at the team that sits one spot above them in the Big 12 week four power rankings.
5. Iowa State
When you are able to go on the road and defeat, not only your rival that you have failed to beat the previous six times, but do enough against one of the elite defensive units in college football, that grabs some attention. Matt Campbell finally got that Kirk Ferentz Hawkeye off of his back and secured the Cy-Hawk trophy. The game certainly wasn’t pretty, but it was a much-needed exorcism for Cyclone fans to purge the bad feelings of the last six years against their rivals. To date, they have the best win of the early season for the conference.
If anyone were to project the Big 12 week four power rankings before the season, I am confident in saying there would not be one person that would have selected the Kansas Jayhawks to be anywhere but last place. Yet, here we are, having to talk to family and friends about an undefeated Kansas football team. The Jayhawks are not propped up by three cupcake games either. They already have a road conference win under their belt and another road win against a Houston team that was viewed to be one of the favorites to win the AAC coming into the season. Their offense is fun and explosive. And if trying to process how quickly Lance Leipold’s turnaround has gone, try computing that Kansas needs to knock off 3-0 Duke to stay undefeated.
Texas is talented (on paper) folks. It has been for a while actually. But the Longhorns are showing real signs of finally playing like a top-tier team on a consistent basis. After the slow start against the Roadrunners, and having people checking if they needed to find the Longhorn Network, Texas put the hammer down in the second half. Bijan Robinson continues to show everyone why he is one of the best players in college football. It is also apparent that the ceiling of this Texas offense cannot be reached until quarterback Quinn Ewers is healthy. Texas does travel on the road for the first time this week to take on Texas Tech. If Texas wants to be in serious contention for the Big 12 title, they cannot stub their toe in Lubbock.
2. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have simply handled their business this year. Scores of 58-44, 34-14, and 63-7 reflect three games that never were ever in doubt. Spencer Sanders, a quarterback known for having a turnover-filled game or two, currently has a 10-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Mike Gundy’s team appears to still be tough defensively, but not nearly as dominant as it was last year. Early returns project a traditional Oklahoma State team that will need to out-score more teams to win than simply rely on the defense to shut a team down. Oklahoma State has a bye week this week before it opens Big 12 play on October 1st on the road against Baylor.
Sure, Oklahoma hasn’t played anyone with much of a pulse yet. The Sooners also looked pretty lifeless against Kent State for a half of football as well. But that is about the only thing to criticize the Sooners about. From the opening kickoff of the season, Oklahoma has been dominant on both sides of the ball. They were especially great this past weekend against a lowly Nebraska team. Oklahoma had every opportunity to let a reeling Cornhuskers team hand around. But they did what top 10-caliber teams do in a situation like that and leave no doubt on the road. With Kansas State next on the schedule, Oklahoma’s offense will get its stiffest test yet from the Wildcat defense.