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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 9

A relatively quiet week in the Big 12, but the Power Rankings are never the same.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

1. Texas Tech Red Raiders
West Virginia is a different team in Morgantown- they're a scary one.  Mix that in with the motivation to revenge themselves on the team that started the tailspin on what had looked like a special season for West Virginia last year and you have every element of a trap game.  Still Tech came out of the game unscathed and ready for next week's showdown with Oklahoma to either solidify their #1 spot or throw the rankings back into chaos.
Previous ranking: #1, Season high ranking: #1

2. Baylor Bears
Baylor set out on a mission to humiliate Iowa State to make up the poll position that they lost in their lucky escape against Kansas State last week.  It worked very well for the AP and coaches polls, but doesn't move the needle in the power rankings.  People will say things like "Baylor can only play the teams on its schedule", which is true, but at the same time right now I can only idly speculate about how Baylor would do against a real team.  My guess right now... not as good as Texas Tech.
Previous Ranking: #2, Season high ranking: #2

3. Texas Longhorns
The Horns move up on a bye week after Oklahoma's struggles against Kansas State made it impossible to ignore the head to head win any longer.  The Horns will come in and test their newfound defensive aptitude against TCU in Fort Worth this week- I'm predicting a 14-10 UT win.
Previous ranking: #4, Season high ranking: #2

4. Oklahoma Sooners
Oh OU, right when I think I've got you figured out you go and have two bad games in a row.  They did win this time, to their credit, but the Sooners had to capitalize on miscues from Kansas' special teams to set up 11 of their points.  Factor in the missed extra points from the Jayhawks and it might have been a 23-21 ballgame with five minutes left- a very different world.  Still, much like the Raiders and Longhorns benefited from referee calls I won't punish the Sooners for long for winning on special teams- it's a part of the game too, and the Sooners will have an opportunity to make a big jump with a home game against Texas Tech next week.
Previous ranking: #3, Season high ranking: #1

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys didn't beat themselves against TCU, and that was all that ended up being necessary.  The Cowboys put up the same ugly numbers that you'd expect a team going against the TCU defense would put up (less than 50% completion percentage, less than 3 yards per carry) but had two monster punt returns and a kickoff return that kept the offense in good field position all game, and they converted enough third downs to wear down the TCU defense as the game went on (sounds familiar).  Meanwhile the OSU defense held the infantile TCU offense to ten points, which is just not enough to win a football game in the Big 12.
Previous ranking: #6, Season high ranking: #1

6. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers move up because despite the loss to Tech, they looked pretty good throughout and led the top dog Red Raiders for most of the third quarter.  There's the makings of a competent offense in Morgantown to go along with an above average defense.  In the Big 12 that'll probably get you bowl eligible.
Previous ranking: #7, Season high ranking: #5

7. Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats too move up on a bye week, showing that once again the best thing you can do when you have a bad team is not to play.
Previous ranking: #8, Season high ranking: #7

8. TCU Horned Frogs
TCU manages to not fall to ninth because holy damn is the defense incredible.  That said, the Port Noarlunga Oilers American football club has a better offense than the frogs, and they're the second worst team in the South Australian Gridiron League.  You could make an argument that TCU has lost close games against four top 25 teams, and you'd be right, but after Oklahoma State ended the exact same way the other three losses did, who's really satisfied with that?
Previous ranking: #5, Season high ranking: #1 (I miss those days)

9. Kansas Jayhawks
Good effort against the slumping Sooners gets the Jayhawks a trip out of the Power Ranking basement for at least a week.  If Kansas keeps hanging around teams they're going to be able to steal a conference win this year- and not just in the coin flip of dreadfulness that will be KU-ISU.
Previous ranking: #10, Season high ranking: #6

10. Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State is not a particularly good football team.  Baylor is a good (possibly very good) football team that loves to run up the score.  When Iowa State fell behind big early due (in part) to a fumble, you could see how the game was going to turn out.  The Cyclones beat Texas, but it's getting harder and harder to remember how.
Previous ranking: #9, Season high ranking: #7