Last week I was hesitant to move teams too far based on the results of just two games. This week I am not. The Jayhawks make the leap to the top slot. Why this week? First, look at the quality of each undefeated team’s schedule to date. Second, look at who is generating the most national talk this week.
Half the conference is undefeated. One of those teams, TCU, is 2-0, while the rest are 3-0. So my focus falls on those four: Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State. I will work backward through the list
First, Iowa State leaves me unconvinced as to its quality. Yes, they beat in-state rival Iowa for once, but the Hawkeyes are, shall we say, suspect on offense. This means Iowa State’s schedule is no better than the Jayhawks. Their wins are over Iowa, Ohio, and Southeast Missouri, and their offense does not match the Jayhawks so far this season.
Next on the list is Oklahoma State. They, like KU, rely on their offense to carry the day. They have beaten Central Michigan in a game that should have been a blowout but was not as the Chippewas closed the gap in the second half making the Cowboys sweat it out at the end of the game. Last week they treated Arkansas - Pine Bluff like KU treated Tennesee Tech. Sandwiched between those two wins is a game that on paper seems to be a quality win, beating Arizona State 34-17 at home. But with the tiniest bit of scrutiny, this win should be looked at as not much better than beating Arkansas - Pine Bluff. Arizona State opened its season with a comfortable victory over Northern Arizona, the aforementioned loss to OSU, and a loss to Eastern Michigan 30-21 at home. From the video making its way around the internet, it does not look like Herm Edwards even got off the field before he was fired. So OSU’s schedule, like Iowa State’s, is no better and probably worse than KU’s.
Now we come to Oklahoma, the annual threat to win the conference. This will be short and simple. Must I go into detail about their schedule? UTEP, Kent State, and Nebraska. No, they may not have played a team as low on quality as Tennesse Tech, but none of those teams, not even Nebraska, compare to the quality of West Virginia or Houston.
Last the Jayhawks. Why should they be the top team in my power rankings? First, as noted above, their schedule is comparable to the other undefeated teams. Second, KU has a quarterback and offense playing better than anyone in the conference.
Lastly, which team is generating more national talk, and by transference, wielding more power than the Jayhawks? Simple answer, no one. No one is pressuring SportsCenter to get to Ames, Norman, or Stillwater. No other quarterback in the conference is generating more Heisman talk since the season started, than Jalon Daniels. So at this moment in time, there is no team in the conference playing better and generating more national talk than the Kansas Jayhawks.
This week’s rankings:
- KU: 3-0 against a tougher schedule than OU.
- OU: Compare their opponents’ SP+ rankings to KU’s opponents.
- Baylor: The loss to BYU is already aging poorly.
- Texas: Ended up handling UTSA after a slow start playing a backup QB on a bad ankle.
- OSU: Again scored a lot of points against a vastly inferior foe. The ASU win aging badly.
- Iowa St: A victory over Baylor this week will see them moving up.
- Texas Tech: Loss to NC State, does not bode well for facing Texas this week at home.
- K-State: Where Adrian Martinez goes, mediocre results follow.
- TCU: Did not play and still fell. The weak Colorado win looks worse every week.
- West Virginia: Crushing Townson does not pull you out of the cellar.