Big 12 Football: Week 6 Power Rankings

With Week Six of the Big 12 Football calendar in the books, it’s time for another round of conference power rankings.

Baylor and West Virginia were on bye’s for Week six, so with just four in-conference games to review this weekend, it opened the doors for a little more scrutiny–especially considering both the Bears and Mountaineers are the solo undefeated teams in the conference.

Last weekend exposed some glaring issues among several teams, which caused more of a shakeup in in this week’s power rankings, compared to previous ones.

Disclaimer:

The following power rankings are based on observations for weeks 1-6, while forecasting playoff implications; there are no additional factors, so expect these rankings to change a lot this season based off how powerfully these teams are performing.

For those keeping track, here are my Big 12 Power Rankings for Week Five.

Oct 8, 2016; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys running back Barry Sanders (26) is tackled by Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Kane Seeley (29) during the second half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State won 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

10. Iowa State Cyclones (Record: 1-5)

For some reason, Iowa State just can’t seem to stitch together an entire football game. At first glance, the game plan looks good, until some moment causes the Cyclones to go into a retreat mode, and that was on display against the Cowboys this weekend.

To be leading both Baylor and Oklahoma State, and walk away with losses has to be frustrating, but unfortunately, it’s hard to find the silver lining when the game plan completely collapses, and especially hard to accept when it becomes a trend.

The Cyclones managed to pad a 10-point lead before getting shut out in the fourth quarter, where the defense surrendered a touchdown and a pair of field goals. Conditioning is usually part of the bigger picture why teams fail to produce late in games due to fatigue, so that’s an area Iowa State has to work on.

Next Game:

Sat, Oct 15 Texas vs. Iowa State Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.

Oct 8, 2016; Lawrence, KS, USA; TCU Horned Frogs running back Kyle Hicks (21) is tackled by Kansas Jayhawks safety Tevin Shaw (30) and cornerback Marnez Ogletree (10) in the second half at Memorial Stadium. TCU won the game 24-23. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

9. Kansas Jayhawks (Record: 1-4)

Kansas went into halftime against TCU trailing by just four points, but with a first quarter shutout, many believed the Jayhawks were controlling the game.

The Jayhawks were doing a nice job of containing TCU, and even managed three interceptions off Horned Frogs’ quarterback Kenny Hill. But on each of Kansas’ three possessions in the fourth quarter, moving the chains was an issue, which forced the Jayhawks to rely on kicker Matthew Wyman. Unfortunately for Kansas, Wyman missed 3/6 field goal attempts, and despite its best defensive efforts, ended up losing a tough one on the road by a single point.

Next Game:

 Sat, Oct 15 Baylor vs. Kansas Waco, Texas 2:30 p.m.

Oct 8, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Jordan Thomas (7) breaks up a pass intended for Texas Longhorns wide receiver Dorian Leonard (8) in the second quarter at Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

8. Texas Longhorns (Record: 2-3)

If you’re a Texas fan, you have to feel sick following Saturday’s Red River Rivalry against the Sooners. Texas was held to 247-yards less than Oklahoma, but lost by five points in Charlie Strong’s first game calling defensive plays. You’d think that with such a big gap in time of possession and total yards the score differential would be much bigger, but that only ads to frustration. The weaponry is there, but the execution is flawed.

With talk lately about how the win against Notre Dame was an overhyped fluke, a win against the No. 20 ranked Sooners could have dispelled some of those ideas. But Monday’s press conference with Strong was more of a plea to fans to stick with the team, and show their support.

With Coach Strong’s seat only getting hotter, it’s time for Texas to turn the page, but many fear it might be too late.

Next Game:

Sat, Oct 15 Texas vs. Iowa State Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.

Oct 8, 2016; Manhattan, KS, USA; Texas Tech warms up at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (Record: 3-2)

Texas Tech is about three touchdowns from being undefeated, and while a 3-2 record (1-1 in Big 12 play) seems like business as usual for the Red Raiders, they’re headed into a grey space that could define the rest of the season. Now whether that translates to wins or losses is entirely up to discipline, but there isn’t much time to make adjustments.

From penalties, soft offensive line coverage, and the usual defensive holes, Texas Tech is beating itself in several glaring categories. And even though quarterback Patrick Mahomes II put up 504-yards and five touchdowns (two in the air, and three rushing), he didn’t seem to be playing at full power, which is likely from his injury against Kansas the week prior.

The silver lining to the defense, is that it held the Wildcats to three field goals in the red zone–including two in the fourth quarter.

