Big 12 Softball Power Rankings: Sooners Back on Top

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

The first week of league play for Big 12 softball provided many answers to what the conference hierarchy might look like for the 2024 season.

However, it would be unwise to draw conclusions about any team at this point in the year. There is so much softball left to play, but these power rankings are weekly for a reason.

Here’s a look at the Big 12 softball power rankings heading into the second week of league play.

 

Tier One

1. Oklahoma (22-1, 3-0); Last Week: 2

Oklahoma responded well to its first loss of the season with four victories, three of which came by run rule and a series sweep over Iowa State to open up Big 12 play. The Sooners outscored Iowa State 29-3, with 11-2 (F/5) and 14-1 (F/5) victories to close out the weekend. With an impressive showing and Texas stumbling in its first game as the No. 1 team in the country, OU is back on top.

2. Texas (21-2, 2-1); Last Week: 1

Texas ascended to the top of ESPN’s softball poll (and our power rankings) last week after surpassing Oklahoma with an incredibly impressive start to the 2024 season. However, they’ll likely lose that honor now after dropping their Big 12 opener against Houston, 10-12. The Longhorns rallied to win the series on the road but allowed 20 runs to UH in the process. It was a tougher weekend for the UT pitching staff, but the offense is still top-notch.

3. Oklahoma State (20-3, 2-1); Last Week: 3

Oklahoma State had a tough draw to open up Big 12 play in Waco, but battled their way to a series win over the hometown Baylor Bears with wins on Friday and Sunday. When you add to that a win in extras over Wichita State, it was a good weekend for the Cowgirls. The pitching staff had a good showing, as 12 runs total were scored between the Cowgirls and Bears, and just five of them went Baylor’s way.

 

4. Baylor (14-5, 1-2); Last Week: 4

Baylor took Oklahoma State to extras on Friday night, blanked them in a 2-0 victory on Saturday, and lost 3-2 on Sunday in a hard-fought game that ended with OSU scoring two runs in the final frame to pull ahead and escape with a win. The Bears are as formidable as I expected them to be coming into the year, and I still expect them to hang around in the Top 25 this year.

Tier Two

5. Texas Tech (19-5, 2-1); Last Week: 5

Texas Tech’s offense is cooking again under Craig Snider, scoring 33 runs during their three-game series in Provo (UT) this weekend. Their 15-0 (F/5) victory on Saturday was particularly impressive and gave me all the confidence I needed to keep the Red Raiders in the hunt as one of the top contenders in a league full of teams with national championship aspirations.

6. Houston (17-7, 1-2); Last Week: 9

I warned you about fireworks in Houston during last week’s preview, and they showed up. Houston shocked the top-ranked Longhorns in Game 1 on Friday, winning 12-10 on the back of three first-inning homers and some costly errors from Texas that helped fuel an eight-run fourth. The series went Texas’ way, but anytime you pick up a win over the No. 1 team in the country, you’re moving up.

7. UCF (14-8, 2-1); Last Week: 7

UCF needed a series win against a pesky Jayhawks team this weekend, and that’s exactly what they got. Game 1 went the Knights’ way 7-1 and seemed to show that KU might’ve been outmatched, but a gritty 3-2 (F/8) win in Game 2, and a 1-0 loss in Game 3 kept the series a bit close than some expected. Still, getting to 2-1 in Big 12 play is huge, especially when you’ve got a trip to Stillwater on deck.

 

Tier Three

8. Kansas (14-7-1, 1-2); Last Week: 6

As mentioned above, Kansas showed a ton of fight on the road and avoided the sweep against UCF with a 1-0 victory on Sunday. It wasn’t the weekend that the Jayhawks were hoping for, but 1-2 feels a whole lot better than 0-3 with Baylor coming to town this weekend.

9. BYU (15-6, 1-2); Last Week: 8

Aside from taking Game 3 to avoid a sweep against Texas Tech in the Big 12 opener, it was a disastrous weekend for BYU. The Red Raiders’ offense did whatever it wanted against BYU’s pitching, and the Cougar’s bats went dormant in Game 2. In al league that’s looking tougher by the minute, that’s just not going to cut it.

Tier Four

10. Iowa State (9-13, 0-3); Last Week: 10

Iowa State entered last week having lost four of six games, and Oklahoma made that seven of nine games in a hurry. Having the job of being the team that opens up Big 12 play in Norman, especially after the Sooners lost, was not a good draw for Iowa State. A red-hot Houston offense is coming to Ames next weekend too, so the Cyclones had better get things figured out in a hurry before their season begins to slip.