Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 6

Written By: Andrew Sheridan

Image Credit: The Oklahoman | USA Today Network

The third week of Big 12 action brought us one of the games of the season in the Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas as a winner wasn’t decided until FOUR OVERTIMES! Elsewhere in Texas, Kansas State traveled to Amon G. Carter Stadium and left with a victory behind true-freshman quarterback Will Howard and true-freshman running back Deuce Vaughn. Finally, up north in Ames, Breece Hall and the Cyclones handled a defeated-looking Texas Tech team. Only two Big 12 teams are in play this coming weekend as the Baylor/Oklahoma State game was postponed to December due to a COVID outbreak within the Baylor squad.

10) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-3 (0-2) | Last Week: #10

Image Credit: KU Football

Last Game: vs. Oklahoma State, 7-47 L

The Jayhawks had a bye week this past weekend, and it came at just the right time. As a unit, Kansas has been in shambles this season with, unfortunately, a less than positive outlook on the remainder of the season. Les Miles is currently in isolation after testing positive for the Coronavirus last week. In Kansas’ most recent game, they were manhandled by Oklahoma State in Lawrence. Defensive coverages were blown left and right, nor could their rush defense do any work on that front either. So far in Big 12 play, Kansas has scored just 21 points while allowing 94 points on defense. In the next five games, the Jayhawks travel to West Virginia, travel an hour down the road to K-State, host Iowa State, travel to Norman, and host Texas. The future isn’t looking too promising for the Jayhawks. Unless KU can pull off a miraculous upset, expect the Jayhawks to go 0-5 in their upcoming slate.

Next Game: @ West Virginia – Oct. 17 | 11:00 AM | FOX

9) Texas Tech Red Raiders | 1-3 (0-3) | Last Week: #9

Image Credit: Brian Powers | USA Today Sports

Last Game: @ Iowa State, 15-31 L

Texas Tech looked lifeless last weekend. Simply put – the Red Raiders did not compete in their game against the Cyclones. More specifically, the offense did not compete. The defense, for the most part, was able to hold their own, but when the defense is on the field for 40 of the 60 minutes of the game, legs get tired and points are bound to be scored. The Red Raider offense was only able to muster 270 total yards with only 58 of those being rushing yards. Quarterback play was inconsistent as Matt Wells couldn’t quite figure out who he wanted taking the snaps. He seems to have decided on his man at this point, as earlier this week, Wells announced Henry Colombi would be starting against West Virginia in two weeks. For now though, Tech is on a much-needed bye week in hopes of finding their offensive form before hosting the Mountaineers.

Next Game: vs. West Virginia – Oct. 24 | 4:30 PM

8) Texas Longhorns | 2-2 (1-2) | Last Week: #5

Image Credit: Longhorns Wire | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Oklahoma, 45-53 (4OT) L

 Texas is now 10-7 since Sam Ehlinger declared “WE’RE BAAACCCKKKK!” after defeating Georgia in the 2018-2019 AllState Sugar Bowl. Needless to say, Texas is not back. The 2020 edition of the Red River Shootout was one to remember after Texas rallied from 14 down with three minutes remaining to send the game to not one, not two, not three, but four overtimes! Ehlinger seemingly saved the Longhorn offense in many instances with his legs as he led Texas with 23 carries for 112 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ehlinger had a mediocre day through the air as he threw for 2 touchdowns but also threw 2 interceptions, both of which were in the endzone. Texas has a talented and resilient team, but they simply can’t put everything together they need to be successful. Tom Herman and his staff need to find an answer for the Longhorns soon or they could find themselves looking for a job elsewhere. Texas’ schedule doesn’t get any easier from here as they host Baylor in 2 weekends followed by a trip to Stillwater to face a Top 10 Oklahoma State team.

Next Game: vs. Baylor – Oct. 24 | 2:30 PM | ESPN

7) TCU Horned Frogs | 1-2 (1-2) | Last Week: #4

Image Credit: Richard W. Rodriguez | AP Photo

Last Game: vs. Kansas State, 14-21 L

I’m not sure what was uglier: TCU’s offense or TCU’s uniforms. Only one week removed from upsetting a then Top 10 Texas team, the Horned Frogs returned home to manage only 14 points against an under-manned Kansas State team. The problem wasn’t that TCU couldn’t move the ball either because they pulled off over 50 more total yards than the Wildcats did, but they strongly lacked the ability to finish their drives. TCU had six offensive drives where they gained at least 30 yards; however, only two of those drives resulted in points. A big part of the problem with the TCU offense was the offensive line. The offensive line struggled the entire day against typical three or four man rushes from the Wildcats. K-State managed 3 sacks on the day with 6 tackles for loss and 2 QB hurries. From watching the game, it sure seemed like a lot more than that, but regardless, it gave Max Duggan and the TCU offense fits. Matthew Downing threw an interception mid-3rd quarter to AJ Parker that was returned for a touchdown which ended up being the difference in the game. TCU will need to find their offensive groove again when they host the Sooners in a week if they hope to get back to .500 in the Big 12.

Next Game: vs. Oklahoma – Oct. 24 | 11:00 AM | ABC

6) Baylor Bears | 1-1 (1-1) | Last Week: #7

Image Credit: William Wotring | The Dominion Post via AP

Last Game: vs. West Virginia, 21-27 (2OT) L

Two games into the season for Baylor, nobody really knows what to expect from this team quite yet. Their opener looked promising against Kansas as they put up 47 while only allowed 14, but then again, it’s Kansas. Game two was less than ideal for the Bears as Baylor struggled with turnovers and rushing the ball. Baylor only ran for 27 yards on the game on 33 attempts. That’s less than a yard per rush. Yikes. Charlie Brewer threw for 3 touchdowns but more or less negated those touchdowns with two crucial interceptions, including one on the first play of the second overtime. Baylor had a scheduled BYE last weekend and now has another this weekend as the Bears struggle with a Coronavirus outbreak within the team. If the games go on as planned, Baylor travels to Texas for their next test, where Dave Aranda hopes to get his team back on track.

