Big 12 power rankings: Baylor and Oklahoma to settle No. 1 spot this week

The Big 12 is heading toward a Baylor-Oklahoma conference championship game. Plain and not to simple, after their hold-your-breath victories Saturday.

Oklahoma intercepted a two-point conversion pass to elude being upset by Iowa State. Baylor added another chapter to its book of surreal wins with a triple-overtime defeat of TCU.

Thus, coach Matt Rhule’s Bears are still standing tall as the Big 12’s lone unbeaten during a season that suddenly gets real. Baylor is at home against Oklahoma on Saturday, and then entertains Texas on Nov. 23.

Those two games — and assuming a regular-season finale win at Kansas — will determine if this bizarre 2019 season continues with a spot in the conference championship game.

Baylor coach Matt Rhule reacts after defeating this team defeated TCU in triple overtime at Amon G. Carter Stadium. (Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

Winning wacky has been the Bears’ DNA, another strain showing up last Saturday in Fort Worth. Add that to a last-second field-goal victory against Iowa State, and a double-overtime win against Texas Tech that included the conference admitting an overtime officiating error, and you come up with . . .

Unbeaten.

So for the third week in a row, Rhule’s team tops the USA TODAY Network’s Big 12 power ratings.

1. Baylor (9-0, 6-0 Big 12)

Last week’s rating: No. 1.

Last week: Defeated TCU 29-23 (3 OT).

Down the stretch: It’s not luck that has coach Matt Rhule’s team among the nation’s unbeatens, it’s being in the right place at the right time to pounce on the many opportunities that opponents have offered. Don’t be shocked that continues Saturday against Oklahoma, and against Texas and Kansas after that. Expect it.

Next: Saturday vs. Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC.

2. Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1 Big 12)

Last week’s rating: No. 2.

Last week: Defeated Iowa State 42-41.

Down the stretch: Three times, the Sooners had 21-point leads against Iowa State, including 42-21 heading into the fourth quarter. It took an interception of Brock Purdy’s two-point conversion pass to remain a game behind Baylor during an epic contest that was entertaining from start to finish. The Sooners close the season at Baylor, home against TCU and at Oklahoma State.

Next: Saturday at Baylor, 7:30 p.m., ABC.

3. Oklahoma State (6-3, 3-3 Big 12)

Last week’s rating: No. 5.

Last week: Idle.

Down the stretch: Now that the Cowboys’ ship has been righted, there’s a shot for at least eight victories, which isn’t bad after three losses during a four-game stretch. Kansas and at West Virginia are the next two games, and then there’s a Nov. 30 home date against Oklahoma.

Next: Saturday vs. Kansas, noon, FS1.

4. Texas (6-3, 4-2 Big 12)

Last week’s rating: No. 4.

Last week: Defeated Kansas State 27-24.

Down the stretch: Beating the Wildcats on a last-play field goal probably didn’t quiet Tom Herman’s critics; they’re going to be there – even after a win, albeit a close one. Saturday, he returns to Iowa State, where he was a former offensive coordinator, and then it’s at Baylor and at home against Texas Tech.

Next: Saturday at Iowa State, 3:30 p.m., FS1.

5. Kansas State (6-3, 3-3 Big 12)

Last week’s rating: No. 3.

Last week: Lost to Texas 27-24

Down the stretch: Losing on a last-play field goal doesn’t make it any easier for Chris Klieman, however his team played mostly well against a desperate Texas outfit. There’s still time for more wins – with West Virginia, Texas Tech and Iowa State to finish the season. Whatever happens, it’s been a great first Power Five season for the former FCS North Dakota State coach.

Next: Saturday vs. West Virginia, 3:30 p.m., ESPN.

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