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Big 12 efficiency rankings: Kansas State, TCU offenses will surprise you

Did you know OU’s renaissance defense was torched by one of the Big 12’s worst offenses? Did you know that OSU’s defense is better than its offense? Did you know that TCU is better than we thought?

Those are just some of the nuggets you can learn by studying Big 12 football at its core and gauging performance on what teams are commissioned to do – offenses to score, defenses to keep the opponent from scoring.

In my weekly Big 12 efficiency rankings, you learn a lot about the teams.  

Remember, I gauge offenses and defenses by how often they do their job. An offense’s job is to score. A defense’s job is to keep the opponent from scoring. So I measure efficiency by how often an offense scores or how often a defense allows a score, divided by how many possessions that unit plays. Touchdowns are full credit. Field goals are half credit. And I count only conference games, because that gives the apples-to-apples comparisons.

Here are the efficiency rankings as we reach November.

Offense

1. Oklahoma .571: The Sooners weren’t on their game at Manhattan – and still scored 41 offensive points in 11 possessions. Their standards are high.

2. Texas .400: Offense isn’t the problem in Austin, though Sam Ehlinger’s four interceptions against TCU are a concern.

3. TCU .383: I’ll bet this number surprises you. The Big 12’s third-most efficient offense in Fort Worth? Beware, Cowboys.

4. Iowa State .367: A good solid offense in Ames. Not spectacular, but solid.

5. Kansas .347: The Jayhawks are getting better and better on offense.

6. Baylor .344: This might surprise you, the Bears being so low, but they’re not winning with offense.

7. Texas Tech .325: This is a big drop for the Red Raiders, who are accustomed to being in the penthouse of Big 12 offenses.

8. Kansas State .315: How’s this for stunning. The OU defense got lit up by one of the Big 12’s worst offenses. Before playing the Sooners, the Wildcats had 35 possessions in Big 12 play and produced five touchdowns and five field goals. Then K-State had 11 possessions against OU and produced six touchdowns and two field goals.

9. Oklahoma State .302: Give the Cowboy offense this – they are consistent. OSU had 13 possessions against each of Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State, and scored 26, 27 and 27 offensive points. The Cowboys had 14 possessions against Texas and scored 30 offensive points. 

10. West Virginia .235: Tech, OSU and West Virginia among the four worst offenses in the league. The Big 12 has been turned upside down.

Defense

1. Baylor .240: The Bears’ defense largely is untested. Baylor has played only one of the Big 12’s top six offenses (Iowa State’s).

2. Iowa State .293: The Cyclones, too, play the better offenses later in the season, but ISU has a proven record of solid defense..

3. TCU .306: Now that I look at it, none of the top five defenses in the league have played Oklahoma. That either means the Sooners’ offensive numbers are inflated, or the top-ranking defenses are inflated. We’ll find out soon enough.

4. Oklahoma .314: Still a good number. A very good number by Big 12 standards. A great number by Sooner standards.

5. Oklahoma State .348: Decent. The cold, hard truth is that OSU’s defense is outperforming the OSU offense.

6. Kansas State .370: Nothing terrible, nothing special. The Wildcats did come up big defensively in the two middle quarters against OU.

7. Texas Tech .388: Some of the Red Raiders’ defensive strides have been lost in recent weeks.

8. Texas .396: TCU had 13 offensive possessions against the Longhorns and produced four touchdowns and three field goals. That’s not good.

9. West Virginia .457: It’s a mess of a season for the Mountaineers, on both sides of the ball.

10. Kansas .518: The worst defensive number a team has finished a season with is KU’s .504 in 2015. These Jayhawks have a shot, though having OU and Texas in the rearview mirror helps. 

Projections

A fun tool with these ratings is the score projections they provide. Not so much that they predict winners – football novices can predict the winners of most college football games – but they can give you a ballpark estimate on what kind of games will be played. How close, how high-scoring. Here are the games for Saturday:

TCU at Oklahoma State: Horned Frogs 32-28. The TCU offense has been better than the OSU offense halfway through the Big 12 season.

Kansas State at Kansas: Wildcats 33-30. Might be a little high-scoring, but I’ll bet it’s a riveting game.

West Virginia at Baylor: Bears 33-21. Might be a little optimistic for the Mountaineers.

Related Photos
Kansas State wide receiver Joshua Youngblood (23) scores a touchdown against Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) during the first half of an NCAA football game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

Kansas State wide receiver Joshua Youngblood (23) scores a touchdown against Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) during the first half of an NCAA football game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0120b7c00b288c724aa3e6823441ad35.jpg" alt="Photo - Kansas State wide receiver Joshua Youngblood (23) scores a touchdown against Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) during the first half of an NCAA football game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)" title="Kansas State wide receiver Joshua Youngblood (23) scores a touchdown against Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) during the first half of an NCAA football game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)"><figcaption>Kansas State wide receiver Joshua Youngblood (23) scores a touchdown against Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) during the first half of an NCAA football game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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