Next Game: @ Texas – Oct. 24 | 2:30 PM | ESPN

5) Oklahoma Sooners | 2-2 (1-2) | Last Week: #8

Image Credit: Andrew Dieb | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Texas, 53-45 (4OT) W

Oklahoma was up by 14 points with five minutes remaining when Oklahoma DB Woodi Washington intercepted Sam Ehlinger in the endzone. From there, the game seemed all but over as the Sooner offense trotted back onto the field to hopefully close the game off. Unfortunately, Oklahoma held the ball for a mere 24 seconds before punting the ball back to Texas. Only four minutes later, Texas scored their second touchdown in as many minutes to tie the game at 31. Oklahoma would manage to hold on after four overtimes when Tre Brown intercepted Sam Ehlinger on 4th down to make the game final. Oklahoma had the same issue they have faced all season – they find themselves with a sizable lead and they let their opponent back into the game! FINISH! You have to FINISH, Oklahoma! The Sooners hope to fare better in their next 3 games as they travel to TCU and Tech followed by a home game against Kansas. Win all three of those games and the Sooners will keep any hope at another Big 12 Championship alive.

Next Game: @ TCU – Oct. 24 | 11:00 AM | ABC

4) West Virginia Mountaineers | 2-1 (1-1) | Last Week: #6

Image Credit: Ben Queen | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Baylor, 27-21 (2OT) W

West Virginia nearly lost their matchup with Baylor thanks to their own player tackling their punt returner, setting up a muff and Baylor recovery. Luckily, the Mountaineers defense was able to keep Baylor from scoring any points on the following drive, stopping a 4th down Gerry Bohanon run on their own 1 yard line. The West Virginia defense forced the turnovers when it counted and won the game because of it. Jarret Doege had a big day throwing the ball, but was not able to capitalize on that when it came to points, only throwing for 1 touchdown on the day. West Virginia was on BYE this past week but plays host to Kansas this weekend in the Big 12’s only matchup of the week. Hopefully we will learn more about this West Virginia team after this week, but with the opponent being Kansas, we should expect an easy win for the Mountaineers. As of now, West Virginia has put themselves in a great position to make a run for Top 4 of the Big 12 this season.

Next Game: vs. Kansas – Oct. 17 | 11:00 AM | FOX

3) Iowa State Cyclones | 3-1 (3-0) | Last Week: #3

Image Credit: Brian Powers | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Texas Tech, 31-15 W

Brock Purdy finally looked like the quarterback everybody had been talking about before this season started last weekend after throwing for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brock Purdy though, wasn’t the story of the day, but it was once again Sophomore running back Breece Hall. Hall had another monster game rushing for 135 yards on 27 carries. He added another 2 touchdowns to his tally bringing his season total to 8. The Cyclones looked absolutely dominant in this game, controlling every aspect from start to finish. Iowa State possessed the ball for over 40 minutes! Army Football is a big fan of that last sentence. The defense looked composed as ever, only allowing 7 points through the first 55 minutes of the game. Iowa State is now off to an impressive 3-0 start in Big 12 play after initially falling to Louisiana in the season opener. However, the Cyclones travel to Stillwater to face a tough Oklahoma State team in 2 weekends. Looking ahead, that game could play a large factor in the Big 12 Championship stakes.

Next Game: @ Oklahoma State – Oct. 24 | 2:30 PM | FOX

2) Kansas State Wildcats | 3-1 (3-0) | Last Week: #2

Image Credit: Matthew Pearce | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last Game: @ TCU, 21-14 W

True freshman Will Howard is the very first K-State FR QB to win their first away start in school history. K-State was also led by true-freshman RB Deuce Vaughn as he ran for 43 yards and caught one pass for 45 yards. Throughout the game, the K-State offense looked pretty ineffective as they constantly struggled to move the ball down the field. Will Howard’s 80 yard run was one of the exceptions to this on the day. The story of the day though was the Kansas State defense which time and time again stifled the TCU offense. K-State’s defensive line put constant pressure on the Horned Frog backfield forcing poor throws throughout the day. AJ Parker picked off Matthew Downing in the 3rd quarter and returned it for a touchdown to extend the K-State lead to 21-7. Once again, the Wildcats’ special teams squad made a big difference in the game as a field goal attempt to end the first half was blocked by Wyatt Hubert. That brings K-State to now 4 blocked kicks on the season through 4 games. Blake Lynch also played well, kicking 2 for 3 with both makes coming from past 50 yards. K-State hosts Kansas in their next game before traveling to Morgantown. If Will Howard can find his footing (pun intended thanks to the turf monster at TCU) as K-State’s new starting quarterback, K-State could enter November 7 against Oklahoma State 5-0 in Big 12 play.

Next Game: vs. Kansas – Oct. 24 | 11:00 AM | FS1

1) Oklahoma State Cowboys | 2-0 (1-0) | Last Week: #1

Image Credit: Jay Biggerstaff | USA Today Sports

Last Game: @ Kansas, 47-7 W

Our top-ranked Cowboys had a BYE last week, and they do again this week after Baylor had to postpone to December due to a lack of available players. Oklahoma State now as two weeks of rest and preparation to prepare for hosting the Cyclones. With still no guarantee of Spencer Sanders’ return, Oklahoma State will continue to look to freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth as their guy for the time being. Illingworth has played well with his opportunities so far this season, throwing for 483 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. He doesn’t really have the legs, but that can have a pass when you have Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown in your backfield with you. Something not talked about as much as it probably should be with this team is the defense. So far, the Oklahoma State defense has only allowed 27 points through three games while forcing 3 turnovers and 12 sacks. Oklahoma State hopes to protect their unblemished record as they head into likely the toughest stretch of the season. The next four games for the Cowboys see them host Iowa State and Texas and then travel on the road to K-State and Oklahoma.

