The 2020 college football season is here! The goal this year isn’t just to win a championship but to also beat COVID-19 in the process. As in previous years we’ll be releasing our weekly power rankings as voted by our contributors. Below the consensus rankings you’ll find the individual rankings from our writers with an explanation for each of the top three and the bottom two as well.
2020 Heartland Sports Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings
|2. Oklahoma State||45|
|4. Iowa State||36|
|7. Kansas State||18|
|8. Texas Tech||16|
|9. West Virginia||14|
1. Oklahoma- Despite losing their best offensive weapons to either the NFL or opting out due to COVID, they have Lincoln Riley, a good offensive line and another strong armed highly touted QB to go along with an improving Alex Grinch defense which makes them the favorites until proven otherwise.
2. Oklahoma State- Gundy FINALLY CUT HIS MULLET!!! Hopefully despite all the turmoil this offseason everyone is focused and on the same page. With 10 returning starters on defense and all the skill players returning with adding some transfers at corner and WR, this should be a special season in Stillwater.
3. Texas- Well they weren’t back last year. I don’t think they’re back this year. I don’t know what they expect to change this season that makes them so much closer to being back. We’ll find out how much of Oklahoma State’s offense Yurcich brings with him but they still lost their best receivers. Overhauling of coaching staffs with the same head coach doesn’t usually turn into championships immediately. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong.
4. Iowa State
7. Texas Tech
8. Kansas State
9. West Virginia- If the Mountaineers get better QB play this season, I would not be surprised if they move up this list pretty quickly but that is a big IF. The defense last season were not pushovers but did not get much help from the offense. Neal Brown has his work cut out for him.
10. Kansas- Can Les Miles get this team out of the cellar this year? I have to see it to believe it. With a talented running back Pooka Williams back this season, they have a chance to take a step forward but I have my doubts.
1. Oklahoma Sooners | There are a handful of new names taking over starting roles throughout the team. With plenty of firepower at various positions, the program appears primed to pace the rest of the league offensively. However, it’s the improvements on the defensive side of the ball that most people continue to hope for. Taking a step forward is the expectation once again under the direction Alex Grinch. Clearly the most talented team on paper, it’s hard to dethrone a team looking for a sixth consecutive Big 12 Title.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys | Returning 10 starters on the defensive side of the ball bodes well for a team looking to challenge for the crown. Combined with Hubbard, Sanders, and Wallace on the offensive side of the ball, this may be Mike Gundy’s most complete team since 2011. There are concerns on the offensive line though and that could ultimately hold this group back from reaching their full potential. Still, OSU looks stout in every aspect of the game and will be a difficult task for any and all opponents.
3. Texas Longhorns | The roster hosts plenty of talented players with a 4-year starter at quarterback in Sam Ehlinger. The qualities of experience, tenacity, and leadership exist. But, getting the individual to buy in and live up to the hype has been a struggle for over a decade now. Realistically, the Longhorns could fall to No. 4 on this list in the preseason but the talent is undeniable. It’s largely why I believe Texas takes the final spot in the top three.
4. Iowa State Cyclones
5. TCU Horned Frogs
6. Baylor Bears
7. Kansas State Wildcats
8. West Virginia Mountaineers
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders | Over the course of his career, Alan Bowman has suffered injury after injury. The ranking is largely based on his ability to stay healthy — something that is unproven up to this point in time. Knowing the pass defense struggled in the past and the quarterback play is taking a leap forward, it’s not a good recipe for TTU.
10. Kansas Jayhawks | Presenting themselves as a bright spot on the team, Parchment and Williams are capable of carrying the offense. While the defense remains a liability, it’s hard to buy into a program that has not produced a three win season in years.
1. Oklahoma | New year, same story. You have to beat the champ to be the champ, and nobody has beaten OU—in the conference championship, anyways—in a while.
2. Oklahoma State | The Cowboys might be the most talented and experienced team across the board, but that doesn’t always equate to wins. Gundy needs to coach his tail off this year to put the offseason drama behind him.
3. Texas | Sam Ehlinger is good, but the Longhorns still haven’t done anything to prove to me that Texas is in fact “back.” Maybe this is their year?
4. Iowa State
7. Kansas State
8. Texas Tech
9. West Virginia | It’s been a tough go in Morgantown since Dana Holgorsen left for Houston, and I’m not sure it gets any better this season. Maybe they can beat Kansas and stay away from the bottom spot in the conference.
10. Kansas | Lawrence is still a basketball town, and while Les Miles made some improvements in his first year last season, the Jayhawks are still the Jayhawks. They need to actually beat some teams this year to move out of the basement.
1. Oklahoma | While the Sooners will certainly be looking to rebuild their offense in 2020, the road to the Big 12 Championship still goes through Oklahoma. After five straight conference titles someone has to knock off the Sooners before they are no longer at the top spot. With highly touted five star recruit Spencer Rattler at the helm of the offense, and a defense in its second season under Alex Grinch, Oklahoma is poised to make another conference championship run.
2. Oklahoma State | The second and third spot is honestly up for grabs, but I’ve got to go with the Cowboys based off of their returning talent alone. Returning both Tylan Wallace and Chuba Hubbard automatically makes them one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. That being said, don’t forget about their defense either. The Cowboys will be tough on the defensive side of the ball with Kolby Harvell-Peel and Amen Ogbongbemiga both returning. If Mike Gundy can get his team to perform as good as they look on paper, they could be a real contender in the Big 12.
3. Texas | The Longhorns are another team that comes into the 2020 season looking very good on paper. They’ve got tons of talent on the defensive side, and a lot of potential on the offensive side of things. Sam Elhinger is the big question mark for this team. If he can live up to the hype and carry this team they will no doubt have a shot at the Big 12 title. But, how many years in a row have we seen a Texas team underperform? Will this actually be the year that Texas is back?
4. Iowa State
7. West Virginia
8. Kansas State
9. Texas Tech | After going 4-8 a year ago the Red Raiders will look to bounce back this season. The biggest issue is replacing the talent lost on the offensive line and of course the ever lasting defensive struggles at Texas Tech. With only conference play this season, I find it hard to see the Red Raiders winning more than a handful of games.
10. Kansas | I fully believe that Les Miles is the guy to turn around the football program at Kansas. That being said, it’s kind of hard to rank them any higher than dead last with the results in Lawrence for the last decade. They have a real star at the running back position in Pooka Williams, but can Les Miles find a quarterback to lead this team?
1. Oklahoma | Granted, the Sooners are closer now to the rest of the pack than they have been in several years but they’re still Kings of the Conference until proven otherwise. Oklahoma will lean on the best offensive line in the Big 12 to help a new quarterback, running backs, and a slew of young receivers get acclimated.
2. Oklahoma State | Question marks along the offensive line are keeping the Pokes from topping my list. The three-headed monster of Spencer Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, and Tylan Wallace is going to frustrate a lot of defensive coordinators this season.
3. Iowa State | Brock Purdy is the Big 12’s best quarterback as the season gets started. He’ll have the luxury of throwing to the best tight end duo in the conference and trusting an extremely strong defense.
6. Texas Tech
8. West Virginia
9. Kansas | Hey look! I don’t have the Jayhawks last to start the season. Hopefully they don’t make me look foolish.
10. Kansas State | I’m thinking the Wildcats fall on tough times this season but they’re certainly building towards something good in Manhattan.
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