Iowa State is once again Team Chaos, while Oklahoma State continues to tumble, there’s a new number one, and K-State is out of the basement. There’s a lot of movement in week eight of the power rankings, so let’s get into it!
Tier 1 – The Contenders
1. Texas – The now 7th-ranked Longhorns survived Baylor and take over the top spot in the conference as further proof that Texas is indeed back. While the Baylor game wasn’t a particularly impressive performance, it was a trap game situation coming off the Red River Showdown, they lost their starting quarterback early in the game, and still managed to win. They have an extra week to prepare before heading to Stillwater.
2. Oklahoma – The Sooner’s managed to hold their bye week to zero points, and were rewarded two spots in the AP Poll — now 9th — for their efforts. Up next, they face TCU in Fort Worth as one of just two Big 12 games this weekend.
3. West Virginia – Despite the curb-stomping from Iowa State on Saturday night, the Mountaineer’s still control their own destiny since both Texas and Oklahoma are still left on the schedule. Plus, they don’t need to finish first. They just need to be in the top two at the end of the season, which is very doable if they can pick themselves up. They have an extra week to regroup before welcoming Baylor to Morgantown.
Tier 2 – Team Chaos
4. Iowa State – Team Chaos was in full control Saturday night as the Cyclones ran the Mountaineers out of Jack Trice Stadium. In fact, after spoiling the 2nd-ranked Cowboy’s season in 2011, upsetting 15th-ranked TCU in 2012, beating both 3rd-ranked Oklahoma and 4th-ranked TCU last season, and now knocking off 6th-ranked West Virginia, Team Chaos has an official mascot and it’s a birdnado.
5. Texas Tech – What a job Kliff Kingsbury has done this season. Neither Oklahoma nor Texas are looking forward to facing the Red Raiders in Lubbock in the upcoming weeks, so there’s still plenty of damage the Red Raiders can do. Especially, once Alan Bowman gets healthy. And that’s the biggest concern with Texas Tech right now: player attrition. Injuries are taking their toll on Kingsbury’s squad, but they still have an outside shot at the Big 12 Title with just one Big 12 loss so far.
Tier 3 – Fighting For Bowl Eligibility
6. TCU – This is not the season we projected for the Horned Frogs. The preseason expectation of competing for the Big 12 Title is gone, and with Oklahoma up next, it might get worse before it gets better. The good news is that the Horned Frogs need three wins to become bowl eligible and have Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State still on the schedule.
7. Baylor – The Bears put up a valiant effort in Austin, and you can tell things are starting to come together for coach Matt Rhule’s squad. They are flirting with bowl eligibility after winning just one game a season ago. They need two wins, but they won’t come easy. They have West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, TCU and Texas Tech remaining. With weapons like Charlie Brewer, Jalen Hurd and Denzel Mims though, two wins out of that group is definitely possible.
Tier 4 – The Hopeless
8. Kansas State – After a terrible start to the season, the Wildcats got it together against the Cowboys. Unfortunately, it’s most likely too little, too late to salvage a bowl game. The win on Saturday improved the Wildcats record to 3-4, but of course that means they still need three wins to go to a bowl game. There an opportunity left to get maybe one more win, or possibly even two, but three seems unlikely with three of their remaining five opponents are in the top half of this week’s power rankings.
9. Oklahoma State – Speaking of bleak bowl chances, we’ve arrived at Oklahoma State. At 4-3, the Cowboys need just two wins to become bowl eligible, but it feels like that number might as well be 100, because it’s hard to see where those two wins will come from on the remaining schedule. After their bye week, the Pokes face Texas at home, and then travel to Waco to play a significantly improved Baylor team. After that, they have Bedlam in Norman and then play West Virginia the following week. The Pokes then wrap up the season at TCU. For a team that is coming off back-to-back blowout home losses against the 5th and 8th teams in the power rankings, and struggled against Kansas on the road, that’s a daunting slate.
10. Kansas – Welp, it was a good run, but the Jayhawks have returned to the basement. With back-to-back-to-back losses, it’s hard to remember the team that smashed Central Michigan 31-7 and blasted Rutgers 55-14, and it’s starting to look like those might be Kansas’ only two wins. After all, there’s only so much Pooka Williams Jr can do.