We are three games into the season for most college football teams. There is only so much we have learned, but we do know what teams are impressing and what teams are disappointing.
The BYU Cougars are not one of those disappointing teams. After an unremarkable first two games, quarterback Kedon Slovis and company took over Fayetteville, Arkansas in a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
BYU is one of the few Big 12 teams that have lived up to expectations. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Cincinnati, Kansas State and Iowa State have all suffered significant upset losses. That’s half of the teams in the Big 12.
Let’s rank the top teams in the conference heading into Week 4 of the 2023 season.
Iowa State Cyclones (1-2)
Iowa State is 1-2 following an embarrassing home loss to the Ohio Bobcats. The Cyclones’ lone win came against FCS in-state opponent Northern Iowa. Iowa State is far and away the worst team in the conference through three games.
Houston Cougars (1-2)
Houston got rolled by TCU after falling to Rice in overtime the Saturday prior. The nice win over UTSA has been tarnished by the team’s last two games.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-1)
Oklahoma State got clobbered at home by South Alabama, 33-7. We were not too high on the Cowboys given how much they lost. Talent and continuity matter, and Oklahoma State simply lost too much of both after the 2022 season.
West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1)
West Virginia did plenty for its reputation in its impressive win over Pittsburgh. There are still questions about the team’s offense, but the Mountaineers could be a difficult game for several Big 12 teams.
Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1)
Cincinnati suffered a tough loss last week to Miami (Ohio), but there’s a strong possibility the loss revolved around early preparation for the team’s matchup with Oklahoma this week. Saturday could reveal whether or not that theory is true.
Baylor Bears (1-2)
I don’t believe Baylor is done, but the loss of Blake Shapen for this week’s game against Texas and prior games puts a strain on the team. When Shapen is back, the Bears could return to playing up to expectations.
UCF Golden Knights (3-0)
UCF has the No. 1 offense by yards per game (617.7) in college football. That number is bound to decrease without injured quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. Should he return, the Knights could vault high up the power rankings.
Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-2)
Texas Tech ranked eighth in last week’s power rankings. Not much changed other than fellow league members playing poorly. The Red Raiders still have the high ceiling we projected in the offseason, but have a lot to prove in the next few games.
Kansas State Wildcats (2-1)
K-State falls from No. 3 last week to No. 6 in our Big 12 power rankings. You can’t lose to SEC cellar dweller Missouri in the fashion the Wildcats lost. Kansas State’s defense was very poor in pass defense as we predicted they could be this season. Offenses like Texas Tech, TCU and Texas have to be licking their chops about attacking downfield.
TCU Horned Frogs (2-1)
TCU has bounced back in a big way since losing to Colorado. In that upset loss, the Horned Frogs offense looked good at times. After a 36-13 win over Houston, the offense is starting to put it all together.
Kansas Jayhawks (3-0)
The Jayhawks keep plugging away through their non-conference schedule. Quarterback Jalon Daniels is set up for a strong season in Lawrence.
BYU Cougars (3-0)
BYU checked in at No. 11 last week, but rises to No. 3 in this ranking. The team put forth plenty of positive tape in a win over Arkansas. Can they keep this level of play going as the season goes along?
Oklahoma Sooners (3-0)
Earlier this week, we mentioned the Sooners would be a difficult game for Texas. Don’t mistake that for us backtracking on the Red River game. We saw Brent Venables defense look lost against Texas and need to see his team perform in that game. We get to see Oklahoma face its first real competition in combined size and athleticism this week against Cincinnati. We will know more about the Sooners after facing their first Power Five opponent this weekend.
Texas Longhorns (3-0)
The Texas Longhorns are 3-0 with double-digit wins over three bowl teams from last season. Texas’ wins include a victory in one of college football’s toughest road environments against the Alabama Crimson Tide. All three 2023 opponents have a strong change to win eight games this season. The Longhorns rank No. 3 in the AP Top 25. Until beaten, Texas will likely man the top spot in these rankings.