I’ll rank the Big 12 football teams each week, usually on Sunday, but since the fightin’ Baylor Bears played Sunday night, this is a Labor Day special. I try to rank them based on this: how will the teams finish in the conference race? That’s not exactly the same as ranking them in terms of team quality or performance that week.
Before the season, I went with this preseason projection: OU, Baylor, K-State, OSU, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, West Virginia and Kansas. Needless to say, Week 1 changed my mind on some things:
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners looked strong against an overmatched foe. Beating Louisiana Tech 48-16 is no great feat, but plenty of majors had trouble with mid-majors, so at least the Sooners rolled.
2. Baylor: The Bears were supposed to be rebuilding on defense, but they shut out SMU 45-0. Who knew the Mustangs would miss Garrett Gilbert that much?
3. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys looked stout in taking Florida State to the wire. The schedule remains tough. But the Cowboys showed they are tough, too.
4. West Virginia: The Mountaineers did the Big 12 proud with a 33-23 loss to Alabama. I could have painted a scenario by which OSU hung with Florida State. I saw no scenario by which the Mountaineers hung with Bama. But danged if they didn’t do it.
5. Kansas State: The Wildcats rolled over Stephen F. Austin and soon enough get a chance to show their stuff against a big-time foe.
6. Texas: Beating North Texas 38-7 was impressive. But losing David Ash could sink the season before it barely begins.
7. TCU: Trevone Boykin playing well at quarterback was NOT good news for the Frogs. That means he’ll probably keep playing.
8. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders were taken to the edge by Central Arkansas, a I-AA foe that did not win the national championship last season.
9. Kansas: The Jayhawks don’t open the season until this Saturday.
10. Iowa State: Disastrous start. A loss to I-AA champ North Dakota State, plus the loss of star receiver Quinton Bundage. It’s going to be a long season in Ames.