Most of the conference took the week off, and so did Power Rankings.
- Oklahoma Sooners (6-1, 3-1) - I am aware Red River happened. I also think Oklahoma is the better team.
- Texas Longhorns (6-1, 4-0) - The Longhorns may have the best shot of any Big XII at the fourth playoff spot, but they have some work to do to get there. They nearly stumbled against Baylor.
- West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1, 3-1) - Losing to a good team on the road isn’t the end of the world. Ask Ohio State.
- Iowa State Cyclones (3-3, 2-2) - The Cyclones aren’t going to be an easy out for anyone.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-2, 3-1) - Speaking of tough outs. At the start of the season, it looked like Kliffy K was going to be a candidate for the next Alabama Offensive Coordinator (think about the Deathstar. but with Air Raid... shudder), but they have righted the ship.
- Baylor Bears (4-3, 2-2) - Baylor should really be banned, but man Matt Rhule is good.
- TCU Horned Frogs (3-4, 1-3) - Ohio State broke this team in a way I cannot fully fathom.
- Kansas State Wildcats (3-4, 1-3) - The Wizard is Back! (Maybe.)
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-3, 1-3) - Maybe it’s unfair to rank the Cowboys so low, two of their losses are too good teams on the upswing, but the K-State loss? Yowza. They also have yet to face Texas, Oklahoma, or WVU.
- Kansas Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4) - College basketball starts in like two weeks.
Going to spend a little more time on this ahead of the first round of college football playoffs and because it’s so late in the week for power rankings.
College Football Playoff
Before Ohio State’s disaster against Purdue, the Big XII title hopes were on life support: Alabama is all but destined for a playoff spot; Notre Dame has cleared the last real hurdle to also joining them and Clemson demolished the only real challenge to their undefeated season in NC State. Ohio State seemingly looked locked in for the fourth spot, but after that loss? Yeah that fourth spot is now open season. Still, we’ve seen this show before and I think Ohio State will finish out in dominate fashion and earn the fourth spot.
- Orange Bowl: #1 Alabama vs #4 Ohio State
- Cotton Bowl: #2 Notre Dame #3 Clemson
New Year’s Six
From there the New Year’s Six games work themselves out. Two are contract bowls this year, with the Rose and Sugar being obligated to the PAC-12, Big Ten, Big XII and SEC. The remaining two are at-large spots and kind of a crap shoot - but I am making an educated guess. UCF seems incredibly likely to remain undefeated and secure one of the four remaining spots as the representative of the Group of 6 (they will almost certainly get talked about as a contender for the 4th spot as well. ) The other three are pretty fungible. I think UCF goes to the Fiesta Bowl since Peach Bowl picks first and had UCF last year. I think they’d like a 10-2 WVU vs 10-2 LSU matchup. (Also it would be a great time for fellow Musketeer @bartimusprime.) That would leave the Fiesta Bowl with a lot of options for their other pick. Iowa seems likely to finish out strong and maybe win the Big Ten West, so I am going with them as a consolation prize, with Michigan getting the Rose Bowl.
- Rose Bowl (PAC-12 vs Big Ten): Washington vs Michigan
- Fiesta Bowl (at-large vs at-large): Iowa vs UCF
- Sugar Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Oklahoma vs Georgia
- Peach Bowl (at-large vs at-large): WVU vs LSU
Big XII Contract Bowls
Big XII bowls aren’t bound by finish order. If Texas and WVU are both 10-2, don’t expect WVU to get a NY6 bowl ahead of Texas, even if they have a head to head win. So I am just assuming they lose to both WVU and Iowa State, but at 9-3 they’d still be the Alamo Bowl’s choice to face a highly ranked Washington State. Iowa State at 8-4 slots into an exiting Camping World Bowl against Boston College. Texas Tech and Texas A&M face off in the Texas Bow. TCU gets the pleasure of going to the Liberty Bowl to face off with Miss State. Despite being in near free-fall, Ok Lite manages to get to 6 wins and a nice trip the Cactus Bowl. Baylor, which should just be banned, gets a respectable 6 wins ahead of an NCAA hammer falling, and a game against Houston.
- Valero Alamo Bowl (Big XII vs Pac 12): Texas vs Washington State
- Camping World Bowl (Big XII vs ACC): Iowa State vs Boston College
- Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Texas Tech vs Texas A&M
- Autozone Liberty Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): TCU vs Klanga
- Cactus Bowl (Big XII vs Pac 12): Oklahoma State vs Colorado
- Lockheed Martin Armed Forces (Big XII vs AAC): Baylor vs Houston