The wild and wide-open Big 12 is finally dwindling to just a few who can compete for a conference championship. Baring absolute chaos, TCU will square off against one of three teams in Arlington, Texas on December 3rd. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the Big 12 week 11 power rankings are just filler. We have a team going bowling for the first time in 14 seasons! And all Big 12 teams have a conference win!
Big 12 Week 11 Power Rankings
10. West Virginia (Last Week: 9)
John Denver might be the musician most associated with West Virginia. But it was Willie Nelson who coined the phrase to describe the remaining three weeks of Mountaineer football. With two games remaining against current top-25 teams, and a home game with an improving Oklahoma team, West Virginia fans should probably shift their attention to basketball. If Neal Brown is still the coach next season, it will simply be a case of the school not wanting and/or couldn’t to afford his price buyout.
9. Iowa State (Last Week: 10)
It finally all came together, just like we thought it would. Iowa State was too good of a football team to remain winless in the Big 12. But they sure did try hard to stay there. The 31-14 victory of West Virginia ended a five-game losing streak for the Cyclones. Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell knows getting back to bowl eligibility won’t be easy. But the road tilt against Oklahoma State this week looks more and more manageable after the Cowboys’ last two performances.
8. Oklahoma (Last Week: 7)
Sooners’ head coach Brent Venables will likely secure their bowl eligibility this week against the lowly Mountaineers. Those extra practices will go a long way in turning this program back around. They played Baylor tough throughout, but couldn’t make enough game-deciding plays. The Sooners outgained the Bears 499-413 yards, but three interceptions were the difference in the game. A certain level of regression was expected this season for Oklahoma. But the lack of competitiveness in a few games has been alarming. A strong finish to the season can put those concerns to bed.
7. Texas Tech (Last Week: 6)
For three quarters, it looked like Texas Tech was going to take a big jump in the Big 12 week 11 power rankings. But instead, they just got TCU-ed. Starting quarterback Behren Morton, who left the game with an ankle injury, has already been ruled out for their upcoming game against Kansas. Head coach Joey McGuire will likely trot out his week one starter at quarterback Tyler Shough. This offense has struggled mightily for two straight weeks. The friendly confines of Jones At&t stadium will help this week. But if the offense can’t figure it out, bowl eligibility will escape the Red Raiders.
6. Oklahoma State (Last Week: 5)
The Pokes are in a bit of a free fall. Oklahoma State has now lost its last two games by a combined score of 85-16. Quarterback Spencer Sanders, who has been nicked up for weeks now, did not play in this game. But the reality is neither side of the ball is getting the job done right now for Mike Gundy’s team. A visit from one of the best defenses in the country this week is the anti-medicine the Pokes need. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys can pull themselves out of this spiral.
5. Kansas (Last Week: 8)
They did it, folks. The Kansas Jayhawks are bowl eligible. Print the shirts! Wait…they already did. All that talk about head coach Lance Leipold leaving for another job just needs to be muted. Not because he has said he is staying, but because this moment needs to be savored. And that savoring shouldn’t be limited to Jayhawk fans. This is one of the best stories of this college football season. Kansas has an opportunity to better its bowl prestige as it can absolutely beat any/all of its remaining opponents on their schedule.
4. Kansas State (Last Week: 2)
This conference needed an all-purple battle for the Big 12 title. If only to have an excuse to have “Purple Rain” played for a week straight. But instead, the Wildcats dropped a game that the Longhorns tried hard to give back to them. The 34-27 doesn’t shut the door on their Big 12 championship hopes completely. But they are no longer in control of their own destiny. A loss this week to Baylor will officially shut the door on the dark horse run by Chris Klieman’s squad.
3. Texas (Last Week: 4)
Texas is the best first-half team and worst second-half team in the Big 12. That isn’t based on pure numbers of points scored/yards gained/etc. It is a consistent theme that the Longhorns jump all over their opponent in the first half. All those talented skill position players pop on the screen and that scoreboard starts churning fast. But then, after halftime, the scoreboard and the offense come to a grinding halt. The defense seems to lack answers for the counterpunch by its opponents. But give Texas credit this week. They could have let it completely fall apart. And Texas teams of the last decade likely would have. But they made the defining play in the game to seal the victory.
2. Baylor (Last Week: 3)
In the last three games, Baylor has beaten its opponents by a combined score of 118-75. This team is getting hot at the exact right time of the season for a late push. The Baylor rushing attack has really started motoring. During that same three-game stretch, they are averaging 261.67 yards on the ground per game. It is clear that head coach Dave Arranda is very content with taking some of the air out of the ball and letting his defense stay fresh. Can the Bears climb all the way back to the top after stumbling to the worst team in the conference a month ago? They better not look past Kansas State this week if they hope to keep their winning streak intact heading into a massive matchup with TCU.
1. TCU (Last Week: 1)
TCU should be in the top four this week in the college football playoff rankings. There is no reason a 9-0 Power five team should be left out of the playoff positions with only four undefeated teams remaining across the land. The Horned Frogs really need wide receiver Quentin Johnston back this week against Texas. Texas Tech exposed this offense when their best playmaker is off the field. But a reminder; ugly wins are still better than “pretty” losses. Each week will be harder and harder for TCU to finish this season unscathed. But they have proven they are the resiliency and talent to do so all season.