Big 12 at the Quarter Pole

Through week 4, we have seen some big changes in how the Big 12 looked before the season started. A team with a new coach is 4-0 and riding high, while a former power has still not found its groove.

Fifteen weeks, that is all we get from the College Football gods. 1. 5. With four weeks already in the rear view window and the Bears on their second bye in the last three weeks, let us take a moment to catch our breaths and get to know the Big 12 as it stands, not as what preseason media biases and pollsters would have us believe.

With just over a quarter of the season past (really... time flies when you are having fun, ohhh, sorry Texas fans) now is as good a time as any. The Big 12 started the 2013 season with four teams ranked in the Top 25; Oklahoma State, TCU, Oklahoma, and Texas. Just the two Oklahoma schools remain from that quarter, while a pair of different Texas teams has joined them in the Top 25.

AP Top 25 Big 12 Teams

Team

Preseason

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Oklahoma State

13

13

12

11

11

Texas

15

15

RV

N/A

N/A

Oklahoma

16

16

14

14

14

TCU

20

24

24

RV

N/A

Baylor

RV

23

22

20

19

Texas Tech

N/A

N/A

N/A

25

24

Outside of Texas Tech though, none of the gains have been that huge for the other Big 12 teams, but the falls have been drastic. Baylor started off the year with the 27th most votes, and despite a 3-0 start have moved up just 8 spots. It is even worse for the two undefeated Oklahoma schools, who have risen just two spots each, despite being ranked both behind Georgia and Texas A&M with one loss, and Oklahoma falling behind 1-loss South Carolina as well. Noticeably, all of them are SEC teams with losses to other top 10 teams.

Texas Tech is the big gainer though, going from not a single vote until after their victory over TCU at home to 24th place. That is a significant jump, especially for one with a new coach and a true freshman walk-on at quarterback. Behind those 6 teams though is the rest of the Big 12. There is a pretty sizeable gap between those 6 and the bottom four.

So, we have an idea of where the pollsters have the Big 12 teams, but what about some of the more advanced statistical sites, and computerized formulas? Yes, they have the lack of biasness that can blind certain writers (looking at you Jon Wilner) or coaches, but early in the season there is a certain lack of data or what they call "Small Sample Size" that can skew it. But hey, let's look at it anyway.

Analytical Rankings of Big 12 Teams

Team

RealTime RPI

Sagarin

Massey

FO F/+

FO FEI

Average

Oklahoma

11

11

11

8

4

9

Oklahoma State

17

3

6

11

16

10.6

Baylor

19

7

9

6

21

12.4

TCU

41

26

46

29

24

33.2

Texas Tech

25

22

23

36

68

34.8

Texas

50

37

51

54

23

43

Kansas State

40

44

55

61

62

52.4

West Virginia

63

71

74

77

96

76.2

Iowa State

120

74

88

62

43

77.4

Kansas

96

96

94

107

98

98.2

AVERAGE

48.20

39.10

45.70

45.10

45.50

44.72

Here we see a much larger separation between the Top 3 teams and the rest of the conference. Texas Tech is really penalized by Football Outsiders for some reason, being significantly lower than the other three sources used here. Really, this conference has been dominated so far by the two Oklahoma schools and Baylor. In terms of the conference as a whole, the outlook isn't as rosy.

Realtime RPI has the Big 12 conference as the third best conference so far, behind the SEC and Pac-12 and just ahead of the Big 10 and ACC. While both the Big 10 and ACC have a higher ranked team (Ohio State and Clemson) neither have the depth of the Big 12 with four top 25 teams. Massey though has the Big 12 5th, behind the aforementioned conferences and at the back of the pack in terms of the 5 power leagues.

Right now, using just an observational method and going off of the perception as a whole, you would probably rank the Big 12 as the fourth or fifth best conference. But isn't that exactly what the lazy writers who take two extra weeks to rank a team like Baylor guilty of? Isn't that what fans of all schools (not just Baylor) cry out about, unless you are one of the blue bloods of the college football landscape you are always somehow slighted. Is the Big 12 getting to that point, behind the blue blood SEC or the rising power Pac-12? Or is their perception actually justified?

Quality of Wins By School use RealTime RPI Rank

School

Win #1

Win #2

Win #3

Win #4

AVERAGE

Baylor

77

95

135

N/A

102.33

Iowa State

78

N/A

N/A

N/A

78.00

Kansas

102

216

N/A

N/A

159.00

Kansas State

81

164

N/A

N/A

122.50

Oklahoma

63

65

78

N/A

68.67

Oklahoma State

52

71

234

N/A

119.00

TCU

182

N/A

N/A

N/A

182.00

Texas

40

158

N/A

N/A

99.00

Texas Tech

41

77

90

198

101.50

West Virginia

152

169

N/A

N/A

160.50

AVERAGE

86.80

126.88

134.25

198.00

119.25

So the average RealTime RPI rank of each school's best win is just 86.80. It then goes downhill fast. The best win so far not in conference play? Oklahoma State over Mississippi State and it isn't even close. The Big 12 has feasted on creampuffs so far, and most of them have been much creamier than anything the Bears have played. The average win for Big 12 is ranked 119.25, after the Cyclones win over Tulsa on Thursday night. There is still one big chance for the Big 12 though to tally a marquee win; Oklahoma at Notre Dame.

So, what does all of this mean? It means the Big 12 as of right now is a three horse race. The conference will probably be decided by the games between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor. The Bears host OU and travel to OSU, while the Sooners travel to both places. That means the Cowboys have the easiest road to the championship, hosting both of their main competitors at home with a second Big 12 championship in three years on the line. That is of course if all three of these teams take care of business in their other 7 conference games.


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