Next Game:

Sat, Oct 15 Texas Tech vs. West Virginia Lubbock, Texas 11:00 a.m.

Oct 8, 2016; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State fans spell out KSTATE on their stomachs at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

6.  Kansas State Wildcats (Record: 3-2)

Kansas State held Texas Tech to just 10 points in the second half of the game on Saturday, doing what few teams have been able to do all season in limiting the Red Raiders’ ability to mount points. That alone is a serious accomplishment for a team that hasn’t been particularly flashy on either side of the football. Sometimes slow and steady is the best weapon, and Bill Snyder’s team only seems to be improving as the season progresses.

Next Game:

Sat, Oct 15 Oklahoma vs. Kansas State Norman, Okla. 11:00 a.m.

Oct 8, 2016; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle DeQuinton Osborne (91) reacts after making a tackle against the Iowa State Cyclones during the second half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State won 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Record: 4-2)

A lot of people expected the Cowboys to mount quite the victory against Iowa State–especially considering its performance the week prior against Texas. Instead, Oklahoma State had to rally to overcome a 17-point deficit to beat Iowa State by seven points and avoid an upset.

Iowa State hasn’t beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater since 2000, so credit the Cowboys’ defense for shutting down the Cyclones in the fourth quarter.

Without a doubt, that was the game-changing element that prevented the upset. The Cowboys still gave up 488-yards, which says more about Iowa State’s tenacity than anything, but for the Cowboys to find success against high scoring units down the stretch, adjustments must be made now.

Next Game:

Sat, Oct 22 Kansas vs. Oklahoma State Lawrence, Kan. TBA

Oct 8, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners players pose with the golden hat after the game against the Texas Longhorns at Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma won 45-40. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

4. Oklahoma Sooners (Record: 3-2)

Oklahoma only beat Texas by five points, but it certainly seems like the point differential should much larger based off the takeaways from the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma looked really good on offense, despite two turnovers by quarterback Baker Mayfield. What could have been an ugly offensive performance was quickly turned around thanks to Dede Westbrook’s three touchdown catches, and Samaje Perine accounting for 214 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Defensively, the Sooners have a lot of work to improve upon as they gave up 425 total yards of offense against the Longhorns, and 23 first downs.

With close games like this, the Sooners also need to watch penalties, as simple errors could inevitably be difference makers at some point this season.

Next Game:

Sat, Oct 15 Oklahoma vs. Kansas State Norman, Okla. 11:00 a.m.

Oct 8, 2016; Lawrence, KS, USA; TCU Horned Frogs running back Kyle Hicks (21) is tackled by Kansas Jayhawks safety Tevin Shaw (30) and cornerback Marnez Ogletree (10) in the second half at Memorial Stadium. TCU won the game 24-23. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

3. TCU Horned Frogs (Record: 4-2)

TCU barely beat Kansas last week, and while TCU hung on by a point, there’s plenty to be irritated about if you’re Gary Patterson. Horned Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill might have kept a huge play alive following a facemark penalty that wasn’t whistled dead, but he also threw four interceptions against a Kansas team that shut TCU out for two whole quarters.

The TCU defense allowed 470 total yards of offense, but managed to keep the Jayhawks out of the end zone on two of three scoring drives in the third quarter.

TCU heads into a bye this week.

Next Game:

 Sat, Oct 22 West Virginia vs. TCU Morgantown, W. Va. TBA

Oct 1, 2016; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Skyler Howard (3) throws a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

2. West Virginia Mountaineers (Record: 4-0)

West Virginia is coming off a bye this week, and will travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech as one of two undefeated teams in the Big 12. The Red Raiders are looking to stay undefeated at home, so West Virginia will have to be locked in this week.

Next Game:

Sat, Oct 15 Texas Tech vs. West Virginia Lubbock, Texas 11:00 a.m.

Oct 1, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Seth Russell (17) avoids the tackle from Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Reggan Northrup (9) at Jack Trice Stadium. The Bears beat the Cyclones 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

1. Baylor Bears (Record: 5-0)

Baylor is undefeated and coming off a bye, but as the Bears face the Jayhawks this weekend, they need to take preparation seriously. Kansas almost upset TCU last weekend, and at some point in the season, an upset will happen.

Next Game:

 Sat, Oct 15 Baylor vs. Kansas Waco, Texas 2:30 p.m.

With what should be another big win over the Jayhawks next week, the Bears could remain at the top of the Big 12 standings for the rest of the year.

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