Sooners, Jayhawks Impress in Week 2

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

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We’re two weeks into league play, and the Big 12 softball landscape has been “well shaken” as we look ahead to Week 3.

While it’s still very early in the 2024 season, there’s no doubt that some of the results we’ve seen over the past two weeks have been head-scratching at times, while others we might’ve seen coming a mile away.

Still, we’ve got plenty to go on when ranking the hierarchy as it stands, and a few things did become clearer over the weekend.

With that being said, here’s a look at the Big 12 softball power rankings after the second week of league play.

 

Tier One

1. Oklahoma (27-1, 6-0); Last Week: 1

Wow. For anyone doubting the Sooners’ offensive abilities coming into this weekend, what a statement from Patty Gasso’s group. Oklahoma put on an offensive clinic in Lubbock, scoring 40 total runs in a sweep of Texas Tech. It was the offensive onslaught that Coach Gasso had been waiting for all season, and the pitching staff kept rolling, too, allowing just three runs all weekend to a Red Raiders team that ranked 11th nationally in scoring (7.31 runs per game). This weekend was enough for me to put OU in a tier of its own.

Tier Two

2. Texas (24-3, 5-1); Last Week: 2

3. Oklahoma State (24-3, 5-1); Last Week: 3

Texas and Oklahoma State both went undefeated against Big 12 newcomers this week, with the Longhorns dominating an overmatched BYU team and Oklahoma State taking down UCF. The Longhorns played a tough midweek game at No. 2 LSU in the midweek, dropping a 7-4 contest in Baton Rouge after going down 7-0 to start the game. The only movement for these two is that they fall a tier below Oklahoma after the Sooners’ offensive clinic this weekend. Texas’ offense continued to hum as well, though, outscoring BYU 30-3 on the weekend.

 

Tier Three

4. Kansas (19-7-1, 4-2); Last Week: 8

5. Baylor (16-8, 1-5); Last Week: 4

6. UCF (14-11, 2-4); Last Week: 7

7. Texas Tech (21-8, 2-4); Last Week: 5

Hello, Kansas! Jennifer McFalls’ group didn’t just beat No. 19 Baylor this past weekend; they swept the Bears and allowed just two runs, bumping them up four spots in the Power Rankings. As one of just four teams with a winning record in Big 12 play, Kansas is rolling right now. Baylor, on the other hand, is rolling downhill after the sweep and doesn’t have long to figure it out with a series against OU on deck. Thankfully for the Bears, the two teams behind them also got swept, leaving them to fall just one spot in the rankings. Texas Tech’s inability to be competitive this weekend also sent them tumbling a bit, although I’m not sure there’s a team in the country that can beat the Sooners when they’re playing like that.

 

Tier Four

8. Iowa State (11-15, 2-4); Last Week: 10

9. Houston (18-9, 2-4); Last Week: 6

10. BYU (16-9, 1-5); Last Week: 9

The good news: Iowa State isn’t alone anymore. The bad news: There are two more teams in the bottom tier of this week’s rankings. After Houston took one game from Texas, I was ready to crown them a contender. Then, the Cougars went to Ames and got run-ruled in Game 1 and lost in Game 2 before figuring it out and salvaging their weekend with a run-rule win. Iowa State got out of the basement with the series win and will hopefully build on that momentum this week as they hope to join the rest of the Big 12 with a record at or above .500.

This week’s cellar-dweller is BYU, who went to Texas and got swept in dominant fashion. The Cougars were out of their league against the Longhorns, and that appears to be a trend in the first two weeks of the season. Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier for BYU, as they’ll host Oklahoma State this weekend. Ouch.