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Berry Tramel

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Big 12 rankings: OSU, West Virginia move up

by Berry Tramel Modified: September 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm •  Published: September 1, 2014

West Virginia's Rushel Shell fights off Alabama's Kenyan Drake during a punt return Saturday. Bama beat the Mountaineers 33-23, but West Virginia gained a ton of respect for the Big 12. (AP Photo)
West Virginia's Rushel Shell fights off Alabama's Kenyan Drake during a punt return Saturday. Bama beat the Mountaineers 33-23, but West Virginia gained a ton of respect for the Big 12. (AP Photo)

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.

 

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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