Big 12 power rankings after critical games in Austin and Stillwater

The Big 12 title race is down to the final lap as a handful of teams vie for one of two spots in the title game. Two teams emerged as favorites on Saturday.

We’ll start with Oklahoma State, perhaps the biggest surprise of the season. The Cowboys started the season 2-2 with a 33-7 home loss to South Alabama and road loss to Iowa State. We might of wrote them off, but they didn’t quit.

Since those losses, the Cowboys are playing as well as anybody in the Big 12 conference. The Pokes secured wins over Kansas and Kansas State before knocking Oklahoma out of first place in the Big 12 this week.

We predicted an Oklahoma State victory over Oklahoma but not in the way the game unfolded. The Cowboys defense clamped down on the Oklahoma Sooners offense and won 27-24.

Let’s rank Big 12 teams heading into the final three games of the season.

Cincinnati Bearcats (2-7)

Cincinnati is 0-6 in conference play after losing to the UCF Golden Knights on Saturday. The win for UCF was its first in conference play despite last second battles with Oklahoma and Baylor.

UCF Golden Knights (4-5)

UCF earned its first conference victory over Cincinnati on Saturday, but the team has looked better offensively than its record this season. The Knights look to finish the season strong.

Baylor Bears (3-6)

Baylor is 2-4 in conference play this season after losing to the Houston Cougars. Will the loss be rock bottom for the Bears?

BYU Cougars (5-4)

BYU is in a downward spiral after another blowout loss. This loss came at the hands of West Virginia. They fall to 2-4 in Big 12 games.

Houston Cougars (4-5)

The Houston Cougars might be 4-5, but they appear on the rise after the last few weeks. Add an upset road victory over Baylor to its resume after shocking West Virginia and giving Texas a scare a couple weeks ago.

TCU Horned Frogs (4-5)

TCU might be a bad football team, and the loss to Texas Tech would indicate as much. Even so, they’re a team the Texas Longhorns will need to take seriously this week.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-5)

The train isn’t completely off the tracks in Lubbock after a seven-point win over TCU. That said, the season is still a major disappointment for Red Raider faithful. Can they make a late push for a bowl game?

Iowa State Cyclones (5-4)

The Cyclones lost to the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, and are effectively eliminated from Big 12 title contention. Don’t let that distract from the job head coach Matt Campbell has done to bring Iowa State within a win of bowl contention after two non-conference losses.

West Virginia Mountaineers (6-3)

West Virginia might still have more to play for than Iowa State has after a dominant Mountaineer win on Saturday. Next up for the team is a road trip to Norman to face an Oklahoma Sooners team it beat a season ago.

Kansas State Wildcats (6-3)

Despite several gifts, through Texas turnovers, schematic changes and missed opportunities, K-State proved unable to make the Longhorns pay for mistakes Saturday. While still a good team, the ‘Cats are now all but eliminated from the Big 12 title race with head-to-head losses to Texas and Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma Sooners (7-2)

After starting the season 7-0 with an impressive win over Texas, the Oklahoma Sooners have fallen apart the last two weeks. The Sooners fell to the Oklahoma State Cowboys by a field goal on the road this week.

Kansas Jayhawks (7-2)

Kansas proved its mettle in avoiding a letdown after defeating Oklahoma last week. Nobody should want any part of facing Kansas right now. The Jayhawks will need one of two current Big 12 leaders to lose twice for any chance at the title game.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-2)

Oklahoma State had its rival Oklahoma on skates at times on Saturday. The Cowboys took advantage of the off-balanced Sooners and earned their fifth-straight win in conference play. The next-longest winning streak among Big 12 teams is Texas with three consecutive wins.

Texas Longhorns (8-1)

The Texas Longhorns are 8-1 and likely to stay in the College Football Playoff’s top eight teams this week. While Saturday’s win over K-State wasn’t the prettiest ending, the team found a way to win against a ranked opponent with its backup quarterback.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire