What a difference a few hours makes, as the Frogs went from the bliss of their first Big 12 championship, to the consternation of sharing it with Baylor, to the worry of the impressive performance of Ohio State and then the disappointment of the playoff committee. The Power Rankings doesn't care for any of those things, and doesn't do co-champions either- so how do the end of season rankings look?
1.) TCU Horned Frogs (11-1, 8-1), previous ranking: #1
The Frogs made an emphatic statement about not only being the best team in the conference, but one of the best teams in the entire nation as they ran through Iowa State without breaking a sweat. After two years of dogfights with the cyclones it was both satisfying and a little sad to see them reduced to a mere impediment to a strong strength of schedule. TCU controlled the game from the outset and it was readily apparent in the third quarter that TCU could put up any numbers they wanted on the Cyclones and Iowa State either could not or were not inclined to try to stop them.The Frogs even busted out a little trickery in an attempt to show the playoff committee just what they were capable of, but in the end it didn't secure the Frogs a spot in the CFP- it was certainly enough to secure them of the #1 spot in the power rankings, though.
Bowl game: Peach Bowl vs Ole Miss Rebels
2.) Baylor Bears (11-1, 8-1), previous ranking: #3
As distasteful as I find Art Briles, and as much as I think that playing Bryce Petty the week after he received a concussion was negligent, credit must be given to the Bears for beating Kansas State and securing a share of the Big 12 championship. I will, as always, be rooting against Baylor in their bowl game, the conference solidarity in bowl season nonsense has never made much sense to me, but there's no denying that the Bears are the full package on offense and have a well above average defense to go along with it- that's powerful enough to be #2 in the conference.
Bowl game: Cotton Bowl vs Michigan State Spartans
3.) Kansas State Wildcats (9-3, 7-2), previous ranking: #2
The Wildcats kept it close and were within striking distance up until the very end, but simply fell short for the two reasons that they've struggled with all year- they couldn't run the ball well (the most effective run play I saw was the world's slowest quarterback read-keep) and they couldn't generate enough pressure to make Petty have to make quick decisions with the ball. As a result, despite another great performance from Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett, the Cats could never make it less than a seven point lead, which wasn't enough of a beating for Baylor to move up, nor was it close enough for TCU to stay ahead. The Cats simply milked every bit of talent that they could out of this team and came up short against the two teams that had significantly more talent. Another good performance by Bill Snyder's team.
Bowl game: Alamo Bowl vs UCLA Bruins
4.) West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5, 5-4), previous ranking: #5
The committee would say "West Virginia didn't move up, Oklahoma moved down". West Virginia didn't do anything, their season is over, but they look significantly more powerful when compared to the pitiful performance put out by the Sooners last week. They also have the conference bowl game I'm looking forward to watching most (outside our own), so bonus points for that!
Bowl game: Liberty Bowl vs Texas A&M Aggies
5.) Oklahoma Sooners (8-4, 5-4), previous ranking: #4
Ouch, Sooners. OC Josh Heupel didn't ask quarterback Cody Thomas to do too much (wisely after the young QB's previous starts), and they got a strong performance from the running game again, but when Samaje Perine went down, there was simply nothing that the Sooners could do that worked. When healthy, this is still an OU team that could be very dangerous, but with their top playmaker, quarterback and running back out, there was nothing left for the Sooners but a field goal kicker who was great last year but seemed to develop some mental demons this year and choked in OT with the game on the line. Not a very powerful way to end the season for the Big 12's preseason favorite.
Bowl game: Russel Athletic Bowl vs. Clemson
6.) Texas Longhorns (6-6, 5-4), previous ranking: #6
I was tempted to move the Horns up, but I'm not sure that Texas' offense is better than OU's even with Shephard, Knight and Perine out. As it is, the Horns stay where they are in the bottom half of the conference, but with a fairly bright future ahead of them. The bowl practices will be big for next year's team, even if the bowl game is ugly (when one team is hyper fired up and the other isn't, it tends to get bad).
Bowl game: Texas Bowl vs. Arkansas(!)
7.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6, 4-5), previous ranking: #8
Congratulations to the Cowboys, who made sure that the Big 12 filled its bowl commitments (though possibly at the cost of a Big 12 team getting into the playoff by knocking out our other ranked team). After losing 5 straight in various ugly ways, the Cowboys found a winning formula- get the ball to Tyreek Hill and get out of the damn way. Still, without the injuries decimating the Oklahoma offense, this would not have been a win for the Cowboys, so they don't get as big of a power boost as they might otherwise.
Bowl game: Cactus Bowl vs. Washington Huskies
8.) Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-8, 2-7), previous ranking: #7
The Raiders defensive line coach resigned, which could honestly only help them next year. As it is now, the Red Raiders bowl plan is the same as their performance in the regular season- going nowhere. We'll see what Kingsbury ends up doing with that dreadful defense.
9.) Kansas Jayhawks (3-9, 1-8), previous ranking: #9
Congratulations to the Kansas Jayhawks for officially not being the worst team in the Big 12 this season!
10.) Iowa State Cyclones (2-10, 0-9), previous ranking: #10
Iowa State has a reputation of being a tough out and never giving up in the face of long odds. That reputation was not well founded in this game, as Iowa State showed about as much interest in trying to stop the Frogs in the third quarter as I have for the sport of Soccer. Instead of a bowl game, Iowa State will spend the postseason time on the couch, crying into a bowl of ice cream.
Agree? Disagree? Notice any typos as a result of finishing this post at 2 AM? Let me know in the comments.