Week 2 of Big 12 football saw the conference's first conference game played and Kansas joined the fray after their week one bye. We had cathartic victories, messy blowouts and a defensive coordinator fired after week 2- but how did that affect the rankings this week? Remember this is a power poll, not a prediction of how teams will finish. That said...
1.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0)
Previous ranking: #1
The Cowboys looked even stronger than last week, scoring points in bunches and only allowing UTSA to get anything going in the fourth quarter against the second string defense. Through three quarters the Cowboys held the Roadrunners to 7 points while scoring 42 of their own. This is a damn good team that gets Baylor, Oklahoma and TCU at home- in other words, they're going to be damn hard to knock out of the first position.
2.) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Previous ranking: #2
The Raiders didn't break a sweat against their FCS patsy with the broffense putting up over 700 yards of total offense. The defense looked solid for a second week, but will face a big test next week as if leadfooted Garrett Gilbert ran for 5.3 yards per carry they may run into trouble when faced with a true dual threat quarterback like the new-and-improved Trevone Boykin. A win for Tech next week will likely lead to an extended stay near the top of the power poll, as the next team that looks to be on Tech's level will be OU on October 26th.
3.) Oklahoma Sooners
Previous ranking: #4
The current conference leader moves up to the top three of the power poll after another strong defensive performance, this time against traditionally offensive West Virginia. Although the Mountaineers don't appear particularly explosive this year, holding a Dana Holgorsen offense to single digits is a Patterson-esque feat. That said... only putting up 16 points of offense against a tire fire (couch fire?) of a Mountaineer defense and turning throwing two picks? The Sooners will get one more week to try and get the offense humming against their little brother's little brother Tulsa before hitting the road to face Notre Dame and their three behemoth run crunching linemen. Figuring out how to pass successfully before then will be key to continued power rankings (and conference) success.
4.) Baylor Bears
Previous ranking: #5
Years of frustration at having the score continually run up on them by Big 12 conference members has led the Bears to take out their frustration on blameless Buffalo, scoring over 70 points against the Bulls after they had the gall to take an early 7-0 lead after opening the game with a flea flicker. The Bears offense is frighteningly good once again, but there are teams ahead that will test to see if they've made enough defensive improvement to be conference contenders. Just... not until November. If the Bears get by a dangerous road game at Kansas State, expect the Bears to coast to the top 2 in the power rankings until at least November 7th when Oklahoma comes to town.
5.) TCU Horned Frogs
Previous ranking: #6
The frogs climb back up to the top half of the power rankings despite a ho-hum win over Southeast Louisiana. Those fans who were whispering that Trevone Boykin should be the starter after Casey Pachall's uninspiring first two games will get their wish after Casey had surgery on his left arm after the game. How fitting that Boykin's first full game test come against Texas Tech, a team that immediately poured water on him after his red hot performance against Baylor. A strong and turnover free performance against Tech would be a huge boost to TCU's hopes, but it will be the defense that will be facing the real test on Thursday against Kliff Kingsbury's almighty broffense. If they try to win the game in a single play like they did so often against SE Louisiana it will be a long night in Lubbock.
6.) Kansas Jayhawks
Previous ranking: #8
The Jayhawks continue their climb out of the power rankings basement, this week bolstering their case by actually playing (and winning!) a football game! Yes, the Kansas Jayhawks won their first game of the season, thumping the South Dakota Coyotes by three scores. It's not an amazing feat, but it has to feel good after 11 straight defeats in the preceding games. I don't think the Jayhawks will be bowl bound, but they may have the goods to stay out of the bottom of the conference power rankings. Especially if they can learn to run the zone read, I've heard there's a team that can't stop it at all. What was that team called again?
7.) Texas Longhorns
Previous ranking: #3
Yes, I was a believer in Texas this year. I love when a team returns starters on both lines, and the Texas team looked stacked. Then BYU ran for 550 yards against them in an absolute buttkicking. Last week the offense put up a school record number of yards and this week the defense gave up a school record of yards to give Mack Brown another place in the Texas record books. Not getting a chance to make any more impact in the Texas record books is defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who was fired shortly after the game to be replaced with... Greg Robinson. As someone who watched Michigan's defenses in the Rich Rod years, somehow I think Texas may have actually downgraded. The Longhorns will attempt to score a winning record for the Big 12 against SEC teams for the year against Ole Miss next week, but I don't see how that's happening now.
8.) Kansas State Wildcats
Previous ranking: #9
There's not a lot of separation between teams 6-9, but for the moment Kansas hasn't lost, Texas lost to an AQ(ish) team, Kansas State lost to an FCS team but beat an FBS team, West Virginia beat an FCS team and lost to a BCS team. I ordered them this way because the William and Mary Tribe are a bad FCS team and North Dakota State is a very good one. With that explanation out of the way, Kansas State showed that they are not entirely dead after last week's deflating loss, pounding Louisiana-Lafayette by three touchdowns. The Wildcats will get one more chance to work out the kinks in the offense against fellow victim of FCS tragedy UMass before leaving Bill Snyder family stadium to take on the Texas Longhorns. I'd recommend running the zone read.
9.) West Virginia Mountaineers
Previous ranking: #7
West Virginia gave Oklahoma a game, I can't deny that, and having the Mountaineers so low does irk me a bit. Still, they're part of a mob of 1-1 teams and though their loss is probably the second best of the bunch their win is certainly the weakest. The Mountaineer defense looked surprisingly competent in holding OU to just 16 points, and in any other year for a West Virginia squad you'd expect that would be enough to get you the win. Not so much this time as the offense struggled mightily for the second week in a row. I consider the neutral site game against Maryland to be key for the Mountaineers chances in both the power poll and to get to a bowl bid, as if they can't beat the Terps I have a hard time seeing where the other wins are going to come from.
10.) Iowa State Cyclones
Previous ranking: #10
The Cyclones didn't get the fortuitous breaks that Kansas got to move up in the rankings during their bye week. Still, having two weeks to stew over that loss and gameplan for the hated Iowa Hawkeyes is likely to pay dividends that could see Iowa State rise back up in the rankings next week. Still, the only data point we have for ISU now is being handled by Northern Iowa- not a good memory.
Think West Virginia is too low? Think Texas Tech is (still) too high? Think that HawkeyedFrog is an awesome dude and/or despicable homer? Make your arguments below and they'll be taken into account along with next week's results in the next Big 12 Power Rankings.