Welcome to the Big 12 conference 2013.
The number one team takes a tumble, meaning we're left to sort out the mess between Oklahoma who beat TCU, Texas who beat Oklahoma, and Iowa State who beat Texas (even if they don't get credit for the win). West Virginia beat Oklahoma State, but got whipped by Baylor who struggled against Kansas State who lost to Oklahoma State and hasn't beaten anyone. Chaos reigns, rankings vary. Here's what I'm thinking this week.
1.) Texas Tech Red Raiders
After seeing Texas beat down Oklahoma, I'm giving Iowa State a lot of respect despite their losses this year. With that said, the Raiders could have well blown the Cyclones out without a few lucky ISU breaks. The Raiders were able to run the ball effectively for the first time this year, giving their attack a new dimension and building confidence as they continue to grow. This is a scary team, as much as I don't want to admit it, I think they're the favorites for the Big 12 title right now.
Previous ranking: #2, Season high ranking: #1
2.) Baylor Bears
Baylor moves up despite a pathetic performance against a Kansas State team that hasn't had a single Big 12 victory yet. The Bears picked up some decent yardage through the air, but their accuracy and yards per carry on the ground were diminished severely. All in all it's probably a good thing for Baylor (and a bad thing for the rest of the conference) that they were tested so fiercely on the road- they know that their defense is average and their offense is mortal, which may keep them from getting too big-headed and walk into a bigger trap against a more talented team. Still, one day the Bears will have to play someone who is good on defense and doesn't need a specific quarterback for running plays or passing plays, and no one knows what may happen then.
Previous ranking: #3, Season high ranking: #2
3.) Oklahoma Sooners
Here we get to the controversial part, where despite being thoroughly outclassed by the Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma stays up. Why? I still think Oklahoma is the better team, and they didn't get blasted by BYU. The Sooners still have the best resume in the Big 12 despite their off day in Dallas, so they remain in the top three for now. That said... Wow did the Sooners look like a bad team or what? Now think of what TCU could have done if they'd just stuck with the running game? Yeah, I'm depressed too.
Previous ranking: #1, Season high ranking: #1
4.) Texas Longhorns
Mack Brown lives to infuriate the Longhorn fanbase another day. Despite the incredibly shady win over Iowa State (that I will not forget as the season goes on) the Longhorns came to play against Oklahoma and seized control early, never putting themselves in a position where their fragile nature felt any pressure. Texas outgained the Sooners by almost 200 yards, gashed OU on the ground and, most importantly, converted over 50% of their third downs to sustain drives and wear out their rivals. Either Greg Davis is a miracle working genius (based on his work with Syracuse and Michigan, he's not) or the Stoops brothers didn't get the memo that Texas can be utterly destroyed by a running quarterback. Blake Bell- 3 non-sack rushes. Yeah, they didn't get the memo.
Previous ranking: #6, Season high ranking: #2
5.) TCU Horned Frogs
One of the preseason favorites for the Big 12 title finally got their first conference win this week, as the Frogs ran out of feet to shoot themselves in and were forced to realize that they were simply a much better team than the Kansas Jayhawks. The playcalling had some slight improvements, but still a huge number of issues that need to be resolved before Oklahoma State, who have have two weeks to form a plan to attack the Frogs. Still, despite the frustrating turnovers the offense put up a fairly consistent performance against a pretty all right defense, which could bode well for the future. As long as TCU has the conference's best defense (and they still do) they'll have a chance in every game this year, and it will be up to the offense to come up with a plan to take advantage of those situations.
Previous ranking: #4, Season high ranking: #1
6.) Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys finally will get a chance to secure a place in the top half of the rankings after their unceremonial beating at the hands of the West Virginia Mountaineers if they can handle a home game against the Frogs next week. Still, the Cowboys win over Kansas State looks better after the Wildcats gave Baylor all they could handle, while the loss to West Virginia looks worse after the thrashing Baylor gave them. So... Sixth is fine for now.
Previous ranking: #5, Season high ranking: #1
7.) West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers were off this week, but seeing Kansas State look so good against Baylor (while the Mountaineers looked so bad) makes their standing iffy once again. Still, they don't get a bump down from the bye, as the Mountaineers have a Big 12 win and the Wildcats don't. Ticky tack reasoning, but the temporary tiebreaker can be if the Mountaineers look decent against Texas Tech.
Previous ranking: #7, Season high ranking: #5
8.) Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats did what no team has done so far this year- taken a lead on Baylor into the fourth quarter. Sadly the two quarterback system cost Kansas State as running quarterback Daniel Sams was forced to pass late to keep the defense honest and threw an interception that ruined the Wildcats chances for victory. Still, K-State is getting better each and every week, so I feel sorry for the teams that have to play the Cats in November. When does TCU play K-State anyway? Ah, crap.
Previous ranking: #8, Season high ranking: #7
9.) Iowa State Cyclones
Though it was fairly fortuitous that the Cyclones were able to stick with Tech, given the kind of things that usually happen to teams visiting Lubbock losing by just a touchdown is a moral victory. Sadly, the Cyclones have been running short on the other kinds of victories this year, which may hurt them unless the NCAA passes rules to allow moral victories to count. Hey, they count FCS victories, so why not? They still beat Texas.
Previous ranking: #9, Season high ranking: #7
10.) Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks got every possible lucky break against TCU, yet still... I was never afraid that the game was going to turn the other way. The Jayhawks are a bad team and with the muscle of the Big 12 all in a row (Tech-TCU-Oklahoma-Texas-Oklahoma State all in a row? The scheduling gods are jerks) Kansas is just going to have to hope it can stay healthy to try and pick off West Virginia, Iowa State or Kansas State at season's end.
Previous ranking: #10, Season high ranking: #6