Next Game: vs. Iowa State – Oct. 24 | 2:30 PM | FOX

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in our Big 12 forum at HERE.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 3

By Andrew Sheridan, @SidelinesKState

Image Credit: David Stacy | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big 12 returned this past weekend in full force as all ten teams took the field for the first time in the same weekend this season. Coming off of two questionable weeks of non-conference play, conference-play started with a bang as the #3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners fell at the hands of K-State for the second straight season, this time in Norman. I mean, what more could you ask for to start a wild season in a wild conference? Elsewhere around the Big 12, Iowa State took care of business as they gave a visit to TCU in Ft. Worth. Max Duggan saw the field in the second half of that game, but wasn’t able to produce quite enough to make the difference the Horned Frogs needed. In Stillwater, the Cowboys handed West Virginia their first loss of the season as Shane Illingworth grabbed his first start at QB for Oklahoma State. Further south, Texas traveled to the land of tortillas where they were upse… wait, Tech blew their 15 point lead with two minutes to go? Seriously?! Alright, let’s try this again. Further south, Texas traveled to the land of tortillas and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat coming back from 15 down to grab the win in overtime! Finally, in Waco, Baylor opened their season against a FCS squ… hold on a minute. Baylor played Kansas. So yeah, Baylor opened their season against a FCS squad and handled them to start with a win.

10) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-2 (0-1) | Last Week: 8/8

Image Credit: Jerry Larson | Waco Tribune Herald via AP

Last Game: @ Baylor, 14-47 L

To nobody’s surprise, Kansas lands in last place once again. The Jayhawks were able to score first against the Bears but weren’t able to find the endzone again until mid-fourth quarter, but by that time, Baylor had already scored forty straight points. Pooka Williams scored both of the Jayhawks’ touchdowns on a pair of runs that went for 16 and 21 yards. Outside of those runs/scores, Pooka only carried the ball twelve other times for a combined 39 yards. Once again, the Kansas coaching staff failed to utilize their strongest asset in Pooka Williams as much as they should have. Pooka only received 12 carries in game one which he turned into 67 yards. Kansas will need to rely more on Pooka throughout the season if they hope to have more success on offense. Defensively, the Jayhawks looked mediocre at best as Charlie Brewer and Co. went for 34 points offensively. Finally, the Kansas special teams unit needs lots of work as they allowed two returns for touchdowns this past weekend. Kansas must improve all the way around if they have any hope at even winning a game throughout the season.

Next Game: vs. #17 Oklahoma State – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | ESPN

9) West Virginia Mountaineers | 1-1 (0-1) | Last Week: 3/8

Image Credit: WVU Football

Last Game: @ Oklahoma State, 13-27 L

West Virginia opened their Big 12 slate with a loss to Oklahoma State for the 6th straight year. Relatively, the Mountaineers kept the score pretty close. The offense was able to move the ball but unfortunately had difficulty pointing points on the board. The Mountaineers actually outgained the Cowboys and won the game in nearly every category except rushing yards and the most important category: points scored. Jarret Doege tossed the ball around nicely for the Mountaineers accounting for 285 yards through the air and a touchdown. Running back Leddie Brown also surpassed the 100 yard mark for the 2nd straight game as he rushed for 104 yards. The Mountaineer defense showed a heavy weakness when it came to defending the run. West Virginia allowed 203 yards on the ground on Saturday with 103 of those yards coming from LD Brown including a 66-yard TD run in the second quarter. Chuba Hubbard tacked on another 101 yards for the Cowboys. West Virginia will need to improve all around as a team if they hope to compete with a strong-looking Baylor team who just whipped Kansas to start their season.

Next Game: vs. Baylor – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM

8) TCU | 0-1 (0-1) | Last Week: Unranked

Image Credit: Brandon Wade | AP

Last Game: vs. Iowa State, 34-37 L

TCU with Max Duggan versus TCU without Max Duggan are two entirely different teams. QB Matthew Downing started the game for the Horned Frogs and while he didn’t necessarily have a bad game, he didn’t look great either. Downing threw for 159 yards on 21 attempts while only connecting on 11 of those. Downing also finished the game with 11 carries for -1 yard, so that’s not great. Despite a very mediocre offensive performance in the first half, TCU only entered the half down nine to the Cyclones. Max Duggan took over the Horned Frog offense in the second half. Almost immediately, the offense flowed better and simply looked more comfortable. Duggan finished with 241 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception on 19 attempts. Unfortunately for the offense, the defense wasn’t able to secure the same momentum and allowed three scores in the second half. On the bright side, Brock Purdy did have a great toss straight to La’Kendrick Van Zandt for a 24 yard fumble return. TCU travels to Austin to take on the Longhorns next weekend in what should be a fantastic duel between Sam Ehlinger and Max Duggan.

Next Game: @ #9 Texas – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM | FOX

7) Texas Tech | 1-1 (0-1) | Last Week: 7/8

Image Credit: John E. Moore III | Getty Images

Last Game: vs. Texas, 56-63(OT) L

To be completely honest with you, I thought there was no way Texas Tech would even remotely compete in this game following the performance we saw against Houston Baptist. However, I am happy to admit that I was very wrong. Texas Tech should have won this game, but a ferocious 15 point comeback by the Longhorns with two minutes remaining took away the opportunity for the Red Raiders to start 2-0 and 1-0 in conference play. Once again, Texas Tech’s downfall was their defense, who allowed 63 points as well as 262 passing yards and 214 rushing yards. Tech also had issues with turnovers as Alan Bowman threw 3 interceptions, including a crucial interception just before halftime that led to a Texas touchdown. Despite the three interceptions, Alan Bowman still had a great game as he threw for over 330 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tech RB SaRodorick Thompson ran for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns to help the Red Raider offense put up 56 on the Longhorn defense. Texas Tech travels to Manhattan this week to face a K-State team coming off their first AP Top 3 road win in school history.

