The Sooners looked vulnerable at times against West Virginia, but when the going got tough, they stepped up, and that’s a good sign for OU. Once again, redshirt sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight was nothing special, but they are still finding ways to win. The defense stepped up in the second half to correct its issues, but the most encouraging part of the last few weeks has been freshman running back Samaje Perine, who rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns against West Virginia.
Redshirt senior quarterback Bryce Petty looks better and better every week. In his last start, he threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns with no picks. He has a lot of offensive weapons at his disposal, helping him lead the nation’s highest scoring offense. But the defense is most important for the Bears. Will it be good enough? So far, yes. They have allowed just nine points per game — second in the nation. But keep in mind, that’s against SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo.
3. Kansas State
The Wildcats were a good field goal kicker away from pulling off the upset against No. 5 Auburn. With that performance, they solidified their position as the conference’s third-best team. They are a ways behind Oklahoma and Baylor, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Head coach Bill Snyder gets the best of his team each season, and this season is no exception.
4. Oklahoma State
Behind a balanced attack, the Cowboys crushed a surprisingly good UTSA team in their last game. Senior running back Desmond Roland is making a case for the Big 12’s best rusher, while junior Daxx Garman has taken a stronghold on the quarterback position. Their only loss so far is a six point defeat at the hands of No. 1 Florida State — nothing to frown about.
5. West Virginia
The Mountaineers are the biggest surprise of the Big 12 so far. West Virginia played a close game against both No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Oklahoma. But they also let Maryland hang around, so they may play down to their competition. Their offense is legit, putting up at least 33 points against all opponents except Alabama. Redshirt senior quarterback Clint Trickett is putting the team on his back, throwing for at least 348 yards in every game.
Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is getting his footing under him, but the Longhorn defense is struggling to stop the run. Right now, the Longhorns are inexperienced, especially on the offensive line, but as Swoopes becomes more and more comfortable, the Longhorns could shoot up the rankings and battle for a top-four spot.
The Horned Frogs are still undefeated and play SMU next. That’s a good start, but they lack the talent at important positions to fight for a top spot in the Big 12. They aren’t ready yet, and it will be apparent when Oklahoma and Baylor get to beat up on them in October.
8. Iowa State
The Cyclones missed a huge upset opportunity against Kansas State, but they proved they can compete with one of the top teams in the conference. They simply lack the talent to do so consistently.
9. Texas Tech
The Red Raider defense is atrocious, with or without its coordinator. Sophomore quarterback Davis Webb and the explosive Tech offense won’t be able to make up for that against stout Big 12 competition.
The Jayhawks are 2-1 so far, and if they win just one more game this season, it should be considered a success. It’s all Big 12 opponents from here on out, and that doesn’t bode well for Charlie Weis and Co.