Editor’s note: Each week during the 2023 college football season, the Deseret News released power rankings that took a look at the 16 teams that will make up the Big 12 Conference beginning with the 2024 season. This article is the final installment in the series.

The rankings do not include Texas and Oklahoma — as those schools are leaving for the Southeastern Conference next year — but do include Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado, the four Pac-12 teams joining the league next season.


The next time these 16 teams will play a regular-season game, it will be as members of the same conference.

Only the bowl season separates us from the future Big 12.

The picture of how these 16 schools will stack up going into the 2024 season came together over the past month.

Here’s how the power rankings look at the end of the 2023 regular season.

1. Arizona (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12)

  • Poll movement: No change.
  • Last week: Beat Arizona State, 59-23.
  • Next game: TBD, bowl season.

The Wildcats kept on rolling, picking up their sixth straight win with a blowout victory over their rivals. While it just missed out on playing for a Pac-12 title, Arizona has shown serious growth under coach Jedd Fisch and, if he sticks around, the Wildcats look like a contender in their new conference. 

2. Oklahoma State (9-3, 7-2 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Climbed one spot.
  • Last week: Beat BYU, 40-34.
  • Next game: Saturday vs. No. 7 Texas, Big 12 championship game, 10 a.m. MST (ABC).

The Cowboys nearly let BYU spoil their chance at playing for a conference championship. After a poor first half, though, Oklahoma State came to life and rallied to earn a hard-fought double-overtime victory, led by five touchdown runs from Ollie Gordon II. Can they send Texas off to the SEC with one final loss?

Utah Utes safety Cole Bishop (8) tackles Colorado Buffaloes running back Dylan Edwards (3) in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. Utah won 23-17. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

3. Utah (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12)

In a season where the Utes’ depth was tested at so many positions due to a laundry list of injuries, it’s appropriate that one final regular-season win was delivered courtesy of the team’s fifth-string quarterback. Luke Bottari scored twice and the Utah defense held strong in snapping a two-game losing streak.  

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It’s the end of an era for the Utes — the game against Colorado was the final regular-season contest for the program as a member of the Pac-12. A bowl game awaits — that destination will be unveiled in a week — and then it’s on to the Big 12.

4. Kansas State (8-4, 6-3 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Dropped two spots.
  • Last week: Lost to Iowa State, 42-35.
  • Next game: TBD, bowl season.

For the fourth time this season, the Wildcats lost by eight points or less, as the Cyclones beat Kansas State in a snow-filled contest in Manhattan. Kansas State won’t defend its Big 12 championship. Instead, it’s on to bowl season after an up-and-down regular season during which the Wildcats, at times, were ranked among the nation’s top 25.

T5. Iowa State (7-5, 6-3 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Climbed two spots.
  • Last week: Beat then-No. 19 Kansas State, 42-35.
  • Next game: TBD, bowl season.

Over the last two months of the season, the Cyclones were one of the better programs in the Big 12. They finished with wins in five of their last seven games, and the two losses came by a combined 17 points against then-ranked opponents. Iowa State’s regular-season finale ensured a winning year for the sixth time in eight seasons under coach Matt Campbell. 

T5. West Virginia (8-4, 6-3 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: No change.
  • Last week: Beat Baylor, 34-31.
  • Next game: TBD, bowl season.

The Mountaineers rallied to beat the Bears last Saturday, scoring the game-winner with just 29 seconds remaining and, as a result, finished in a three-way tie for fourth in the Big 12 standings. West Virginia, once picked to finish last in the conference, outkicked that projection by winning four of its final five games after a brief midseason losing streak.

7. Kansas (8-4, 5-4 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Climbed one spot.
  • Last week: Beat Cincinnati, 49-16.
  • Next game: TBD, bowl season.

No matter what happens in their bowl game, the Jayhawks will snap a 15-year streak of losing seasons this year — that came after Lance Leipold got the program back to the postseason after a long drought last year. The win over the Bearcats ensured Kansas would stay in the top half of the Big 12 standings, and there appear brighter days ahead with Leipold around.

