Oklahoma Relinquishes Top Spot in Big 12 Power Rankings For First Time in 2024

Oklahoma Relinquishes Top Spot in Big 12 Power Rankings For First Time in 2024

The 2024 Big 12 Softball season is well underway, and conference play is on deck this weekend. However, the biggest storyline in the Big 12, and perhaps the entire sport, is the streak is finally over.

After 71 games, the Oklahoma Sooners have finally lost, as Louisiana spoiled OU’s opening weekend with a 7-5 upset in eight innings to snap the NCAA-record winning streak that dates back to February 19, 2023.

With the loss and the continued excellence from some others in the league, Oklahoma is no longer the top dog in our Power Rankings (at least not for this week). Let’s take a look at how things shake out.

 

Tier One

1. Texas (17-1, 0-0) – Last Week — 2

2. Oklahoma (18-1, 0-0) – Last Week — 1

3. Oklahoma State (17-2, 0-0) – Last Week — 3

The Texas Longhorns look like the team to beat as conference play begins in the Big 12, as UT is hitting its stride in all aspects of the game. While the competition wasn’t exactly stellar, there was no doubt that Texas was in charge of the Longhorn Invitational this weekend, outscoring its opponents 44-2 over four games.

Reese Atwood continues to play at an All-American level, leading the Longhorns with a .527 average, a whopping ten home runs, and 37 RBIs through the first 18 games.

Oklahoma falls to the No. 2 spot in our rankings after its loss to Louisiana in extras. The Sooners’ pitching staff showed some holes in the opening weekend at Love’s Field, giving up eight scores via home run, and its defense suffered three errors in the loss as well.

 

The good news for the Sooners is that they unimaginable weight of the streak is now over and they’ll have a chance to finally just play softball. That could be bad news for Iowa State this weekend.

Oklahoma State remains at No. 3 in our rankings this week after moving to 17-2 on the year with a 4-0 last week, moving their winning streak to 11 games. The Pokes are playing well as we head into Big 12 play and will immediately face a stiff test against the next team on our list, which fell to the next tier.

Tier Two

4. Baylor (11-3, 0-0) – Last Week — 4

5. Texas Tech (17-4, 0-0) – Last Week — 5

6. Kansas (9-5-1, 0-0) – Last Week — 7

7. UCF (11-7, 0-0) – Last Week — 6

Despite going undefeated against Morgan State this weekend, Baylor took a step backward for me following the McKenzie Wilson news. Her suspension following an arrest for theft is a major blow to the Bears’ roster, and could have a last affect on the team as well. Unfortunately, the Bears won’t have much time to learn how to play without her, as a trip to Stillwater awaits this weekend.

 

Call it hope or optimism for a challenging Big 12 race, but I really like what I’m seeing from Texas Tech to this point in the season, and for that, I’m keeping them at No. 5 in the rankings this week. The offense was spicy this weekend, scoring 47 runs over five games. That’ll play.

Kansas rises again this week, going 3-0 on the road and moving to 12-5-1 on the year. The Jayhawks’ win over a ranked Texas A&M team is what helped them leapfrog UCF, who fell one spot after dropping their fifth game to a ranked opponent this season. The Knights are still plenty dangerous, so don’t forget about them, but for now they’re fading a bit in my eyes.

Tier Three

8. BYU (14-4, 0-0) – Last Week — 8

9. Houston (15-5, 0-0) – Last Week — 9

BYU holds pat at No. 8 in the rankings this week after beating up on more cupcakes to move to 14-4 on the year. However, a loss to Sacramento State moves them down a tier. This is a hard team to read, but we will learn so much more about the Cougars after they host Texas Tech this weekend.

I like what Houston has done, but it needs to pick up a win over decent competition before I move them up to the second tier. They were painfully close to doing so against McNeese State, but fell short in 13 innings. This week, they’ll get another shot at the Cowgirls before hosting the Longhorns to open up league play.

Tier Four

10. Iowa State (9-10, 0-0) – Last Week — 10

Iowa State has been disappointing to this point in the season and is playing well below the level of any other team in the Big 12 right now. The Cyclones were swept by Colorado State last week and have now lost six of their last eight. Now, all they’ve got to do is go on the road and face an Oklahoma team coming off its first loss since last February. Ouch.