You just couldn't make it a full sweep, could you Oklahoma? It was a week of fairly dominant wins for the home team this week (Sooners excepted), but there's a lot of movement in the poll this week as there were two sizable upsets, an "upset" that can only be called so because of historic results and a showdown between the top two teams in last week's power rankings that ended up being a bit of a letdown for one of the teams involved. Let's go to the rankings!
1.) TCU Horned Frogs (8-1, 5-1), Previous ranking: #1
As dominant a performance as I've ever seen from a TCU team against a top ten ranked opponent? Yep, that sounds almostt right. If you want to argue for the 2010 game on the road at Utah that's certainly fair, but this one felt different to me because I wasn't expecting it- the Frogs had smeared Utah off the field in 2009 as well, so I wasn't that surprised to see us do it again in 2010, no matter what the Utes were ranked at the time. TCU cleared the last major home hurdle to a share of the Big 12 championship and possibly much more- win and it will likely work out in the end. Though a few style points never hurt anybody, so I wonder if there's someone we could play that would let us rack up a bunch of style points...
Next week: @ Kansas
2.) Baylor Bears (8-1, 5-1), Previous ranking: #4
Yes, I know Baylor is last in the Power Rankings in our hearts, but kudos to the Bears for getting over one of their historic hurdles in a cathartic beatdown of Oklahoma in Norman. Yes, Oklahoma was without their best player Sterling Shephard for the duration of the game, but winning at OU is always impressive, and in this case it's enough to take Baylor to its highest point in the power poll. At least there won't be arguments about the merits of strength of schedule, head to head or what have you in these polls- it's all about what team is most powerful. Baylor will get a chance to strut its stuff again next week as it takes on another of its strong non-conference opponents... oh, wait, that's a bye. I have a hard time telling the difference sometimes.
Next week: Bye
3.) Kansas State Wildcats (7-2, 5-1), Previous ranking: #2
Ordinarily when you get soundly thrashed on national television you fall more than one spot in the power rankings, but at this point we're running out of teams to fill the spaces. The Wildcats faltered in Fort Worth in a big way, but Coach Snyder will make it a learning experience and rally the troops with it, to the point where I wouldn't be at all surprised if Kansas State wins out and ends up sharing the conference championship with us. That road is a hard one though, as it will require winning on the road in both Morgantown and Waco- though if you're only going to win one of them, Cats, I have a suggestion for you.
Next week: @ West Virginia
4.) Texas Longhorns (5-5, 4-3), Previous ranking: #6
Another sizable jump as the Longhorns continue their steady improvement under Coach Strong. Texas jumped out to a strong start against the Mountaineers and simply kept the ground game churning, grinding that unique 3-3-5 look into dust, all the while holding Mountaineer quarterback Clint Trickett without a touchdown. Tyrone Swoopes was good enough not to lose the game for the Horns, but there's a serious question of how good the Horns could have been had David Ash not ended his career against North Texas. As it is, Texas is a dangerous team, but not a killer one, and they made sure the Big 12 conference will have at least six bowl teams (since now the winner of Texas/OSU is assured a bowl), which will help us long term... as long as we beat them.
Next week: @ Oklahoma State
5.) West Virginia Mountaineers (6-4, 4-3), Previous ranking: #3
I guess when you drink like a mountaineer, hangovers are a fact of life, and it certainly appears to be the case for West Virginia this week as they came out flat against a fired up Texas team on the road and had a difficult time getting anything at all going against the Horns in the first half, and when things started to click late in the game it was simply too late to make a difference. Quarterback Clint Trickett had another off game, completing a high percentage of passes, but for very low yards per attempt and zero touchdowns, perhaps showing that they, like Baylor, are not a team that performs as well on the road. What the Mountaineers don't have, however, is a lot of time to feel sorry for themselves after this loss as well- a night game in Morgantown against Kansas State awaits, and the Wildcats aren't just better than the Longhorns, they're 23-0 better than the Longhorns. A longer than usual prep week should help prevent as much of a hangover this time out, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to guess just how good West Virginia is this year.
Next week: Bye (short week before K-State).
6.) Oklahoma Sooners (6-3, 3-3), Previous ranking: #5
It takes a special team to lose at home by 34 to a team that has previously never won in your place, but these Oklahoma Sooners are just that sort of special. Losing your best player in the warmups before the game is brutal, and honestly Shephard is good enough that it may have been enough to change the game from a single score affair to, well, that. Playoff dreams dashed, Big 12 Champion hopes destroyed, maybe it wouldn't be the worst idea for coach Stoops to listen to Michigan if they call, huh? Sometimes a fresh start and fresh challenges can benefit both parties- though I think Bob will stay where he's been since he was hired- at the top of the Big 12 coaching period. Still, the wheels have definitely fallen off of the Sooner Schooner, but with trips to the dregs of the conference coming up, OU has a chance to rise back up (in the bowl picture, not the playoff).
Next week: @ Texas Tech
7.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-4, 3-3), Previous ranking: #7
"Don't play? Don't move" is one of the selection criteria for this power poll, so the Cowboys find themselves in the exact same situation as they were last week- win one more game and you go to a bowl, and the best chance to win a game is a showdown against Texas. Of course, that game with the Longhorns does look a lot more dangerous than it did last week, so things are not all well for OSU this week- the Cowboys need a bowl bid for the precious practices for their incredibly young team, and whether or not they'll get them is very much up for debate now.
Next week: Vs. Texas
8.) Kansas Jayhawks (3-6, 1-5), Previous ranking: #10
Holy crap I actually have to write about a Jayhawk game other than that KU is terrible. Uhhh... I wasn't prepared for this. Man, if I were in my underwear this would be like a nightmare. The Jayhawks started strong against Iowa State and never let up, riding a wave of weekly improvement and frustration with their Big 12 lot in life to a thorough victory over the Cyclones. Kansas didn't quit on the season even for a minute, and as a result they have a win (and no goalposts) and that might even be enough to get interim HC Clint Bowen a real shot at the full-time gig going forward. A respectable showing this week would help, but with Boykin looking to stay in Heisman consideration...
Next week: Vs. TCU
9.) Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-6, 1-5), Previous ranking: #9
Don't play, don't move. The battered Red Raiders get a much needed week off ahead of their shot against Oklahoma. I'm not looking forward to having to make a pick in that game, because as bad as Tech has looked this year, games in Lubbock are weird and Oklahoma isn't very good without Shephard. Heck if Tech wants to go on a surprise run and get bowl eligibility, I'd dig that pretty hard right now. Still, the defense is bad and the offense is decimated, so the Raiders stay just above the trap door that leads to the cellar. For now.
Next week: Vs. Oklahoma
10.) Iowa St. Cyclones (2-7, 0-6), Previous ranking: #8
Iowa State assumes the #10 spot of team I don't talk about except to say that they're very bad, so get ready- here it comes!
Iowa State is very bad at football.
Next week: Bye