The Big 12 season is over, and Oklahoma is unsurprisingly on top again. It was quite the run, but in the end, the same team found itself as the winner.
The Big 12 got through a season during a pandemic about as well as one could hope. There were some games canceled, but not nearly enough that anyone would think the season was flawed in any way. There was a champion crowned, and it ended up being the team most people picked before the season. Oklahoma won the Big 12 Championship for the sixth season in a row, but it was the first time someone won with two losses in conference play in more than a decade.
The other teams had a lot to learn over the offseason. Teams will have to replace head coaches. Quarterback controversies are already bubbling up months before spring practices. Stars need to be replaced. This is going to be an offseason to remember for the Big 12. And that’s not even considering someone trying to send a Godfather offer to get Lincoln Riley to jump to the NFL.
Things ended on as high a note as possible for the conference. All five teams won their bowl games, including Oklahoma taking Florida to the woodshed in the Cotton Bowl. This leads to some optimism surrounding a conference that at one point this season was called the worst in the Power 5. However, there are still some teams that are looking for answers before 2021.
Final Big 12 football power rankings
The goal for Kansas at this point is to not end the season defeated in every contest. They failed that goal this season, losing most games by a considerable margin. Things might be looking up. Quaydarius Davis reportedly committed to the Jayhawks, and if he follows through he’d be their highest-rated recruit this century. He will be fun to watch, but multiple Jayhawks have entered the transfer portal on head coach Les Miles. On top of that, star running back Pooka Williams declared for the NFL Draft. There’s a lot of talent to replace on a team that desperately needed more.
Baylor is just glad it’s over. Charlie Brewer is leaving to try to rebuild his legacy at another program. Dave Aranda’s first season as the head coach went about as badly as possible. Things could get worse. Baylor officials attended a hearing about sexual assault allegations from back when Art Briles was head coach. That could lead to punishment like the loss of scholarships and postseason bans. 2020 is a year to forget for Baylor.
It started off so promising, but Kansas State elected to stay home this bowl season and they will finish with just four wins since 2004. The Wildcats were riding high after beating Oklahoma, and even once held a 4-1 record in the conference. Then, five-straight losses finished with annihilation at the hands of Texas, and this season leaves a bad taste in every fan’s mouths. Chris Kleiman has his most important offseason since taking over for Bill Snyder (albeit it’s just his third offseason). The team has a decent amount of talent returning, including quarterback Skylar Thompson, but a lot of this team still has work to do before actually competing in a Power 5 conference.
Looks like the Matt Wells era is getting one more go in 2021. Wells announced the return of nine seniors who will take advantage of NCAA rules allowing for an extra year of eligibility. This hopefully leads to better days for the Red Raiders. They added former Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie as the new offensive coordinator. It’s an interesting hire that could lead to a more fun Red Raiders offense next season. They already announced former Florida linebacker Jesiah Pierre, former Duke safety Marquis Waters, and former NC State cornerback Malik Dunlap will all transfer to the Red Raiders next season.
TCU’s season came with some ups and some downs, but in the end, it’s still somewhat a success. They beat in-state rival Texas and Oklahoma State en route to a 6-4 season. The bowl game against Arkansas was canceled, which was a bummer. For next season, TCU welcomes former Oklahoma recruit, Chandler Morris, as a transfer. He’ll compete with Max Duggan if Morris is deemed eligible. However, expect some of the big names from the defense, like safeties Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington, to declare for the NFL Draft. Still, things might be looking up for the Horned Frogs.
The West Virginia Mountaineers ended the season on a very strange note. They won their bowl game against Army, a come-from-behind 24-21 victory. However, they took out starting quarterback Jarret Doege to do it. They didn’t use prized recruit Garrett Greene, but former Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall. Now, the WVU quarterback room is in serious flux. Add the fact that coach Neal Brown has been tied to multiple other jobs this offseason (although they have been filled), and it could be a tumultuous situation for the Mountaineers.
Texas just destroyed Colorado in the Alamo Bowl to end their season on a high note, but it wasn’t enough to save Tom Herman. He was fired and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is taking over. It was a hire that could work out great for the Longhorns, but it comes with its skeptics. Now, Sam Ehlinger is leaving for the NFL. Texas is facing an uphill climb next season, and the expectations need to come down just a bit. Knowing Texas fans, that probably won’t happen.
Oklahoma State finished the season with a big win against Miami in the Cheez-it Bowl. It was a nice end to a season that started off so promising but ended up with a disappointing record. Still, Oklahoma State still has the foundation to compete for the Big 12 next season. Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace are off to the NFL. Brennan Presley was great in the team’s bowl game, and the freshman looks like the next Cowboys’ star. There’s a lot to look forward to in Stillwater.
Iowa State put all of its chips on the table this season. Brock Purdy was in his senior season. Breece Hall was the best running back in the country. It still came up short for the Cyclones. They ran all the way to the Big 12 Championship Game with a won over Oklahoma already under their belt. They couldn’t finish off the Sooners, and Purdy threw a pick inside the 10-yard line that sealed it. Still, this season was a success for Iowa State. They ended the season on a great note, taking out Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl and with Purdy and the nation’s leading rusher, Breece Hall returning, the Cyclones hope to get back to the conference title game.
Six years in a row, this is how the final power rankings ended in the Big 12. Oklahoma is the best team in the conference, and it’s going to take a long time before anyone comes in and takes the crown. Spencer Rattler shook off some growing pains and started playing his best football down the stretch. That also coincided with the return of Rhamondre Stevenson and Ronnie Perkins who were suspended dating back to a failed drug test before last season’s College Football Playoff. Most of the other top teams in the Big 12 are in transition of some kind. After Oklahoma’s beat down on the Florida Gators, it’s clear they are looking to send a message to the rest of the country. Not only will Oklahoma see itself as the Big 12 favorite next season, expect the team to fight for a National Championship once again.