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#21 Baylor at #19 Oklahoma State Opens at Cowboys -4

The newly-ranked Bears travel to Stillwater for a 6 PM kickoff on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Baylor Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

With yesterday’s win over Iowa State in the books, your Baylor Bears are now ranked for the first time this season in both major polls, at #21 and #24 in the AP and Coaches’ Polls, respectively. While I have no major qualms about Baylor’s position in either poll, others being ranked where they are seem patently absurd. Clemson, for example, having lost 2 games already this season and looked absolutely terrible on offense, and even being #25 is too high. You could make a much better argument for Texas (among others) in that spot than Clemson, and this is a direct function of what I call “rankings inertia,” which is the tendency to take the prior week’s rankings, adjust it up or down based on how things go, and then resubmit. Clemson is ranked now because Clemson started out ranked, not because of anything good they’ve actually done. The same is true (albeit to a lesser extent) for A&M, which has wins over Kent State, Colorado, and New Mexico, a loss to Arkansas, and is somehow ranked #15. Look closely at that record and compare it to that of Oklahoma State, who is now 4-0 and ranked #19 coming off a win over a previously ranked Kansas State. Do you feel good about that relative position?

Speaking of Oklahoma State, they are our next opponent and, as noted, are ranked #19, just ahead of us at #21. We travel to their house for a game on ESPN2 on Saturday night at 6 PM, and has the open at Cowboys -4. Because it just happened, there hasn’t been any movement yet. SP+ would appear to think that’s too high:

That’s right: Baylor is actually ranked higher than Oklahoma State in SP+ on offense and defense, leading to a higher overall ranking, as well. The Bears jumped to #26 from #34 a week ago, but Oklahoma State also rose, from #42 to #35. It should be a good game and, considering it is a road game in the Big 12, will be very tough.