8. Texas Tech (6-6, 5-4 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Dropped two spots.
  • Last week: Lost to then-No. 7 Texas, 57-7.
  • Next game: TBD, bowl season.

It’s a good thing the Red Raiders wrapped up becoming bowl eligible the week before, because they were no match for the Longhorns, who still hold playoff aspirations. It’s pretty remarkable, though, that Texas Tech turned around its season after losing three of its first four games and needed three November wins just to make the postseason. Mission accomplished.

9. UCF (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Climbed one spot.
  • Last week: Beat Houston, 27-13.
  • Next game: TBD, bowl season.

The Knights will be the only Big 12 newcomer heading to the postseason, after they beat fellow newbie Houston in the regular-season finale to clinch bowl eligibility. UCF shook off a midseason five-game losing streak to win three of its final four games, including a stunning 45-3 victory over Big 12 championship game bound Oklahoma State — a finish that gives UCF optimism heading into the 2024 season.

10. TCU (5-7, 3-6 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Dropped one spot.
  • Last week: Lost to then-No. 13 Oklahoma, 69-45.
  • Next game: Season over.

The Horned Frogs won’t go bowling the year after they played in the national championship game. Yes, the loss to a ranked Oklahoma squad put the final loss in the standings, but TCU struggled after a 3-1 start and ended up with just one victory over a legacy Big 12 program this season.

11. BYU (5-7, 2-7 Big 12)

BYU coaches, players and fans will have several months to bemoan what could have been — the Cougars led 24-6 at halftime against the Cowboys and played their best half of football of the season. But Oklahoma State made adjustments at the half, BYU went into stalemate mode on offense (again) and the Cowboys won the double-overtime thriller.

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Perhaps it’s for the best that the Cougars are spending the next few weeks preparing for the 2024 season and not focusing on a bowl game. BYU came up one win short of its goal to become bowl eligible, but the more concerning aspect was how uncompetitive the program looked for a month after a 5-2 start. Changes are needed. 

12. Houston (4-8, 2-7 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Dropped one spot.
  • Last week: Lost to UCF, 27-13.
  • Next game: Season over.

The Cougars will be playing their second Big 12 season under a new head coach, after firing Dana Holgorsen after the loss to the Knights. Houston had some competitive moments during its first season in the league, but far too often was inconsistent — losing five of its final six games was evidence of that.

T16. Colorado (4-8, 1-8 Pac-12)

A once-promising season turned out to be very forgettable by year’s end for Deion Sanders in his first season as Buffaloes head coach — Colorado’s 3-0 start in nonconference play was wiped out by winning just once in Pac-12 action. The Sanders rebuild project will continue in a new home — the Big 12 — next year.

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T16. Arizona State (3-9, 2-7 Pac-12)

  • Poll movement: Dropped two spots.
  • Last week: Lost to then-No. 16 Arizona, 59-23.
  • Next game: Season over.

The Sun Devils struggled much of the season under first-year coach Kenny Dillingham, and now they’ll limp into a new league looking to turn around a program that was playing winning football just two seasons ago. If there’s a silver lining, there is youth on this team — like quarterback Jaden Rashada — and ASU got a pair of unexpected league wins.

T16. Baylor (3-9, 2-7 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: Dropped one spot.
  • Last week: Lost to West Virginia, 34-31.
  • Next game: Season over.

Dave Aranda reportedly won’t be losing his job after a second straight losing season, though changes are coming, and that includes offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes, who held the same position at BYU from 2018-20, being fired. The question is, can Baylor recapture the momentum it had in 2021, when the Bears won the Big 12 title, or will 2024 be the swan song for Aranda?

T16. Cincinnati (3-9, 1-8 Big 12)

  • Poll movement: No change.
  • Last week: Lost to Kansas, 49-16.
  • Next game: Season over.

Of all the Big 12 newcomers, Cincinnati definitely struggled the most. The Bearcats won just once after going 2-0 to start the season, and that victory came over Houston. In eight conference losses, Cincinnati lost by an average 16.8 points, with the only single-score games coming against BYU, UCF and Baylor.