Next Game: @ Kansas State – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | FS1

6) Iowa State | 1-1 (1-0) | Last Week: 6/8

Image Credit: Tim Heitman | USA Today Sports

Last Game: @ Baylor, 14-47 L

Two weeks following a disappointing season-opening loss to Louisiana, Iowa State began Big 12 play with a hard-fought victory over TCU. Offensively, Iowa State looked settled behind veteran QB Brock Purdy and breakout RB Breece Hall. Hall had a fantastic game as he ran for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 18 carries. Brock Purdy threw for 211 yards and a touchdown with only 5 incompletions but did toss a fumble straight to a TCU defender resulting in a Horned Frog touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cyclones looked shaky, especially in the second half when Max Duggan entered the game, as they allowed 400 passing yards. Iowa State’s rush defense did well though as they only allowed 99 yards on 44 attempts, resulting in about 2.3 yards per carry. Iowa State did enough to grab their first victory of the season, but will need to put together a stronger performance next week as they host an angry Oklahoma team if they hope to grab win number two.

Next Game: vs. #18 Oklahoma – Oct. 3 | 6:30 PM | ABC

5) Oklahoma Sooners | 1-1 (0-1) | Last Week: 2/8

Image Credit: Sue Ogrocki

Last Game: vs. Kansas State, 35-38 L

What is it about Chris Klieman and K-State? For the second straight year, Oklahoma was out-coached and outplayed by the Wildcats. Last season, K-State jumped to a big lead in the second half and the Sooners nearly made the comeback only to fall short on a controversial onside kick. This season, the Sooners looked to be easily in control leading by as much as 21 with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter. So what happened? Spencer Rattler looked strong and comfortable to start the game, throwing 17/19, 181 yards, and 3 touchdowns in the first half. He looked a bit uncomfortable as K-State put more pressure on him which caused some loose and inaccurate throws. Rattler finished the game with 387 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions including the game-sealing interception on Oklahoma’s final drive. Oklahoma once again came away with 0 takeaways in the game, causing more frustration among the coaches and fans. Oklahoma travels to Ames this weekend in hopes of righting the ship and putting themselves back in the win column, but Iowa State is always a tough test, so Rattler will need to remain composed from beginning to end.

Next Game: @ Iowa State – Oct. 3 | 6:30 PM | ABC

4) Baylor Bears | 1-0 (1-0) | Last Week: Unranked

Image Credit: Jerome Miron | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Kansas, 47-14 W

Five cancellations later, Baylor finally opened their 2020 season with a dominant win over the Jayhawks. Trestan Ebner put on a show for the Bears as he had not one but two kick-returns for touchdowns along with two more touchdowns. His first score came from the goal-line on a one yard touchdown run. Ebner didn’t stop there though, as late in the second quarter, Ebner brought in an 18-yard pass from Brewer for six. During the second half, Ebner would return two kickoffs for touchdowns, including one that went for 100 yards! Overall, the Bears looked comfortable as they began play here in 2020. Baylor did not outgain Kansas by great amounts (352 to 328 total yards), but Baylor’s 3rd down defense was on fire as they were able to hold Kansas to only 4 3rd-down conversions on 16 attempts. Baylor travels to Morgantown this weekend to face West Virginia in what should hopefully be a better test of what Baylor is capable of. Can first year coach Dave Aranda start his tenure 2-0 with wins against the Jayhawks and Mountaineers?

Next Game: @ West Virginia – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM | ABC

3) Kansas State Wildcats | 1-1 (1-0) | Last Week: 5/8

Image Credit: Kevin Jairaj | USA Today Sports

Last Game: @ Oklahoma, 38-35 W

Last Friday, K-State officials were unsure the Wildcats would even be able to travel and play against the Sooners due to many players being out for COVID reasons. Thankfully for the Wildcats, they were able to put together a roster and traveled to Norman. Against all odds, the Wildcats upset a top-5 Oklahoma team for the second straight season. Oklahoma led 35-14 late in the 3rd quarter and looked to be in full control of the contest, but after a couple big plays, including a 78 yard pass to Justin Garnder to set up a Wildcat touchdown, K-State was on the comeback trail. Following that score which cut the lead to 35-21, the Wildcats defense forced a Sooner fumble which led to another K-State touchdown. Once again, K-State’s defense came in clutch as they forced a punt which AJ Parker would end up blocking to set the Wildcats up with great field position. Kicker Blake Lynch would later make a career long 50-yard field goal to take the lead and the win. Senior QB Skylar Thompson came up with one of his best performances yet throwing for 334 yards, a touchdown, and running for 3 more scores. True freshman RB Deuce Vaughn ran for 45 yards and a touchdown as well as hauled in 4 receptions for 129 yards. K-State put together one of the best team efforts we have seen in this young season, and the Wildcats will hope to use this momentum to carry them through the rest of their Big 12 schedule.

Next Game: vs. Texas Tech – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | FS1

2) Texas Longhorns | 2-0 (1-0) | Last Week: 1/8

Image Credit: USATSI

Last Game: @ Texas Tech, 63-56(OT) W

Sam Ehlinger led the comeback for the Longhorns with two touchdowns in the final three minutes of regulation last Saturday as Texas came back from 15 down to send the game to overtime. Ehlinger would connect with Joshua Moore for the second time that game in overtime to put Texas ahead. Sam Ehlinger finished the game with 5 touchdowns, 262 yards, and an interception on 40 attempts. It was a miraculous finish for the Longhorns as the game looked all but over after Texas Tech scored a 75 yard touchdown run with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter. Cameron Dicker had one of the most perfect onside kicks you’ll ever see late in this game to contribute to the comeback. Quite honestly, I’m still not sure how Texas managed to win this game. This game had to have hurt badly for Tech fans and can’t have felt great for Longhorn fans either. Yes, Texas won, but boy did they look exposed and mediocre doing it. Texas hosts TCU next weekend in what will likely be Max Duggan’s first start of the season. TCU upset the Longhorns a year ago. Will Texas get revenge or can TCU do it again?

