New faces in rankings shake up Big 12 outlook

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Members of the Big 12 conference experienced an interesting weekend after Week Four concluded last Saturday. From the Texas Christian University’s back-to-back losses to Texas Tech putting the conference on notice, this week will be yet another jam-packed weekend of conference play.

Here’s how the conference is shaping up:

Texas

The Longhorns knocked off then-No.17 TCU, and the clamors of Texas being “back” instantly became shouted sentiments from fans leaving Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. Texas allowed a last-second touchdown at the end of the first half and went into the locker room down, 13-10. After a field goal early in the first half by TCU, it was all Texas from there on out. The Longhorns scored 21-unanswered points to close the game to win, 31-16.

The Longhorns were led by their defense, specifically freshman safety Caden Sterns. Sterns had two interceptions on the day to go along with five tackles. With Sterns and the defense leading the way, Texas puts itself in a position to contend for a Big 12 championship appearance.

Oklahoma

No. 6 Oklahoma avoided a potentially catastrophic loss to Army over the weekend. After a Kyler Murray scramble put them in the lead going into halftime, the potent Sooner offense went stagnant in the second half. Army held them scoreless and forced overtime. In the end, Oklahoma was able to grind out a win and remain undefeated, but the performance did cost them as they dropped one spot in the rankings,

Despite the close call, the Big 12 still knows the road to a conference championship goes through Norman. The Sooners have won the last three Big 12 championships and don’t have any plans to have that streak ended soon.

Texas Tech

The Red Raiders played their way back into the top-25 this week with a thrashing of then-No.15 Oklahoma State. The win put the explosive offense back in the national spotlight and gave them a win to open conference play. Freshman quarterback Alan Bowman had another dynamic day in the air with 397 yards and two touchdowns. With Bowman leading the team, the Red Raiders are on pace for another successful season.

Texas Tech can’t revel in their ranking for long. The Red Raiders host No. 12 West Virginia on Saturday. The Mountaineers have no problem going point-for-point with any of their opponents, so there is no reason not to believe it will be a shootout in Lubbock.

TCU

The Horned Frogs are looking to get their season back on track this week against Iowa State. Their year has been thrown off by back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Texas, respectively. This week should be a chance for them to gain momentum. Iowa State comes into the matchup unranked and under .500, which sets the stage for a game TCU should win handily.  TCU will also be at home for the first time since the season opener against Southern University.

TCU has chances to redeem itself because of the strength of the Big 12. However, this week does feel like a must win. Gary Patterson’s team will have to be ready to rebound in a game that can serve as a turning point for their season.