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Big 12 power rankings: 2017 was not what we expected, mostly

Iowa State shocked everyone, while Texas underachieved once again.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, welcome to the final regular season edition of the Big 12 power rankings.

It’s baffling how every year, we think we know how the season is going to play out, and every year, we’re proven mostly wrong. Who thought Iowa State was going to be this good, or Texas was going to be this bad? The one team we did predict accurately, and thank goodness we did, was Texas Tech, which started the season at No. 7 in my power rankings and after a period of highs and lows, eventually finished the year in the same spot.

For this edition, I did not compare the teams’ rankings from last week to now, rather, where the teams were slotted in the first rankings of the season compared to now. So, Oklahoma started the season at No. 2 and finished at No. 1. You get it. OK. Let’s take a look:

1. Oklahoma Sooners (+1)

The country’s most hated quarterback, Baker Mayfield, put together what’s perceived to be a Heisman-worthy season, despite his ridiculous antics both on and off the field.

2. TCU Horned Frogs (+4)

TCU was 4-5 in conference play and 6-7 overall last year. I knew the Frogs would have a bounce back year, because every season Gary Patterson has a losing record, he’s followed it with a conference championship. He’ll get the chance to do it again Saturday.

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (-2)

The No. 1 NFL draft prospect in the conference put together an excellent season, but just didn’t have the talent on the other side of the ball to secure any conference hardware. They’ll still be a tough opponent in their bowl game.

4. Iowa State Cyclones (+5)

I hate clichés, but this was as close to a Cinderella story as we saw in the Big 12. And it looks like the Cyclones aren’t going anywhere, because Matt Campbell just signed a deal lasting longer than the corn on the cob line at the Iowa State Fair.

5. West Virginia Mountaineers (+1)

They are what we thought they were. Will Grier was phenomenal, but the West Virginia defense was appalling. That’s the recipe for a 7-5 record if I’ve ever seen one.

6. Kansas State Wildcats (-1)

For some reason, everyone thought Kansas State was going to be a force in the Big 12. I didn’t buy into it, projecting the Wildcats to finish No. 5 in my rankings. I wasn’t far off.

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (-)

The Red Raiders went 3-6 in conference play so they really should be ranked lower than Texas, but the head-to-head victory for Tech earns the team a spot above its rivals.

8. Texas Longhorns (-5)

This is the year Texas is back! Oh, wait. How many years have we been saying this? The Horns haven’t given us any reason to project them as top-3 teams in the confernece, yet every year, we do just that. NO longer. Next year, I’m predicting a bottom-5 finish.

9. Baylor Bears (-1)

Is this the new normal for Baylor? I think so, at least for the next decade. They didn’t get the SMU death penalty, but it’s going to take a long, long time to recover from the scandal that ruined Baylor football.

10. Kansas Jayhawks (-)

I honestly thought we’d see improvement from this Kansas squad, but the talent simply isn’t there. I like the coaching staff and I think they’ll get plenty of time to turn the program around, it just may take longer than everyone expected.