Next Game: vs. TCU – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM | FOX

1) Oklahoma State Cowboys | 2-0 (1-0) | Last Week: 4/8

Image Credit: Oklahoma State Athletics

Last Game: vs. West Virginia, 27-13 W

LD Brown opened the scoring for the Cowboys last Saturday as he raced 66 yards down the field for the opening score of the game. The Oklahoma State defense would make it 14 only two minutes later as they returned a Mountaineer fumble 56 yards for six. Shane Illingworth started his first career game as Spencer Sanders was still out due to the injury he picked up last week. Illingworth performed well in his debut start throwing for 139 yards on 21 attempts. The name of the game for the Cowboys on Saturday was their ground game as both LD Brown and Chuba Hubbard went for over 100 yards each. Chuba remains as Oklahoma State’s primary back but still hasn’t quite come to be what we knew him as last year. Chuba will need to have another strong year this year if the Cowboys hope to run the table and win the Big 12 especially if QB Spencer Sanders isn’t at 100% with his health. The Cowboys should have no issues next week as they travel to Lawrence, but beware, the Cowboys have struggled against Kansas before, and Kansas is still looking for win number one!

Next Game: @ Kansas – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | ESPN

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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 2

By Andrew Sheridan

Image Credit: Brian Bahr | Getty Images

This past weekend saw only one Big 12 team in action: the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Oklahoma State’s matchup was a rematch of last year’s Cowboy victory over the Golden Hurricanes of Tulsa. Coming into the season, expectations were high for the Pokes as star running back Chuba Hubbard, star receiver Tylan Wallace and quarterback Spencer Sanders all returned for action. Unfortunately, the Cowboys we saw on Saturday looked nothing like the Cowboys we were told to expect this season. Spencer Sanders left for the locker room early in the game after suffering an ankle injury. In the meantime, Tulsa defended the run well holding Heisman hopeful Hubbard to 93 yards on 27 carries. Fortunately, the Cowboys found a way to move the ball and overcome a sturdy Tulsa test late in their contest.So where does Oklahoma State’s poor performance land them in their first appearance in the Big 12 Power Rankings? Let’s find out!

NOTE: This ranking list will only include teams who have played so far this season.

8) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-1

Image Credit: KU Football

Last Game: vs. Coastal Carolina, 23-38 L

Coastal Carolina took on Campbell in their matchup last week. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, Campbell scored more points in the first half against the Chanticleers only trailing 9-21 at the break compared to KU’s 3-28. By the end of the game though, Coastal looked more similar to the team we saw perform against Kansas. After taking a week off, the Jayhawks see no movement from being the cellar dwellers of the Big 12.

Next Game: @ Baylor, 9/26

7) Texas Tech Red Raiders | 1-0

Image Credit: Jason Davis

Last Game: vs. Houston Baptist, 35-33 W

The Red Raiders are still undefeated, but even with that, they are on a very slim margin between 7th and 8th place in these rankings.Their lone game of the season, a win against Houston Baptist, looks worse by the day. As we knew last week, Tech beat a Houston Baptist team who had previously already been blown out by North Texas. Well, that looks even worse now because in Week 3, North Texas saw SMU go off for 65 points on them. Texas Tech is on thin ice, and quite honestly, they are going to need a miracle if they stand any chance against Texas.

Next Game: vs. Texas, 9/26

6) Iowa State Cyclones | 0-1

Image Credit: USATSI

Last Game: vs. Louisiana, 14-31 L

Iowa State’s first opponent, Louisiana, found themselves another challenge in Week 3. Georgia State took Louisiana to overtime before falling 31-34. Once again, this brings back a more negative look for the Big 12 team who under performed in the previous week. Iowa State sees no movement a week after falling to the Ragin Cajuns’.

Next Game: @ TCU, 9/26

5) Kansas State Wildcats | 0-1

Image Credit: Charlie Riedel | AP

Last Game: vs. Arkansas State, 31-35 L

Arkansas State’s Week 3 game against Central Arkansas was postponed, so K-State’s loss has no Week 3 comparison. As it currently stands, the Wildcats’ game against Oklahoma is currently in danger of postponement due to COVID issues with the Wildcats. K-State was missing 35 players for their game against Arkansas State. Since then, 12 players have been able to return, but 10 other players have had to quarantine. With that, the Wildcats are currently without 33 players. Other information on who the players are or what positions they play is unknown.

Next Game: @ Oklahoma, 9/26

4) Oklahoma State Cowboys | 1-0

Photo Credit: Rob Ferguson | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Tulsa, 16-7 W

Chuba Hubbard’s streak of 11-straight 100+ yard games was snapped this past weekend as Tulsa was able to hold the Heisman hopeful to only 93 yards on 27 carries. Throughout the game, the Golden Hurricanes found themselves stacking the box defensively as there was simply no aerial threat from the Cowboys. Starting QB Spencer Sanders left the game early due to injury and was replaced by Junior QB Ethan Bullock who produced 41 passing yards on 8 completions (13 attempts), 0 touchdowns and an interception. Bullock was replaced by Freshman QB Shane Illingworth in the 4th quarter who immediately made an impact and produced a game-winning drive. Illingworth finished with 4 completions on 5 attempts for 74 yards. Star WR Tylan Wallace produced an optimistic amount of yards given his limited attempts, bringing in 4 receptions for 94 yards, including a beautiful snag during the go-ahead scoring drive. The Cowboy defense looked strong and tough against an improved Tulsa offense led by QB Zach Smith, who had an impressive day throwing for 166 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboy defense continually made stops throughout the game though to limit Tulsa to only one touchdown. Oklahoma State’s underwhelming performance earned them the number 4 spot in our rankings list. The Cowboys host our next team, the West Virginia Mountaineers, this coming weekend.

