We have a new No. 1 team this week after a big-time battle in Morgantown, West Virginia, plus a countless number of single-game records after a shootout in Lubbock, Texas.
The Big 12 power rankings after Week 8:
1. West Virginia (previous ranking: 2): We’re moving the Mountaineers up to No. 1 this week based on their 34-10 pounding of TCU and the fact that they’ve notched five good wins against Power 5 foes on their way to 6-0. Remember how the big question marks going into this season were supposed to be the play of quarterback Skyler Howard and West Virginia’s defense? Both were fantastic on Saturday, and Howard’s receivers made some unreal catches. Another huge test comes up next at Oklahoma State.
2. Baylor (1): After one of the easiest four-week stretches in the history of Big 12 football -- Iowa State, bye, Kansas, bye -- we’re about to find out just how good these Bears are as they begin their meaty second-half schedule. Baylor’s defense ranks No. 1 in the conference in scoring, yards per play, pass defense and several more categories and should have some fun attacking Texas’ imitation offense Saturday.
3. Oklahoma (3): No way could Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops have slept well Saturday night after watching Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes shred his defense over and over and over again. But Oklahoma got incredible performances from Baker Mayfield, Joe Mixon and Dede Westbrook and escaped Lubbock with a 66-59 victory in a game that should be forever remembered in the FBS and Big 12 record books.
4. Oklahoma State (4): The Cowboys’ defense helped pry open a tight game against Kansas with some big-time takeaways, setting them up for a 20-0 run to finish off a 44-20 win on the road. On a quiet day for James Washington, running backs Justice Hill (162 yards) and a healthy Chris Carson (three total touchdowns) did a nice job of keeping the offense moving.
5. Kansas State (7): The 24-21 victory over Texas was the Purple Wizard at his finest: Coach Bill Snyder wanted to control the clock and the game with long, patient drives on offense, and the Longhorns couldn’t stop it. Jesse Ertz executed that plan perfectly, keeping K-State’s offense on the field for almost two-thirds of the game. Second-half turnovers made it interesting late, and Ertz hitting his injured shoulder is concerning, but overall it’s a nice win.
6. TCU (5): Coach Gary Patterson told reporters last week that he hasn’t “pushed enough buttons” with his team. He’s going to be mashing those buttons this week after watching the Horned Frogs suffer their worst loss as a member of the Big 12. The loss at West Virginia started with a fumbled opening kickoff and never got any easier for the Frogs. It's a tough setback for a team whose best win thus far is against SMU.
7. Texas (6): It was another mistake-filled game from the Longhorns featuring drops, penalties, a missed field goal and a defense that could not get off the field. Another 3-4 start for Charlie Strong, who’ll have to pull off an upset or two to reach six wins. Another very losable game Saturday against an undefeated Baylor team that will show no mercy.
8. Texas Tech (8): Mahomes had one of the most unbelievable performances in the history of college football -- 88 pass attempts, 52 completions, 734 passing yards, 819 of his team’s 854 total yards -- yet it wasn’t enough to beat the Sooners. It should not be possible that one player does all that in a game and still loses. Nor should it be possible for that player’s defense to give up 854 yards and 66 points.
9. Iowa State (9): The Cyclones got a bye week that was probably quite welcome after a 1-6 start: They needed some time off to get guys healthy. With four of their final five games at home and the lone road game coming at Kansas, the Cyclones do have an opportunity to show some progress and win another game or two late in coach Matt Campbell’s debut season.
10. Kansas (10): The Jayhawks switched quarterbacks again, going with Montell Cozart over Ryan Willis, and did some nice things offensively while giving Oklahoma State a fight in Saturday's first half. One of these days, KU will pull off a stunning win over somebody in Big 12 play. But this team’s knack for turnovers (25 in seven games) makes that so much harder to accomplish.