AP Top 25 voters put Oklahoma State football (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) as the No. 8 team in the nation after its 32-24 road victory against Texas in Week 7. The Cowboys, who were No. 12 after a bye last week, moved up four spots for the Week 8 poll.
OSU has cracked the Top 10 in 10 of the past 14 seasons, easily a program-best streak that began in 2008.
No. 8 feels about right for this OSU squad. It hasn’t looked dominant in any of its wins, with only two wins against Kansas State and Baylor coming by more than a one-possession margin — and those were wins by 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Cowboys have only won by an average of a touchdown each game this year.
It’s a different style of winning (a stingy defense and an inconsistent passing attack) for Cowboys fans to get used to under Gundy in the coach’s 17th season, but it’s been successful thus far in 2021.
There are three one-loss teams ranked ahead of OSU: Penn State at No. 7, Ohio State at No. 5, and Alabama at No. 4. The Nitanny Lions lost to No. 11 Iowa several weeks after starting quarterback Sean Clifford went out with an injury, Ohio State lost to No. 10 Oregon early in the season, and the Crimson Tide lost one week ago on the road to No. 17 Texas A&M.
While the Pokes haven’t clobbered anyone through their first six games, this past three-game stretch did mark a first in program history: three consecutive wins against ranked opponents (Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas).
A slew of one-loss teams follow the Cowboys in positions No. 10 – 14: Oregon, Iowa, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, and Kentucky. Michigan State (No. 9) is directly after OSU after its 21-15 against Indiana.
The Big 12 has three ranked teams this week: No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 8 Oklahoma State, and No. 20 Baylor. Future Big 12 member Cincinnati currently sits at No. 2, and BYU fell out of the rankings after its loss to Baylor.
OSU will visit Iowa State in next Saturday in a 2:30 p.m. CT matchup on FOX. The Cyclones are the sixth team out of this week’s Top 25, making Week 8 the first weekend of the 2021 season that does not feature a single game of two ranked teams.
Every Cowboys fan old enough to be in high school and beyond remembers the trip to Ames during the 2011 season in which the Cyclones upset No. 2-ranked OSU, spoiling the legitimate national title hopes for Gundy and the Cowboys.
Midseason rankings, in the end, matter very little for OSU. A loss to Iowa State this upcoming Saturday would drop the Cowboys further back in the polls and would open things up considerably for the other berth in the Big 12 title game, which figures to be OU against someone else.
Even though the Cowboys have beaten the Cyclones in eight of the teams’ past nine meetings, Iowa State may be favored by the oddsmakers. Many in the preseason expected the Cyclones (4-2, 2-1) instead of the Cowboys to be a Top 10 team and challenging for the Big 12 title.