The Big 12 opened conference play over the weekend, and things seemed to go the way folks expected. Baylor was impressive with a 35-24 win over Oklahoma State. In non-conference action, West Virginia looked good in beating a solid BYU team in Washington.
We take a look at the Big 12 Power Rankings after three weeks of play. One thing is certain, this conference season should be one to remember.
1. Baylor Bears
I struggled between Baylor and West Virginia, but gave Baylor the nod because they had a great win in conference. Wide recievers Ishmael Zamora and Chris Platt were excellent and Seth Russell has seemed to find his groove. The defense, however, was the star of last saturdays win over the Cowboys. The Bears were on the field for 101 plays but held the Cowboys offense to a 4.9 yds per play average. With a thing defensive line, the Bears used great speed and athleticism to force 4 turnovers and harass Mason Rudolph most of the night. It was the first conference win for acting head coach Jim Grobe. The Bears travel to Ames, Iowa for a midday class with the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday.
2. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Moutaineers are out to a strong start to the season. Skyler Howard has taken the reigns of the Moutaineer offense and has been excellent. The Moutaineers remain unranked, which is definitely a head scratcher seeing as they have two solid wins over Missouri and BYU, respectively. The defense is likely to give up points, but they are good enough to get the stops the Moutaineers may need at times. Things seem to be lining up well for West Virginia to make a run at a Big 12 Championship with most of their tough games in Morgantown. West Virginia takes its 3-0 record into conference play against upstart Kansas State on Saturday.
3. TCU Horned Frogs
TCU made a big jump here after an impressive defensive performance against SMU, last Friday night. TCU was supposed to be a conference title contender, but struggled against a couple of teams defensively. With several starters back, it seems that the defense is beginning to take form and Kenny Hill Jr. is getting more comfortable. The Frogs will certainly be a team to watch moving forward and will have a chance to make an early statement with the Oklahoma Sooners coming to Ft. Worth on Saturday.
4. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners are still one of the most talented teams in the Big 12, but the two losses early have exposed some glaring weaknesses for the Sooners. If they can fix those, they should be able to compete for another Big 12 Championship. The Sooners face an improving TCU team on the road, which will tell us a lot about whether or not they've improved on those weaknesses.
5. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The only reason I have them here is due to their loss at Baylor. Frankly spots 4-7 are all tossups, but will iron themselves out this week. Oklahoma State played well enough to win last Saturday, but had key mistakes and couldn't stop the Baylor offense. The Cowboys did have a big positive out of the game as they seemingly found their lost rushing attack. The Cowboys ended with just over 225 rushing yards and should feel comfortable moving forward, rushing the ball.
6. Texas Longhorns
After a bye week, it will be interesting to see if the Longhorns were able to make some improvements on defense. What was once considered a strength has been absolutely dominated by offenses the past few weeks. Texas' season will take off or end quickly over the next two weeks, with the Longhorns traveling to Stillwater for a matchup against the Cowboys before the annual Red River Shootout next weekend.
7. Kansas State Wildcats
The wildcats could be higher, but we have to wait to see how they do against Big 12 competition. They should have a potent running attack, which should keep them in most games. The defense is experienced enough for the Wildcats to make a possible run. They will get their first taste of Big 12 competition, when they travel to West Virginia this weekend.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Until the defense gets fixed, it doesn't matter how good Patrick Mahomes is. His talent is wasted behind a pourus defense. The Red Raiders should get their first conference win, as the Jayhawks will make their way to Lubbock for a Thursday night battle.
9. Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones got their first win of the Matt Campbell era with an impressive win against San Diego State. SDSU is a far cry from the talent in the Big 12, so it may be a long season for the Cyclones, but it would not surprise me if they snuck up on a team and beat them. Baylor needs to be careful after an emotional win. Crazy things happen in Ames.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
They will continue to hold this spot until they can actually win a game.