Week 4 of Big 12 football was a short one, with just six of the ten teams in action this week, and yet total chaos broke out once again as last week's #5 team was shut out 37-0 and we have movement in the top 4 despite none of them losing. Let's check the chaos, but keep in mind this is only the power that the teams have shown so far, not a prediction of how the conference race will end up.
1.) Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys take hold of the top spot again after Mississippi State annihilated a decent Troy team to make Oklahoma State's season opening shellacking of the Bulldogs look more impressive. That combined with a lackluster showing by Tech was enough to bump the Cowboys up to #1.
Previous Ranking: #2
2.) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Tech didn't look great against Texas State, as both of their freshmen quarterback struggled with interceptions, combining for three on the day. Despite that, the Tech defense put together an impressive performance against a Bobcat team that was determined to run the ball like any Fran team. Tech still has what I think is the best scalp of any Big 12 team so far by beating TCU in Lubbock, but that may change with next week's Oklahoma road trip to Notre Dame. Fortunately for Tech, they hit a cushy bit of the schedule until late October which will likely keep them near the top of the power poll.
Previous Ranking: #1
3.) Baylor Bears
At long last Baylor moves up by putting on yet another impressive performance on both sides of the ball. Louisiana-Monroe is far from a good team, but since they do have a common foe with the Oklahoma Sooners I can justify jumping Baylor up for at least a week. It would not be a great surprise to me if Baylor were the last undefeated team in the Big 12 as they have no games against decent teams until November 7th, but the weakness of their opponents may keep them out of the top spot even then- we'll see how it shakes out.
Previous Ranking: #4
4.) Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners get a bump down on account of Baylor's more impressive Louisiana-Monroe destruction, but if Blake Bell and company roll into Notre Dame stadium and put on the type of show that I expect that they may, we may have a new #1 team next week. This is going to be exciting.
Previous Ranking: #3
THE GAP LIVES ON
5.) TCU Horned Frogs
Not doing anything is clearly the best thing TCU can do to improve in my eyes, as time passing (and watching the rest of the Big 12 play) makes me forget how awful the TCU offense has been this season. The talent is there, but will it be put into position to succeed? Who knows.
Previous Ranking: #5
6.) Texas Longhorns
Last week was another great example of why I think the Longhorns are fragile instead of soft, as Texas played Kansas State tough and got enough fortunate bounces (three fumbles, including two in the red zone) to keep from feeling the pressure needed to break. Still, quarterback David Ash may have suffered another concussion that could see him miss significant time, leaving Case McCoy as the likely starter for a key OU TCU stretch of the season. Still, 2-2 (1-0) has to feel good and may give a bit more confidence to the fragile Longhorn psyches going forward.
Previous Ranking: #8
7.) Kansas Jayhawks
Congratulations to the Kansas Jayhawks for breaking their 22 game FBS losing streak over a Louisiana Tech team that went bowling last year. Still, two fumbles for the bulldogs inside the Kansas 5 mean that the KU coaching staff can't feel too good about this one, but it's not a feeling they're going to pass on to their kids. Kansas' defense looks good, the running game was improved and Jake Heaps wasn't dreadful (though still not great). I think this is a team that will win a Big 12 game or two this year, and after the last couple of years the Jayhawk faithful will take that.
Previous Ranking: #9
8.) Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats drop after being the first team this season to be unable to run on the Texas Longhorns, which puts them down on my list. Still, the wildcats had every chance to win the game, but were crushed in the turnover margin with all three fumbles coming in times where they could have totally shifted the game's momentum. By the end of the year I expect that Kansas State will be a better team than Texas, but right now with losses to Texas and NDSU they're stuck near the bottom of the poll.
Previous Ranking: #7
9.) West Virginia Mountaineers
Ouch. There are rivalry losses, there are humiliating losses and then there are humiliating losses to your rival that involve you being shut out for the first time since Rich Rodriguez was a first year head coach. West Virginia this year is the opposite of last year's mountaineer team- a pretty good defense balanced out by an absolutely dreadful offense, which scored more points for Maryland than they scored for their own team. West Virginia will likely get better as the season goes on, but right now they're dreadful.
Previous Ranking: #5
10.) Iowa State Cyclones
The Big 12's winless squad had the week off to prepare for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, let's hope they can get that win and start moving up in the world.
Previous Ranking: #10. Thank you for being the rock of consistency, Iowa State.