2021 Big 12 Football Initial Power Rankings

It’s here! We have reached the Big 12’s first game week of the 2021 college football season and that means a return of the conference power rankings. Below is our initial set of rankings followed by some of our individual thoughts. Each week we’ll adjust the rankings based on each respective team’s play on the field.

We already have a couple of ties in the rankings with TCU and West Virginia knotted up at #5 and Baylor and Texas Tech fighting to stay out of the Kansas shadow at the bottom of the rankings.

Hit us up in the comments and let us know where you agree and disagree with out rankings.

2021 Heartland Sports Initial Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma40
2. Iowa State 36
3. Oklahoma State 32
4. Texas 26
5. TCU23
5. West Virginia23
7. Kansas State16
8. Baylor10
8. Texas Tech10
10. Kansas4

Individual Thoughts


1. Oklahoma | Returning one of the best running backs in conference, Kennedy Brooks, while adding Eric Gray should take much pressure off Spencer Rattler. Combined with an improving defense, this team remains poised for yet another Big 12 Title. Clearly at the top of the food chain, the Sooners will need to lose before I’m ready to take them out of the top spot.

2. Iowa State | Despite returning a plethora of talent, the Cyclones have yet to claim a league championship. However, this is a group that could easily play the role of spoiler once again. Knowing the offense is on par, the defense will need to limit big plays on the back end. 

3. Oklahoma State | Retaining a starting quarterback as well as a head coach, the Cowboys are in a favorable position this year. The only thing that’s been lacking has been consistent play throughout the duration of the season. At this point OSU must prove it to keep it but is worthy of a top three spot in my rankings. 

4. Texas

5. TCU

6. West Virginia

7. Kansas State

8. Texas Tech

9. Baylor | A program that went 2-7 last year could easily start with a three game win streak in 2021. After that, it’s anyone’s call as to how well this team will perform. Simply put, there are too many unknowns.

10. Kansas | You know the drill here…


1. Oklahoma | No surprise to see Oklahoma coming in at number one here. Coming off of six straight conference titles and they are returning one of the best teams Oklahoma has had in years. With a year of experience under Spencer Rattler’s belt, and a returning Marvin Mims and Jadon Haselwood, Oklahoma is primed for a national championship run. 

2. Iowa State | There is a lot to be excited about for Iowa State fans. Brock Purdy is back for another season, and they also have one of the best returning defenses. They will be the toughest contender in the conference, but can they live up to the hype? There hasn’t been this much buzz around a Cyclone football in the school’s history. 

3. Oklahoma State | I feel like Oklahoma State will be a top three team in the conference. They certainly have the defense for it. The biggest question is whether or not Spencer Sanders can stay healthy? He was unproven a year ago, and showed some potential when he was healthy. If he stays on the field I think the Cowboys have a solid season. 

4. Texas 

5. West Virginia 

6. TCU 

7. Kansas State 

8. Baylor 

9. Texas Tech | A year ago the Red Raiders got off to a pretty decent start. They ended up going on a big losing streak to finish the season 4-6. I could see them getting off to a similar start this year, but then falling behind when conference play starts. 

10. Kansas | It’s now been thirteen years since the Jayhawks played in the Orange Bowl. For more than the last decade Kansas has been the laughing stock in Big 12 football. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anything is going to change anytime soon. 


1. Oklahoma | Putting the Sooners at the top is a no-brainer. Spencer Rattler is the preseason Heisman favorite, which is great, but when you’ve won six consecutive conference championships, you get to maintain the claim to the no. 1 spot until someone else steps up and does something about it.

2. Iowa State | The Cyclones have been on the cusp of greatness for a couple of seasons now, but they’ve yet to get over that hump of beating the Sooners when it counts. With heavy experience returning on both sides of the ball, this may be the year that Iowa State wears the Big 12 crown. 

3. Oklahoma State | The Cowboys had what I would call as weird of a season as I’ve seen in the last couple of decades. Despite an 8-3 record, which included wins over Iowa State and the University of Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl, Oklahoma State struggled to defeat the easy teams, lost games against Texas and TCU that they easily could have—and perhaps should have—won, and got blown out by the Sooners in Norman. With that being said, they have a ton of experience returning, so they should be considered a dark horse to win the Big 12.

4. TCU

5. Texas

6. West Virginia

7. Kansas State

8. Baylor

9. Texas Tech | The Matt Wells era in Lubbock is off to a rough start, and it’s not likely to get much better any time soon. With just 4 wins in each of his first two seasons as head coach, Wells could be on the hot seat as soon as this season. 

10. Kansas | I don’t really ever feel bad for the Jayhawks simply because they’ve always got their success in basketball to fall back on. It really is wild how bad their football team has been for such a long time now, but at least they can’t get any worse than their 0 wins last season.


1. Oklahoma | Winners of six consecutive conference titles, the Sooners return a stacked offense and possibly the best defense they’ve fielded since the 2009 season.

2. Iowa State | Iowa State split two games with Oklahoma last season, winning in Ames and losing in the conference championship game. Those two will definitely enter the 2021 season as the Titans of the Big 12. 

3. Oklahoma State | The Pokes need better offensive line play and Spencer Sanders to stay healthy all season. If they get that then they’ll be in the thick of the conference championship race. 

4. West Virginia 

5. Texas 

6. TCU 

7. Kansas State 

8. Texas Tech 

9. Baylor | The Bears were 2-7 last season and ranked 101st in scoring (23.3 PPG) and 63rd in defense (29.2 PPG).

10. Kansas | We’ve got zero expectations here. 

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