There's not a ton of suspense in the Power Rankings this week, with just three Big 12 games and no real upsets. Still, people jostle around in the bye weeks and I'll never be bummed about a power ranking that opens with...
1.) TCU Horned Frogs (6-1, 3-1), Previous ranking: #1
There were a lot of feelings of catharsis as TCU exorcised their previous demons against Texas Tech in dominant and violent fashion, with the third quarter in particular seeing TCU treat Tech like a Baylor non-conference opponent. Admittedly, the defense didn't get off to the best start, but seemed to find themselves in the second quarter and recorded numerous takeaways and battered their Raider opposition to the point where Davis Webb is day-to-day for Tech's next game against the Longhorns. I honestly didn't think I'd ever write these next few words, but with the way tides rise and fall in college football, I'll say it now and won't look back: Boykin for Heisman. The grind resumes in a big way the next two weeks though, and if Boykin steers us through with two more crisp performances, he'll have earned it.
Next week: @ West Virginia Mountaineers
2.) Kansas State (6-1, 4-0), Previous ranking: #2
If TCU hadn't done those unspeakable things to Texas Tech this week, there would definitely be a case for moving the Wildcats up to #1 after a dominant shutout of the Texas Longhorns. We all know K-State is a few self inflicted mistakes away from sitting undefeated and firmly in the playoff hunt, but as it is the Wildcats are coasting through the less daunting part of their schedule, sharpening themselves for playing three of the Big 12's main contenders in a five week span- the TCU game will likely be the hardest test, as the Cats have a bye before West Virginia and a mental bye in Kansas before the Baylor game- if KSU beats TCU I think they'll run the table, if not they could easily drop another game.
Next week: Vs Oklahoma State Cowboys.
3.) Baylor Bears (6-1, 3-1), Previous ranking: #3
That playoff ranking has to be rankling the Baylor supporters, but with meaty games against Oklahoma and Kansas State ahead, the Bears are in position to move up. Still, will that be enough to catch TCU if the Frogs win out? Pollsters tend to look kindly on the team that beat an opponent when they were more highly ranked, and TCU got OU and gets KSU first- which could be huge. If the Bears don't move up, you'd better believe there'll be a lot of bonfires by the Brazos, and possibly even a few "61-58" banners flown from the backs of airplanes. Still, it's funny when it's not happening to you.
Next week: Vs. Kansas Jayhawks
4.) West Virginia Mountaineers (6-2, 4-1), Previous ranking: #5
The Mountaineers went on the road and handled Oklahoma State with a minimum of trouble, even with all-star receiver Kevin White having a relatively quiet day. The Mountaineer defense is doing a masterful job of creating pressure with effective blitzes, and OSU just doesn't have the run game this year to do anything to keep defenses honest. The Mountaineers are the Big 12's hottest team at the moment, and the schedule is favorable to them the rest of the way, getting both TCU and K-State in Morgantown. This is likely the biggest game for West Virginia football program since the 2007 Backyard Brawl where if the Mountaineers won they would've headed to the national championship game. Let's hope for a similarly disappointed crowd at Mountaineer Field after this week's game is over.
Next week: Vs. TCU Horned Frogs
5.) Oklahoma Sooners (5-2, 2-2), Previous ranking: #4
The Sooners took a bye, which came at a great time- a game against Iowa State right after a deflating loss would have been very dangerous for the Sooners, but with a bye to calm the waters I think the Sooners will handle their business pretty easily against the Cyclones and be ready for visiting Baylor next week. I know OU owns the head to head against WVU, but this is very much a "What have you done for me lately" business.
Next week: @ Iowa St. Cyclones
A HUGE GAP
6.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-3, 3-2), Previous ranking: #6
The Cowboys have been revealed to not be the Big 12 contenders that many thought they would be, but surprisingly OSU is still the conference's best shot at a sixth bowl team (Look at the schedules, if you see three more wins for either Texas or Tech, let me know) and even that isn't a given with the way the Cowboy offense has fallen off. The Cowboys aren't likely to threaten KSU much this week, but they run a similar enough offense that they may show TCU something that they like against a strong Wildcat defense. This is not the team that gacked away a good chance to beat Florida State to start the season, and it's unlikely that OSU team will see the field again this year- beat Texas, go to a bowl, don't beat Texas, there's going to be trouble.
Next week: @ Kansas State Wildcats
7.) Texas Longhorns (3-5. 2-3), Previous ranking: #7
Most weeks a shutout loss would have you drop in the rankings, but the teams behind them either already lost to Texas or played TCU last week and are dealing with a different sort of embarrassment. Outside of Tyrone Swoopes, the offense is really bad, and inside of Tyrone Swoopes the offense is just mediocre. The defense is good, but this is last year's TCU team wearing a less attractive color uniform, and just like that TCU team, this team will not be attending a bowl game. Still, a chance to kick one of their little brothers while they're down would be nice.
Next week: @ Texas Tech Red Raiders
8.) Iowa State Cyclones (2-5, 0-4), Previous ranking: #9
See Oklahoma, byes don't always drop you in the rankings! The Cyclones move up just two weeks ahead of QUITBOWL 2014™ part I, in which we see which of the beaten and disheartened cellar dwellers of the Big 12 have the heart to keep playing hard for their coach and try to get a win, and which of them will quit. To me, the Cyclones are the least likely of the bottom 3 to quit, so they get a bump up this week despite doing nothing (and will likely drop back down after a beatdown at the hands of Oklahoma).
Next week: Vs. Oklahoma Sooners
9.) Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-5, 1-4), Previous ranking: #8
Quick, name a good thing that happened for Texas Tech in the second half on Saturday.
They found out that the guys clamoring for backup quarterback Patrick Mahomes to take over the starting job are just a tad overly optimistic? Maybe Superfrog's master plan to oust Tommy Tuberville as Tech head coach was genius after all?
Next week: Vs. Texas Longhorns
10.) Kansas Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4), Previous ranking: #10
Kansas is bad at football, and had a bye.- My shortest power ranking blurb ever!
Next week: @ Baylor Bears