Big 12 power rankings: Oklahoma, Baylor ready to settle who’s best in the conference

The only major questions remaining are does Saturday’s Oklahoma vs. Baylor champion reach the College Football Playoffs? And does that game’s loser make a New Year’s Six Bowl?

No Big 12 coaches are expected to be fired this offseason, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be movement. It’s as common as Oklahoma winning the regular-season championship, that Iowa State’s Matt Campbell is mentioned with seemingly every major opening available — both in college and in the NFL.

And if it’s the NFL, Baylor’s Matt Rhule and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley will see their names on potential head coaching lists, too.

Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against Oklahoma State during the second half at Boone Pickens Stadium. (Photo: Rob Ferguson, USA TODAY Sports)

What else is there to keep eyes on while awaiting the start of the postseason? How about underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft, and potential NFL draftees opting out of bowls not associated with the College Football Playoffs.

The USA Today Network’s final Big 12 Power Ratings doesn’t include significant change from the past few weeks. Here we go:

No. 1 Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12)

Last week: No. 1.

Last game: Defeated Oklahoma State 34-16.

Going forward: Jalen Hurts has the game of his life in leading Sooners to win against Baylor in Big 12 championship game. Oklahoma sneaks in the back door of a third consecutive College Football Playoff. Hurts shakes hand of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.

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No. 2 Baylor (11-1, 8-1 Big 12)

Last week: No. 2.

Last game: Defeated Kansas 61-6.

Going forward: Matt Rhule should be the Big 12’s coach of the year, unless Oklahoma blows out his team that’s spent big parts of this season living on the edge. Bears to a New Year’s Six Bowl? That’s still on the jury’s decision-making plate.

No. 3 Oklahoma State (8-4, 5-4 Big 12)

Last week: No. 3.

Last game: Lost to Oklahoma 34-16.

Going forward: After losing a fifth Bedlam in a row, now the attention turns to Chuba Hubbard, whose, 1,936 rushing yards leads the nation. Has the sophomore played his final college game? Will he pass on the bowl game, as some NFL prospects have done? That decision could be a factor in bowl selection, too, because bowls don’t like to select teams whose star aren’t playing.

No. 4 Kansas State (8-4, 5-4 Big 12)

Last week: No. 5.

Last game: Defeated Iowa State 27-17.

Going forward: Will first-year coach Chris Klieman get a contract extension? He’s 52. He’s making $2.3 million in the first year of a six-year contract — the lowest salary among Big 12 coaches. His salary escalates by $200,000 each year, so there’s plenty of room for contract growth.

No.5 Iowa State (7-5, 5-4 Big 12)

Last week: No. 4.

Last game: Lost to Kansas State 27-17.

Going forward: With Brock Purdy and Breece Hall among the offensive returnees, and nine coming back who started on a mostly good defense, 2020 could be that big breakout season.

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