My philosophy this week is as follows: there are four teams – Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia – in the Big 12 title hunt. When determining the standings at the top of the conference, a major factor will be how these teams have fared against each other. Non-conference schedule still matters, but now that we’re in the thick of conference play, we can compare apples to apples instead of oranges.
1. Oklahoma State [6-2]: W vs. West Virginia (LW: 4)
If the refs did their job correctly during the Central Michigan game in Stillwater this year, the Cowboys would be a conference best 7-1. With a convincing win against West Virginia and Baylor out of the way, Oklahoma State is in a pretty good position, with all eyes looking towards Bedlam.
2. Baylor [6-1]: L @ Texas (LW: 2)
With a loss to a mid-tier conference team, the Bears are now in a tough spot in the Big 12 title race. They are yet to play Oklahoma or West Virginia, but they’re not out of it just yet, having notched a win against Oklahoma State earlier in the year.
3. Oklahoma [6-2]: W vs. Kansas (LW: 3)
The Sooners had their chance to beat solid opponents in Houston and Ohio State earlier this season; they lost both and it wasn’t all that close. Three of their four Big 12 wins against schools not named “Kansas” have come by a touchdown or less. Yet to play Oklahoma State, West Virginia, or Baylor, the Sooners still have a lot to prove, though they certainly look capable.
4. West Virginia [6-1]: L @ Oklahoma State (LW: 1)
Simply put, the Mountaineers’ best conference win is a one point home victory over Kansas State, the fifth or sixth best team in the Big 12. 0-1 against teams in the Big 12 title hunt, West Virginia faces an uphill battle with looming matchups against Baylor and Oklahoma.
5. Texas [4-4]: W vs. Baylor (LW: 7)
“Texas is back” to having a .500 record. And though I tease them every week in the power rankings, I don’t think they’re as bad as most people do. I think they’re very close to being a great team.
6. Kansas State [5-3]: W @ Iowa State (LW: 5)
The Wildcats beat the Horns just a couple weeks ago. To me, the overall body of work favors Texas, though I understand the argument to the contrary. This week Kansas State struggled to put away Iowa State, while Texas beat a top 10 team.
7. Texas Tech [4-4]: W @ TCU (LW: 8)
We saw a different Texas Tech team in Fort Worth. They played defense, ran the ball, and responded well to adversity. A win over Texas would provide some serious momentum for the Red Raiders down the stretch.
8. TCU [4-4]: L vs. Texas Tech (LW: 6)
A quarterback battle in November usually isn’t a good sign.
9. Iowa State [1-7]: L vs. Kansas State (LW: 9)
Despite this position, I wouldn’t count out the Cyclones at home against Oklahoma this Thursday. Crazier things have happened in Jack Trice Stadium.
10. Kansas [1-7]: L @ Oklahoma (LW: 10)
I’m sorry, Jayhawks. I promise I take no pleasure in putting you here every week. I’m rooting for y’all to upset somebody before the season is over with!