This week in the Big 12 power rankings... Chaos. Last week's number one team got thumped by last week's number nine team which leads to a total rankings shakeup and a removal of the huge gap. We sort through the rubble below- keep in mind that this is a power ranking, not a prediction of how the teams will finish the season.
1.) Oklahoma Sooners
Going on the road and roughing up a solid Notre Dame defense? You bet that moves you up. Oklahoma now has the best non-conference win in the Big 12 and their offense has gone from question mark to dangerous with the institution of Blake Bell at quarterback. The rest of the schedule looks favorable, with the only road games to worry about being Baylor and Oklahoma State, so if OU can hold serve at home they could be BCS bound.
Previous ranking: #4, Season high ranking: #1
2.) Texas Tech Red Raiders
A great performance by TCU against SMU makes the Raiders win over the Frogs look better, solidifying their hold on the second spot. The Raiders should coast each of the next two weeks before taking on revenge minded West Virginia, so don't expect to see Tech drop in the power rankings for the immediate future.
Previous ranking: #2, Season high ranking: #1
3.) Baylor Bears
Baylor gets jumped again during the bye, through no fault of their own. Buffalo looked good in winning against Connecticut, but Louisiana-Monroe got thumped by Tulane. Call it a push, but the Bears will get a chance to make a statement against West Virginia next week before (finally) taking their show on the road against Kansas State.
Previous rankling: #3, Season high ranking: #3
4.) TCU Horned Frogs
Here's were it gets controversial, as the 2-2 Frogs outstrip the 3-1 Cowboys and 3-2 Mountaineers. If the Frogs had continued their first half play against SMU you'd be likely to find TCU in the #9 spot this week, but Jarrett Anderson finally remembered that if you run the ball good things can happen with this team, as TCU ran up a Baylor-esque 31 fourth quarter points against the SMU Mustangs. The Frogs will very shortly get a chance to prove they deserve a ranking in the top half of the conference, as they hit the road to face off with the conference's top dog. It's a weird ranking this week, but TCU looks like a weird team- the Frogs that played in the first half against SMU would lose to Oklahoma by 30, while the Frogs that played in the second half have a darn good chance of winning. Who knows what we'll see from this team next week.
Previous ranking: #5, Season high ranking: #1
5.) West Virginia Mountaineers
Welcome back to the top half of the conference, West Virginia, and this time you earned it instead of climbing up by default. The Mountaineers looked more than just stylish on Satuday in their all gold look, they looked like a good football team as quarterback Clint Trickett put together a solid offensive performance that gave the solid Mountaneer defense something to work with (the opposite of last week's blowout loss to Maryland). At many times it looked like the Mountaineers were closer to beating the Cowboys by twenty than they were to losing this game, which accounts for their huge jump up the rankings- though there were several interesting (read as: bad) clock management issues late in the game that gave the Cowboys more hope than they had any right to expect. One way or another, expect West Virginia in a different spot next week as they head to Waco to try and slow down the Baylor Bears.
Previous ranking: #9, Season high ranking: #5
6.) Oklahoma State Cowboys
Quite a tumble for the previously top ranked team, but I couldn't justify them being ranked above West Virginia after last Saturday's performance. The Cowboy defense was solid for the most part, but the offense had bad hiccups and can't find the running game they had last year that really put pressure on teams. The Cowboys are very likely to move back up in short order, but for a week at least Oklahoma State will be hanging with the bottom half of the conference.
Previous ranking: #1, Season high ranking: #1
7.) Texas Longhorns
Texas had a bye ahead of their Thursday night visit to Ames to take on the Cyclones, but still fall a spot after West Virginia vaulted ahead. A bye week could be new Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson's best friend as he tries to patch together a working defense out of the wreckage left behind by Manny Diaz- we'll get to see quickly, as Rhoads and company love pounding the rock.
Previous ranking: #6, Season high ranking: #2
8.) Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats week of punishment is over, and they can once again be ranked ahead of the hated Jayhawks. Don't get fooled into thinking that this team is a sure bet to make a bowl game though, as with West Virginia's show of competence it's hard to see a path to six wins that doesn't involve a substantial upset. Next week could be the perfect time with Oklahoma State reeling, but the Wildcat defense isn't nearly as good as the Mountaineers so far (Look at last year and ask if there was ever any way I saw myself writing that sentence.)
Previous ranking: #8, Season high ranking: #7
9.) Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks slip through no fault of their own, but their (admittedly fluky) win over Louisiana Tech doesn't look as impressive with the Bulldogs being gashed by Army at home. This is still a team that could surprise and win a Big 12 game or two, but with Iowa State improving (and the Jayhawks play them in Ames this year) don't expect Kansas to be favored any week this year.
Previous ranking: #7, Season high ranking: #6
10.) Iowa State Cyclones
Congratulations to the Cyclones for getting their first win of the season. Sadly the road out of the power rankings cellar will be a bit more difficult, as the season opening loss to Northen Iowa continues to be a millstone around the neck of Iowa State. Yes, in spite of this, the cyclones will find a way to be bowl eligible yet again, though no living man knows how.
Previous ranking: #10, Season high ranking: #8
Like the rankings? Dislike the rankings? Want to do your own rankings? The comments are open- make a persuasive argument and you may influence movement next week- though with the way the Big 12 has played so far I expect another total shakeup next week anyway.