Next Game: vs. West Virginia, 9/26

3) West Virginia Mountaineers | 1-0

Image Credit: William Wotring | WVU Football

Last Game: vs. Eastern Kentucky, 56-10 W

West Virginia retains the #3 ranking for this week after Oklahoma State’s poor performance last weekend. Though their opponents’ strength levels were not nearly the same, West Virginia still looked light-years better than the Cowboys did, and that’s why the easily hang onto the #3 spot. However, this coming weekend will certainly tell us who is the better team as the Mountaineers and Cowboys face off head-to-head.

Next Game: @ Oklahoma State, 9/26

2) Oklahoma | 1-0

Image Credit: Sue Ogrocki | AP

Last Game: vs. Missouri State, 48-0 W

The Sooners are looking ahead to their matchup this coming weekend as they seek revenge against the Wildcats for their lone Big 12 loss from last season. Though we hope we are wrong, the Sooners may have to wait a little longer for payback as the Wildcats are struggling with numbers right now from COVID-19.

Next Game: vs. Kansas State, 9/26

1) Texas | 1-0

Image Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell | American Statesman

Last Game: vs. UTEP, 59-3 W

There isn’t much to say here except that we can more clearly see the difference between a FBS and FCS team. UTEP is now 2-1 on the season. Both of those wins came over FCS schools; meanwhile, UTEP’s lone FBS opponent so far this season (Texas) put up 59 on them and allowed only 3 points. Texas remains in the top spot for at least another week. Can they hold onto this position after this weekend?

Next Game: @ Texas Tech, 9/26

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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week One

By Andrew Sheridan

Image Credit: KU Football

Football finally returned this past weekend for the Big 12, and well, it was a bit underwhelming for those schools who played against a Sun Belt team. All three Sun Belt opponents upset their Big 12 opponents, including a win over #23 Iowa State. The Red Raiders of Texas Tech narrowly avoided what would have been the worst upset of the day after holding on against Houston Baptist by a score of 35-33. West Virginia rolled against a sad Eastern Kentucky team as expected, and the typical Big 12 powerhouses rolled against their opponents.

So after one weekend of play, let’s take a look at how our Sidelines writers ranked the Big 12 teams:

NOTE: This ranking list will only include teams who have played so far this season.

7) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-1

Image Credit: KU Football

Last Game: vs. Coastal Carolina, 23-38 L

For the second straight season, the Jayhawks fell to Coastal Carolina in Lawrence. The Jayhawks looked abysmal in the first half after entering the break trailing 28-3. Quarterback still remains a huge question mark for the Jayhawks after Thomas MacVittie started the game only to throw an interception on the first drive and then fail to produce anything for the Jayhawks. Miles Kendrick was a big improvement when he replaced MacVittie, but the question is can Kendrick be consistent in his play and throw the ball with accuracy. KU Offensive Coordinator Brent Dearmon needs to find a way to use Pooka Williams more in his offense. Pooka is the best player on the Jayhawk offense and it isn’t particularly close, but Williams only saw 12 carries yesterday. Overall, Kansas looked like the Kansas team we have known for the past decade which has salvaged just 21 wins since 2010.

Next Game: @ Baylor, 9/26

6) Texas Tech Red Raiders | 1-0

Image Credit: Jason Davis

Last Game: vs. Houston Baptist, 35-33 W

The Red Raiders won their opening contest which may be enough to make you think they should be ahead of the teams that lost, but Texas Tech beat Houston Baptist by only 2 points. Houston Baptist… the team that has existed for 8 seasons while only winning 18 games throughout. In the record books, this game goes down as a win for the Red Raiders, but to anybody who watched, this game was a loss. Texas Tech’s defensive secondary was absolutely atrocious. HBU quarterback Bailey Zappe threw for 567 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Texas Tech secondary. Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman looked decent yesterday as he threw for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns, but that is also the Red Raiders’ play style of airing the ball out with Bowman, so he should be having these types of numbers. A two-point win over a bad FCS team is inexcusable for what should be a young and improving Big 12 team. If the Red Raiders continue to play like they did yesterday, they will find themselves at the bottom of the Big 12 come December.

Next Game: vs. Texas, 9/26

5) Iowa State Cyclones | 0-1

Image Credit: USATSI

Last Game: vs. Louisiana, 14-31 L

The Cyclones were the first Big 12 team to fall victim to the Sun Belt. The Cyclones gave up two special teams touchdowns to the Ragin’ Cajuns after Louisiana returned both a punt and a kick return for touchdowns. Brock Purdy had very high expectations coming into the season and yesterday, he did anything but live up to them. Purdy threw for only 145 yards and 0 touchdowns against the UL defense. On top of that, his accuracy was very poor as he went 16/35 with 1 interception. Simply put, it wasn’t close to being good enough. If Purdy continues to struggle this season like he did yesterday, the Cyclones could be in for a very long 2020 (as if it hasn’t been long enough as is). On the bright side for Iowa State, running back Breece Hall continues to look promising as he ran for 103 yards and a touchdown yesterday. The Cyclones have lots of work to do if they are hoping to compete in the Big 12 this season.

