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Big 12 Rankings: Oklahoma State Shines, Oklahoma Status In Jeopardy?

One last time, here are our Big 12 rankings for the 2021 regular season

Lincoln Riley didn't lie when he said he wasn't going to be the next head coach at LSU. Then again, he does fit his new home after pulling a Trojan horse on Oklahoma. 

Riley heads out west to USC. With the move to the SEC imminent, Riley can see a shot of regression coming to Norman. USC plays in the Pac-12, where outside of Oregon, the conference is looking for its next contender. 

In short, OU likely won't be making the College Football Playoffs initially in the new home unless the CFP expands to 12 teams. USC can and should rebound to be a regular guest invited to the four-team shindig. 

Oklahoma State looked like the most consistent team following a sluggish start. Baylor's offensive turnaround as them back in Arlington for a legitimate chance to win the Big 12. Texas won a football game and TCU made a hire. 

Good things coming to the Big 12? It's at least a strong start to Monday morning. Here are LonghornsCountry's final Big 12 power rankings of the regular season. 

1. Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1 Big 12)

Jim Knowles deserves all the praise in the world. He also has earned a pay raise. Without his defense, Oklahoma State doesn't win Bedlam. They likely aren't the front-runner to win the Big 12 and any hopes of a College Football Playoff berth goes out the window. 

Spencer Sanders' regression has been concerning, but the run game still is a problem. Jaylen Warren rushed for a touchdown while Sanders added another 96 yards to his 214-yard passing performance. Knowles' defense played at its worse all season, but they forced fourth down attempts late that couldn't be converted. 

Mike Gundy deservingly should be considered for coach of the year and is one game away from making history in Stillwater. He's a man. He's 54. The Pokes aren't a top team in the Big 12; they're a top team in college football. 

2. Baylor (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)

Even without Gerry Bohanon, the Bears continue to win. Backup QB Blake Sharpen made a case for a starting role in the future with two touchdown passes to go with his 254-yard performance. 

Running back Abram Smith (30 carries, 117 yards) and Trestan Ebner (118 receiving yards) shined again on offense, and wide receiver Drew Estrada averaged over 10 yards per play. Texas Tech fumbled twice, while Donovan Smith only found the end zone twice. 

The biggest win this weekend for Baylor is the likely return of Dave Aranda. Aranda is expected to sign a massive extension in the coming weeks, making him perhaps the next elite coach in the conference with Riley's departure. 

3. Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)

It's raining in Norman and the forecast is expected to see traitor signs and smear campaigns against Riley flood the town for the next several. For the first time since 1999, the Sooners will be looking for their next head coach. 

No, Bob Stoops isn't coming back. Even if he did, it would only be for a season, giving OU athletic director Joe Castiglione time to make the proper hire. Then again, next season could be a rebuilding one as a multitude of recruits have de-committed following Riley's announcement. 

Whoever is hired to take over must prepare to make the pitch of a lifetime to keep Caleb "Superman" Williams as the starting QB. Superman is a comic book hero. Comics are made into movies. Where are movies made? 

Oh boy, Williams saying deuces to OU to follow Riley to USC would be the ultimate knife in the heart. 

4. Iowa State (7-5, 5-4 Big 12)

Matt Campbell shed tears as the seniors said goodbye to Ames. In a way, did he just coach his last game at Jack Trice Stadium as well? 

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Campbell has been a hot name for the past two seasons to move to a prominent program. Although he has little ties to LSU, Scott Woodward needs to find someone to build the right culture in Baton Rouge. With the money the program brings in, a head coach with the right attitude can hire the ideal coordinators to transform the program in no time. 

Breece Hall made FBS history with his 24th consecutive game scoring a touchdown. He owns the title of the second-winningest coach in program history. If LSU calls, his time — and perhaps the Cyclones — is up for good.

5. Kansas State (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)

It's hard to ever against anyone when you pass for less than 100 yards. K-State's Will Howard threw for 95 and added another 82 with his legs. The Wildcats allowed Texas' Roschon Johnson to terrorize them for four quarters on the ground. 

Chris Kleinman is the right guy to lead this team. In three years, he has won more games than any new hire in program history. A 7 to 9-win season regularly feels about right for the program. Maybe with changes at Oklahoma and Iowa, things change. 

6. West Virginia (6-6, 4-5 Big 12)

Neal Brown underachieved in Year 3, but there's enough to say he isn't on the hot seat. A two-game winning streak to close out the year and become bowl eligible is likely the best-case scenario after a slow start. 

Brown has to make the right changes defensively to contend in 2022. It's not entirely impossible, either that with the right recruits and picking around the transfer portal, the Mountaineers prosper next fall. 

7. Texas Tech (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)

Joey McGuire had two wins this week. The first is at the QB position should Tyler Shough stick around and battle Donovan Smith. Both players showed growth under offensive coordinator and later interim head coach Sonnie Cumbie. 

The second win is Cumbie himself, who has elected to remain on staff as OC. The former Red Raider QB went 1-3 down the stretch, but Tech is going bowling for the first time in four years and nearly pulled off a top 10 upset on the road. 

8. Texas (5-7, 3-6 Big 12)

At least the losing streak came to end? 

Steve Sarkisian has his star receiver in Xavier Worthy. Bijan Robinson will return to the backfield. There are young defensive names such as linebacker Jaylan Ford and safety JD Coffey that should be building blocks for the departed veterans. 

Everything else needs work. At least the Longhorns can start next season on a one-game winning streak, right? 

9. TCU (5-7, 3-6 Big 12)

Can Sony Dykes live up to expectations as the next Horned Frogs head coach? He better. 

The first order of business will be to decide if Max Duggan or Chandler Morris is the QB of the future. The second is hiring the right defensive coordinator to fix one of the the FBS' worst defenses. 

10. Kansas (2-10, 1-8 Big 12)

Lance Leipold won a road conference game and has Kansas playing close against teams in conference play. That's a grand slam in Jayhawk terms. 

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