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Baylor Football

WVU Slides and Baylor Prepares for a Test in the Week 2 Big 12 Power Rankings

September 8, 2022

The Big 12 flirted with perfection on opening weekend, finishing 9-1 overall. The only blemish was a Top 25 loss courtesy of the Backyard Brawl — meanwhile, the only P5 win, TCU over former conference staple Colorado. 

So, you can chalk up that opening success to good teams, lousy scheduling, or both. Either way, this weekend will reveal far more about the league’s teams, with a full schedule highlighted by three Top 25 non-con clashes and the first conference matchup of the season. 

Entering week two, here are my Big 12 Power Rankings: 

Big 12 Power Rankings - Week 2

1. BAYLOR (W 69-10 vs. Albany)

The Bears looked the part in their by-the-book dismantling of Albany. There were plenty of highlights to enjoy and certainly nothing to diminish hopes for a successful season. However, there also wasn’t much resistance. That changes this Saturday night in a Top 25 road matchup against BYU. The storylines and overlap run deep in this potential slobber-knocker. The Bears could be the better team, but how does this group handle the external pressures of hostile environments and body clocks? 

Up Next : @ #21 BYU // Saturday, 9:15 pm, ESPN 

2. OKLAHOMA (W 45-13 vs. UTEP) 

The Venables era kicked off with a solid debut victory. Nothing more, nothing less. QB Dillon Gabriel and the new offense proved fast and efficient. WR Marvin Mims stands out again as someone who could thrive, thanks to the coaching turnover. A promising first step, but nothing crazy. I do think Venables is remodeling the culture, and the OU program stands to benefit from a bit more balance overall. 

The Sooners are massive favorites and should be able to name their score. One more tuneup before Venables vs. Scott Frost. Oh, boy. 

Up Next: Home vs. Kent State // Saturday, 6:00 pm, BIG 12/ESPN+  

3. OKLAHOMA STATE (W 58-44 vs. Central Michigan) 

This week, Spencer Sanders earned numerous accolades following his 400+ yard, five total touchdown performance against CMU. The Cowboys’ offense was lightning quick, a recurring theme throughout the league this weekend as old becomes new again. The Chippewas refused to tap late, but the Pokes never lost control. We know the story with Sanders at this point, and when he’s good, this offense will be dangerous. That was the case in their debut. Likewise, the defense underwent some early growing pains, which isn’t surprising after the offseason turnover and renewed emphasis on offense. 

Up Next: Home vs. Arizona State // Thursday, 6:30 pm, ESPN 2 

4. KANSAS STATE (W 34-10 vs. South Dakota) 

The Wildcats are Deuce Vaughn’s team. As he goes, they go. 

QB Adrian Martinez’s debut was fine? The ‘Cats didn’t ask much of the Huskers’ transfer in the passing game, instead thriving early on explosive plays and leaning on their run game and defense.

Hot on the heels of the Backyard Brawl, K-State is another school rekindling an old rivalry as the Wildcats welcome in former Big 12 North rival, Missouri. A telling game for both teams. 

Up Next: Home vs. Missouri // Saturday, 11:00 am, ESPN 2 

5. IOWA STATE (W 42-10 VS. SEMO) 

The Cyclones took care of business against an inferior Southeast Missouri squad. New QB Hunter Dekkers was productive and efficient, connecting with WR Xavier Hutchinson on the first three scores of the game. 

Iowa’s offense was atrocious last week in a 7-3 win. That was not respectable, old-school football. No, it was utter garbage and an embarrassment. Nevertheless, the Hawkeyes have won six straight and own the Cy-Hawk series. It’s time for that streak to end, and the Cyclones seem well-equipped to pull that off this time. 

Up Next: @ Iowa // Saturday, 3:00 pm, BTN (Big Ten Network) 

6. TCU (W 38-13 @ Colorado) 

It was an excellent road victory in Sonny Dykes’ debut, but they lost QB Chandler Morris for the next contest due to a sprained knee. Max Duggan will return to the starting spot as the team prepares for a less stressful layup in their home opener. You wonder where this leads the QB room competition over the next couple of weeks. 

TCU started slow but found its stride in the second half. They looked okay in certain areas and downright explosive at other turns. But I do know this; Colorado is an awful football program at the moment. 

Another win for the Big 12 over the Pac, just saying.

Up Next: Home vs. Tarleton // Saturday, 7:00 pm, BIG 12/ESPN+ 

7. TEXAS (W 52-10 vs. UL Monroe) 

So that was the golden child, huh? In all seriousness, it was great to see Quinn Ewers in action, once and for all. He’s talented, sure, but because of the coverage, expectations are insanely out of wack for him and this program. Bijan continues to handle those expectations well and can help show others the way. 

Texas looked good, as they should, vs. ULM, but now they quickly turn around to host CFB’s juggernaut program. This game could get ugly and embarrassing, but it also has the makings to be a game where UT plays over their heads and fools some into proclaiming their return to greatness. The former is the safest bet, with ‘Bama rolling in as 3 TD favorites, but I’m fascinated to see how this unfolds. 

Up Next: Home vs. #1 Alabama // Saturday, 11:00 am, FOX 

8. TEXAS TECH (W 63-10 vs. Murray State) 

The Red Raiders could earn a Top 25 win in only their second game under Joey McGuire, who earned his first collegiate victory as head coach last week. Much like Baylor-BYU, this contest seems like a natural rivalry in the new Big 12. 

Donovan Smith takes over as QB1 following the injury to Tyler Shough. At last glance, Tech remains a slight favorite at home. However, UH pulled out an incredible win vs. UTSA, and maybe it’s early enough in the season where that didn’t take too much out of them. 

For me, this is the definition of a toss-up game. 

Up Next: Home vs. #25 Houston // Saturday, 3:00 pm, FS1 

9. KANSAS (W 56-10 vs. Tennessee Tech) 

Blowing out FCS schools means KU Football is on the upswing, baby. Like many, I have high expectations for this program under Lance Leipold. Of course, the key will be keeping him around for the long haul, but that’s for later conversations. 

For now, the Jayhawks still have a massive disadvantage in overall talent and depth, but you can see certain pieces coming together to create some semblance of a threat and, ultimately, a foundation. Particularly with budding offensive stars like QB Jalon Daniels and RB Devin Neal. 

I’m not ready to jump on board with them moving to 2-0, but this upcoming trip to Morgantown will be incredibly telling and vital for both teams. 

Up Next: @ West Virginia // Saturday, 5:00 pm, BIG 12/ESPN+ 

10. WEST VIRGINIA (L 38-31 @ #17 Pittsburgh) 

JT Daniels gives WVU confidence at the QB position that has been sorely lacking, and they have some fun playmakers on both sides of the ball. You can see the potential for the Mountaineers as they develop and mature, but that was a brutal loss to rival Pitt, earning the Big 12 its only defeat in week one. Yes, some of their peers beat up on the lesser competition, but a loss is a loss, so WVU has to pull up the rear this week. 

I’d love to see WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton have a big game to shake off the negative feelings from last week’s deflection turned pick-six, which ultimately proved the game-winner for Pitt. 

Ultimately, Neal Brown’s team showed some flashes of promise, but that remaining goodwill could vanish if they faltered at home against an improving but still lowly Kansas program. 

Up Next: Home vs. Kansas // Saturday, 5:00 pm, BIG 12/ESPN+ 

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