Next Game: @ TCU, 9/26

4) Kansas State Wildcats | 0-1

Image Credit: Charlie Riedel | AP

Last Game: vs. Arkansas State, 31-35 L

Moments after Iowa State fell to Louisiana, fellow Sun Belt member Arkansas State scored the go-ahead touchdown to take the lead over the Wildcats of Kansas State. K-State looked like they were going to dominate the game based on the first minute and a half after forcing a three-and-out, blocking a punt, and then scoring two plays later. However, Arkansas State didn’t stop pursuing the win and found themselves back in the game soon after. K-State’s defensive secondary was pummeled by the Arkansas State receivers. Arkansas State WR Jonathan Adams Jr. had himself a day bringing in 3 touchdown catches and going for 98 yards. Offensively, the Wildcats seemed very unprepared and ineffective. Normally their strong-suit, the rushing attack for K-State struggled badly. Kansas State totaled only 91 rushing yards on 39 attempts, averaging only 2.33 yards per carry. In the passing game, Skylar Thompson seemed off his rhythm after taking a very awkward hit during the first quarter in which he landed on his head. Overall, the passing game wasn’t outwardly bad, but it wasn’t great either. Thompson went 17/29 for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns, but still had several important throws that were just off the mark. Kansas State’s run blocking will need to vastly improve throughout the season if they expect to be able to make a difference in the ground game.

Next Game: @ Oklahoma, 9/26

Big 12 Preseason Rankings 2020

Article by: Andrew Sheridan (@SidelinesKState), Hunter Martinez-Buehrer (@Sidelines_OU)

We are only two weeks out from the first game of the Big 12 season! It’s been a long and confusing ride the past several months as the status of College Football in the Fall of 2020 has been in constant question. Alas though, we have arrived, so here it is:

The 2020 Preseason Big 12 Rankings

#10) Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks have finished in the bottom two of the Big 12 every year since 2009. Several people have high hopes for the Jayhawks this season, but quite simply, we don’t see it happening. KU returns only 11 players on offense and defense combined, good for 9th in the Big 12. If you know simple math, you will realize this only accounts for 50% of total returning production. The Jayhawks also lose QB Carter Stanley leaving a big question mark at quarterback for 2020. On the bright side, the Jayhawks do return star running-back Pooka Williams, who is looking to have a break-out year in 2020. Can Les Miles find a way to improve the Jayhawks in year 2?

#9) West Virginia Mountaineers

Neal Brown enters year 2 as the head coach of the Mountaineers. The West Virginia offense seemed to find more of their groove as the 2019 season came to a close, but it was much too late to be effective on the season. If the offense can find more of a groove early on, this ranking might be too low, but until proven otherwise, the Mountaineers find themselves at the bottom of the pack. West Virginia returns lots of talent, including a highly experienced D-Line, but as mentioned before, the offense must find their groove early on in order to have a successful season.

#8) Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech returns just over 59% of their 2019 starting production. If Alan Bowman can stay healthy, the Red Raider offense could have a very successful offensive outing in 2020. Alan Bowman will be joined by a highly skilled receiving corp including veteran receivers T.J. Vasher and Seth Collins. However, the pass defense MUST improve vastly if the defense expects to have the same success the offense does. Last season, the Red Raider secondary finished ranked 128th in the country. In a conference like the Big 12, the 128th ranked secondary simply won’t cut it. Can Matt Wells find the answer in his 2nd season as the Texas Tech head coach, and can Alan Bowman stay healthy? Their season might depend upon it.

#7) TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs of TCU took a bit of a hit in 2019, going 5-7 after going 7-6 in 2018. Although the Horned Frogs don’t return many starters from 2019, the TCU defense should be stronger this year, especially in its backfield with Ar’Darius Washington, also known as the 2019 Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the year, leading it. However, the offense is where the real question lies and is the determining factor on how well Gary Patterson’s crew does this year. Max Duggan was supposed to lead the offense this season as a true sophomore after last year’s transfer party left him to take the starting job but has since been ruled out indefinitely due to a heart condition. This leaves even more question marks for the TCU offense. Many eyes will be on freshman Zachery Evans as well, as his production in the backfield with an offensive line that was very troubling last year. If the offense can click, watch out for TCU to turn some eyes this season.

#6) Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State went a surprising 8-5 in Chris Klieman’s first season as head coach. Klieman and company will look to build upon the success the Wildcats had in 2019 for the 2020 season. The biggest question-mark for the Wildcats coming into 2020 is the offensive line. The Wildcats lost all five offensive-line starters after last season which leaves a whole lot of inexperience up front. Josh Rivas will have to lead the Wildcat O-Line if they expect to have any sort of success. Collectively, the Wildcats only return 8 total starters from 2019, ranking 10/10 in the Big 12. K-State will need to rely heavily on Skylar Thompson’s experience as well as their Special Teams, which returns Preseason All-American Joshua Youngblood as well as kicker Blake Lynch. Can Chris Klieman lead the Wildcats to another successful outing in 2020?

#5) Baylor Bears

Ranking Baylor for the 2020 season was really difficult. In 2019, the Bears went a surprising 11-3 on the season. However, Baylor lost A LOT during the offseason. The Bears return a solid eight starters on offense including quarterback Charlie Brewer but are only returning three on defense. A lack of experience as well as a brand new coaching staff could bring a multitude of issues. Baylor is such an unknown team going into the season. The Bears could finish with 1 loss in conference play or they could only win 1 game in conference play. Honestly, who knows? Our prediction has Baylor finishing right at the middle of the pack because while the Bears do lose a lot on defense, their new coach was the defensive coordinator for the National Championship winning LSU Tigers. Surely, that means only good things for the Bears defense then, right?

#4) Iowa State Cyclones

Brock Purdy. That’s the name you continue to hear for the next 3 months. Iowa State’s success depends solely on Brock Purdy. If Brock Purdy has success, Iowa State will have success. If Brock Purdy has a bad day, well Cyclone fans, you better hope another player such as Breece Hall can have himself a day. Iowa State returns 12/22 starters from 2019, including 7 of those 12 on defense. Iowa State needs to find that ability to close out games in 2020, unlike in 2019 when the Cyclones lost four different games by seven or fewer points. If Matt Campbell and Brock Purdy can find success as well as the rest of the Cyclones can finish games out, Iowa State could potentially have a very successful season in 2020.

