By Jeffrey Swindoll
West Virginia (11-2-2, 4-0-1)
After blanking the No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks 2-0 on Sunday, the Mountaineers are without a doubt the top team in the conference. Against conference opponents, West Virginia netted 11 goals and conceded only twice – a league-best in both categories. The Mountaineers also took the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week honors after an impressive weekend against Kansas and Iowa State.
Kansas (14-3-0, 4-2-0)
The Jayhawks were flying high with a perfect 4-0-0 record in the first half of Big 12 play, but hit some turbulence this weekend against Texas Tech and West Virginia. For the first time this season, Kansas failed to score a single goal over a two-match span, losing 1-0 against Texas Tech and 2-0 against West Virginia. The Jayhawks are still one of the league’s best teams, as the two teams projected to finish at No. 1 and 2 in the Big 12 dealt their only two conference losses.
Oklahoma State (9-7-1, 4-1-1)
The Cowgirls have won three matches in a row and subtly climbed the standings to be tied with West Virginia for first place in the Big 12. Though they have shot up the standing a bit under the radar, the Cowgirls have been anything but lacking in firepower. OSU scored eight goals in six conference matches, and only conceded four goals against Big 12 teams.
Baylor (8-5-2, 2-2-1)
Last weekend the Bears recorded an impressive 2-1 win against OU in Norman, Okla., revitalizing their Big 12 campaign. Baylor’s season has been like a rollercoaster ride, with highs like beating BYU in Utah and lows like their first home loss of the season in their Big 12 opener against Kansas. After winning their first conference road game of the in Norman, the Bears look to finish out the season strong when they face two of the best teams in the conference (Texas Tech and West Virginia) away from home.
Texas Tech (12-3-1, 2-3-1)
At this point, shots and offensive creativity is a guarantee for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech totaled a league-high 101 shots and 26 corner kicks in their last 6 matches. In contrast, the Red Raiders average 0.83 goals per game while conceding 1.17 goals per game against conference opponents. Texas Tech is tied with Baylor in the conference standings (7 points) and have a chance of redeeming their slow start to conference play by pulling ahead of the Bears this Friday.
Oklahoma (8-6-2, 2-3-0)
The Sooners gave up their first loss to the Bears in over a decade last weekend, and are now in a three-way tie with Baylor and Texas Tech with 7 points (fourth place) in the conference standings. Getting upset from BU and sucker punched 2-1 by Oklahoma State set the Sooners back in the standings. The remaining schedule will be tough for all conference, but it will be especially challenging for the Sooners.
TCU (8-6-3, 1-3-3)
Picking up their first win in conference play this season, the Horned Frogs are tied with the Longhorns for second-last in the league (6 points). After tying against the league-leading West Virginia, many anticipated a better season thus far from the Horned Frogs. TCU has just one game remaining in the Big 12 against the league-worst Iowa State Cyclones.
Texas (8-6-2, 2-3-0)
Inconsistency has plagued the Longhorns in Big 12 this season. Currently on a two-game losing stream and three challenging matches remaining against Baylor, OU and OSU, the Longhorns have a big task ahead of them to break out of their tie with TCU in the conference standings.
Iowa State (6-9-9, 0-5-0)
The record speaks for itself. The Cyclones have gone from bad to worse this season. Iowa State has yet to score a goal in five Big 12 matches. The Cyclones are the only team in the conference that has not posted a shutout in Big 12 play. To make matters worse, the Cyclones play two of the best teams in the conference on the road next weekend (Kansas and Texas Tech).