Another interesting week in the Big 12 (aren't they all?) as it was generally a good time if you weren't playing one of the top six teams in this week's power rankings, and a rough time if you were- and the conference's one matchup of conference championship contenders was certainly a rough time for both teams involved. Still, where there are football games, there is movement in the power rankings, even if the top spots are more or less in limbo for this week's deciding clashes.
1.) TCU Horned Frogs (7-1, 4-1), Previous ranking: #1
The Frogs hung on to a win in Morgantown, and as a result, hang on to their spot at the top of the Big 12 rankings. Unlike the other contending teams in the Big 12, TCU is coming to an end of the teeth of their schedule, with just Kansas State as a likely bowl team ahead as a likely impediment to a conference championship. Beat the Wildcats, win a conference championship and secure the #1 spot in these rankings (and maybe a higher ranking in some other important rankings too.) No pressure, right?
Next week: Vs. Kansas State Wildcats
2.) Kansas State Wildcats (7-1, 5-0), Previous ranking: #2
The Wildcats fell behind OSU early, but answered back on the following kickoff to tie and then spent the rest of the game simply sitting on the Cowboy offense until the game came to a merciful end. KSU looked impressive, but remain solidly at #2 because they don't have the resume that the Frogs do... yet. With four games left on their schedule, KSU has road games against three of the top 5 teams in the power rankings, as well as a home contest against rival Kansas. If the Wildcats win out, they'll have earned a spot in the playoff, but I certainly wouldn't bet on it.
Next week: @ TCU Horned Frogs
3.) West Virginia Mountaineers (6-3, 4-2), Previous ranking: #4
The Mountaineers move up thanks to a tight quality loss (and they do own the head to head over the Bears, as was pointed out last week). Many West Virginia fans will be lamenting this weeks loss for weeks (and possibly years) to come, as the Mountaineers seemed in full control of the game at points, only to have the lead ripped away when Jaden Oberkrom's kick sailed through the uprights. That this is the best three loss team in the country goes without saying, but the Mountaineers need to get their heads on straight and make sure that they don't become the best four loss team in the country against the Longhorns while they lament Saturday's loss.
Next week: @ Texas Longhorns
4.) Baylor Bears (7-1, 4-1), Previous ranking: #3
The Bears drop, despite blowing out Kansas for the simple reason that they're in a pretty similar boat to the Mountaineers- they just haven't played Oklahoma or Alabama. Despite the head to head, it's likely that Baylor will move back up in the rankings with a win over the Sooners when their strength of schedule increases a bit, but for now the Bears have played two teams that are or even have been ranked this year and are .500 against them. The Bears will have a chance to move back up, and if they win out there'll be an interesting discussion about how they fit in the Power rankings- in the meantime, fourth feels about right.
Next week: @ Oklahoma Sooners
5.) Oklahoma Sooners (6-3, 4-2), Previous ranking: #5
Another tale of a blowout win not really getting you the results you hoped for in the poll, the Sooners went to Ames and absolutely bulldozed the Cyclones, rolling up 750 yards of offense and absolutely punishing ISU on the ground. The only concerning part is that when the Sooners tried to pass, quarterback Trevor Knight ended up throwing two picks against a Cyclone defense that is not considered particularly stout. With a chance at a shared Big 12 title still a possibility if they win out, it will really come down to how well Knight takes care of the ball on Saturday- Baylor has been very mortal out of Waco, but OU is still going to need to score points to beat the Bears. Here's hoping they can.
Next week: Vs. Baylor Bears
6.) Texas Longhorns (4-5, 3-3), Previous ranking: #7
Back to .500 once more in conference play, the Longhorns made what is usually a daunting trip to Lubbock seem like a walk in the park after knocking out Tech's backup quarterback Patrick Mahomes early in the game, forcing walk-on Vincent Testaverde to take the reigns of the Tech offense. After that the Texas defense feasted, and the offense was left to simply run the ball repeatedly until Tech finally broke down under the pressure, much like they did against Arkansas. Is Texas good enough to actually sneak into a bowl and give the conference six bowl teams? I'm on the fence, but I think they'll beat OSU when they play, and that's enough for #6 right now.
Next week: Vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
7.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-4, 3-3), Previous ranking: #6
It started off really well for the Cowboys, driving straight down the field for a touchdown by feeding their freakish athlete Tyreek Hill, but all of their momentum was sucked out by Kansas State answering the score on the very next play, and the Cowboys offense didn't score another point the rest of the way (OSU got a pick 6 off of KSU's backup QB late in the contest). This is looking more and more like an OSU team that got lucky to hang tight against FSU, then was lucky enough to play the bottom teams of the Big 12 early, and has now been exposed for what they are- a team that will be lucky to make it to a bowl game. Things would probably have been different if J.W. Walsh weren't injured, but I still don't know that they would have won any of their last three games with him, either.
Next week: Bye
8.) Iowa State Cyclones (2-6, 0-5), Previous ranking: #8
For ISU and Tech, you just have to pick whether you prefer a team that got a little humiliated at home against an average team, or humiliated a ton at home by a good team. I'm still going with the Cyclones here, particularly if Davis Webb and Mahomes can't play for the Raiders anymore- ISU has had a number of injuries this year, but at least the Cyclones have a quarterback. Still, the Cyclones can take heart- they're not Kansas.
Next week: @ Kansas Jayhawks
9.) Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-6, 1-5), Previous ranking: #9
I know a lot of you good readers detest Tech, but at this point I think even the most die hard Tech haters have to be feeling a little bad for the Raiders. You always hate to see teams look worse than they are due to injuries, and being down to a walk on (not a Baker Mayfield-esque walk on, either) at quarterback is an absolute disaster for Kliff Kingsbury and company. Still, Texas Tech has a bye to get healthy in, and both Oklahoma and Baylor come to Lubbock around a trip to Ames- Tech fans may actually think Kingsbury was worth that very early contract extension if he wins two of those three.
Next week: Bye.
10.) Kansas Jayhawks (2-6, 0-5), Previous ranking: #10
Kansas is bad at football, but basketball season is soon, and they will reap a terrible vengeance against us all, I'm sure.
Next week: Vs. Iowa St. Cyclones