Through two weeks of the college football season, we haven’t seen many surprises among the Big 12 teams. Baylor and TCU haven’t stumbled, Oklahoma looks solid, Texas got crushed by Notre Dame, and Kansas is terrible. It’s still early, however, and there are a lot of questions to be answered. Can Oklahoma challenge TCU and Baylor? Can Texas turn it around? Is West Virginia for real? With those in mind, here are the Big 12 power rankings heading into Week 3.
Will Oklahoma be ahead of TCU and Baylor when the season ends? Most likely not, but the Sooners have the best Big 12 win of the season so far on the board, with their thrilling comeback double-overtime win at Tennessee on Saturday night. Oklahoma had nothing going offensively and looked dead in the water, but quarterback Baker Mayfield turned it all completely around in the fourth quarter. Tennessee is a solid team, and the way the Sooners managed to pull that win out of thin air was amazing. That’s the kind of win that can jump-start a team on a great run.
They came against SMU and Lamar, sure, but wide receiver Corey Coleman’s first two games of the season show why he could end up either making Seth Russell a Heisman candidate, or becoming one himself. The junior is Baylor’s Superman, too fast and too skilled for almost every defensive back he comes across, absolutely born to play in Baylor’s lightning-quick offense. Baylor dropped 56 and 66 points respectively in their first two games, with five of those touchdowns ending up in Coleman’s hands. Seth Russell is still trying to settle into the large shoes left by star quarterback Bryce Petty, and having a target like Coleman is going to make everything immeasurably easier.
For a team that’s considered to be a major national championship contender, it was a bit of a surprise to see TCU struggle to gain traction in a tough 6-point win in Minnesota in Week 1. Quarterback Trevone Boykin didn’t look like the Heisman frontrunner that he’s universally pegged to be, and TCU let a middling Big Ten team that they were expected to beat handily hang around until the final whistle. The good news? Everyone will forget about it when you drop 70 points the next week, as the Horned Frogs did to Stephen F. Austin on Saturday. There’s still no better quarterback in the Big 12 than Boykin, and no better wide receiver pairing than Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee. It’s TCU’s conference to lose.
4. West Virginia
It wasn’t against the sturdiest of competition, to be sure – Division I newcomers Georgia Southern and FCS program Liberty – but the way the Mountaineers dispatched of their first two opponents was very impressive. West Virginia didn’t allow a point for their first six quarters of football, while quarterback Skyler Howard continues to build a rapport with his young, extremely talented group of wide receivers. Safety Karl Joseph looks like an All-American so far – a nonconference matchup with a Maryland squad that just embarrassed themselves against Bowling Green and the Big 12 slate will show whether or not the Mountaineers are for real.
5. Oklahoma State
Like West Virginia, Oklahoma State has started the season 2-0, but they haven’t been nearly as convincing as the Mountaineers in the early goings of the season. Oklahoma State had to come from behind in a lethargic performance at Central Michigan in their season opener, and although they rebounded with a 32-8 win over Central Arkansas, Oklahoma State hasn’t shown anything to suggest they’ll be anything other than a middle-of-the-pack team. Still, they haven’t lost, they haven’t embarrassed themselves in any way and they haven’t sustained any major injuries. They’re in decent enough shape.
There’s no shame in losing on the road to Notre Dame. There is a little shame, however, in getting blown out 38-3 in one of the worst performances in the history of your storied program. Tyrone Swoopes is already a shaky quarterback option at best, and his patchwork line was unable to prevent the Fighting Irish from battering him and forcing him into a terrible 7-22, 93 yard day. Texas was able to rebound against Rice, 42-28, with freshman Jerrod Heard under center – he’s talented, but Texas is so inexperienced across the board that it may be difficult for Heard and the Longhorns to get much going in the Big 12.
7. Kansas State
It took Kansas State until the very end of the preseason to name a starting quarterback. It took their selection, Jesse Ertz, only two snaps to suffer what could be a season-ending injury. To his credit, junior Joe Hubener stepped in and performed passably well in comfortable K-State wins over South Dakota and Texas-San Antonio, and the defense only allowed three points in those two games combined. Against real opposition, though, it’s likely going to be an incredible challenge for K-State to score consistently. Get ready for a lot of boring, low-scoring football this season.
8. Texas Tech
Here’s the good news for Texas Tech: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is one heck of a talent, and the Red Raiders are going to be able to put plenty of points on the board (59 and 69 points respectively in the first two games). The bad news: The defense is still an absolute clown car. Texas Tech’s 59-45 shootout win over FCS opponent Sam Houston State in the first week of the season exemplifies the type of team Texas Tech is going to be this year. They’ll be a ton of fun, play high-scoring games, and probably still struggle to beat the worst teams they play. Be sure to tune in.
9. Iowa State
Iowa State came into the season with extremely low expectations, but the Cyclones’ performance against a strong Northern Iowa squad was a pleasant surprise. That buzz was immediately killed on Saturday, as Iowa State folded down the stretch against in-state rival Iowa. The Cy-Hawk Trophy game is often an unwatchable dirge, but at least Iowa State had the decency to sit back and let Iowa quarterback CJ Beathard actually entertain the fans. Next week: at Toledo, a team that just shocked Arkansas. That might be a tough task for the Cyclones.
This 2015 Kansas season is shaping up to be the Mona Lisa of bad. Not only have the Jayhawks dropped back-to-back home nonconference games, it was the way that they did it. First, Kansas needed a furious comeback to even make it a game against FCS opponent South Dakota State, then losing in the most improbably dumb way imaginable, fumbling the snap on a late spike play and accidentally running out the clock. Then, on Saturday, Kansas got absolutely pasted by a mediocre-at-best Memphis program, 55-23. Next week, Kansas plays at Rutgers, then at Iowa State. If the Jayhawks can’t steal one of those games, they may go winless.
This article was written by David Statman from West Virginia University / The Daily Athenaeum and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.