#3) Texas Longhorns

“HEY LONGHORN NATION”……okay, can we all agree that this has been played out a little too much? No? Okay. “WE’RE BAAAAAAAAAACK!” In all seriousness though, an 8-5 record and Alamo Bowl victory may not have been what Texas fans were hoping for, and so as you would expect, changes were made to Coach Tom Herman’s staff during the offseason. Chris Ash and Mike Yurcich take over the mantle of Defensive and Offensive coordinator respectfully. Sam Ehlinger, Keaontay Ingram, and Brennan Eagles will be the big names on offense with Tirak Black looking to make his name as a transfer from Michigan. 73% of the 2019 defense returns for the Longhorns this year and while not performing as well as expected last year, they look to improve under new leadership from Chris Ash. Ultimately, How the Longhorns do this season comes down to their performances against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. If they can win both or even one of those games, the Longhorns should stand a very good chance at making the Big 12 Championship Game.

#2) Oklahoma Sooners

Another year, another new quarterback for Lincoln Riley. This time, it’s Spencer Rattler who steps up to lead the offense along with seven returning starters. On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners are ready to shake away the stigma of “Big 12 has no defense”. The defense returns eight starters from 2019 including Tre Brown, Ronnie Perkins, and Tre Norwood who will lead Alex Grinch’s group. As the Big 12 seems to have a normal league schedule with 1 non-conference game, this may seem like another Conference Championship appearance in-line for the Sooners, as they look to add a sixth championship win in a row. However, mid season roadtrips seem to be the achilles heel for this team. Our eyes this year are on the Iowa State game to see if Oklahoma can overcome the test of Brock Purdy in Ames. If they are able to do so, another Big 12 championship appearance and likely CFP appearance could be imminent. However, while the Big 12 typically runs through Norman, a different team looks to take the championship trophy on a detour route through a town about 90 minutes away.

#1) Oklahoma State Cowboys

What more can we say about the Oklahoma State Cowboys that the rest of the college football world hasn’t been thinking since Spring? They are returning 18 starters on offense and defense combined, as well as 6 specialists. Among them include Heisman Candidate Chubba Hubbard, Quarterback Spencer Sanders, Wide Receiver Tylan Wallace, and that’s just the offense! Although the defense is looking to grow from last year, they are bringing back a bunch of talent for Jim Knowles. Looking at the top 3 teams in our rankings, they have the best non conference test in the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (compared to Missouri State and UTEP), and will be the team that is tested the most, with away games at Oklahoma and Baylor while also having tough home games with Iowa State and Texas. This Cowboy team has a lot to look forward to, and if they play their cards right, should have a strong chance at not only appearing in their first ever Big 12 Championship Game (2011 did not have a championship game), but a chance at the College Football Playoff. To have this happen, the team needs to utilize the running potential of their Heisman Hopeful RB, their 2019 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year QB, their potential Biletnikoff Award winning WR, and a defense that is looking to make a tough stand this year. Bedlam should be the Game of the Year in the Big 12 this season, and if Oklahoma State can go to the Palace on the Prairie and stun the Sooners, the sky’s the limit.

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Bad Idea Time: Why Don’t Nebraska and Iowa Join The Big 12?

new 12

We’re in the midst of perhaps the craziest week of off season College Football has ever seen. The Big 10 and Pac 12, as well as MAC and Mountain West conference, have all announced they will be cancelling the fall season, perhaps playing in the spring. Many star players are “opting out”, instead choosing to prepare for the NFL draft.

However, there is a notable detail about these votes to cancel the season. The Pac 12 voted unanimously, but there were two dissenters in the Big 10; Nebraska and Iowa. These two schools had leadership vote to play in the fall.

So, why not let them?

It’s already the weirdest College Football off season, let’s make it weirder. Both Nebraska and Iowa are very much in the Big 12 footprint (Nebraska previously played in the conference), it wouldn’t be much additional travel for Big 12 teams. We are of course, not the first to suggest this, and Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren already shot down the idea saying it wouldn’t be appropriate. Our (admittedly bad) proposal of the day? Nebraska and Iowa should just join the Big 12 permanently.

2019 Oklahoma Sooners Football Countdown to Kickoff | 86 Days! The ...

As noted, both schools already fall in the footprint of the conference. Furthermore, both have existing rivalries in conference, with Nebraska vs. Oklahoma and Iowa vs. Iowa State being long time feuds. This would also bump the Big 12 to twelve teams; a radical idea! The conference could then split into two six-team divisions, and add a little more sense to the Big 12 title game (especially since fans have long complained matching up the 2 best teams in conference reduces the chances of a Big 12 team making the playoff).

Money is the biggest downside, but it’s not all that bad. The Big Ten reportedly made $780 million total last year, giving $55 million to each of its full members. The Big 12 on the other hand made around $380 million, only giving $38.8 million to each member school. A $17 million dollar drop is a pretty big downside; but who is to say Big 12 revenue won’t skyrocket with the addition of these two teams? The move would add two historical football schools who have long been playing at the highest level. Nebraska vs. Texas and Nebraska vs, Oklahoma would surely be marquee games. Plus, both schools would be making money this season while the rest of the Big 10 will not, and will likely make less anyway if the season is pushed to the spring.

Iowa vs. Iowa State 2017: 9 cool things about the Hawkeyes win ...

It’s not a good idea, but it’s a fun idea. And it will make the Big 12 a more competitive conference compared to the Big 10 and SEC, as well as actually having the same number of teams as its name. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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