This is the part of the season where the rankings start getting interesting, as some wacky results start skewing things from week to week. This week the big question is what the heck do you do with OU? Let's find out.
1.) TCU Horned Frogs (7-0, 4-0), previous ranking: #1
The Frogs maintain their position atop the rankings after capping a brutal grind of 7 straight games with a road win in Ames. The Frogs got off to a rocky start in a hostile road environment, but the defense stepped up in a big way, holding ISU's freshman phenom Mike Warren to 78 yards and blanking the Cyclones for the last three quarters of the game. With a week off to get healthy and get practice time for a young defense the Frogs will have to be ready for a different sort of grind- four likely bowl teams in the space of five weeks, including the three other contenders for the conference championship. We're about to learn how good this team really is.
Next week: Bye
2.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-0, 3-0), previous ranking: #2
The Cowboys had the week off, but hang onto the #2 spot by virtue of a road win over West Virginia being more impressive than Baylor's home win against the Mountaineers. The Cowboys will start having their mettle tested in the weeks to come, as after Kansas a trip to Lubbock beckons.
Next week: Vs. Kansas Jayhawks
3.) Baylor Bears (6-0, 3-0), previous ranking: #3
The Bears put together an impressive performance against a fairly depleted West Virginia team, racking up their usual gaudy stats as the West Virginia offense sputtered repeatedly. Baylor's offense is still setting records, but with a West Virginia team missing its best defensive player as its only victim with a pulse it's simply not as impressive as the numbers let on. Baylor's charmed schedule continues for another two weeks before things start to get interesting in earnest, with a home date against Iowa State before their second bye week of the season- whoever decided that TCU should have a bye the last week of the season every other year deserves a hard kick in the nuts, by the way.
Next week: Vs. Iowa State Cyclones
4.) Oklahoma Sooners (5-1, 2-1), previous ranking: #4
The week after an embarrassing loss in the Red River Shootout the Sooners did what they always do after a loss- they bounced back in a big way, absolutely obliterating Kansas State in Manhattan while their defense pitched a shutout. This means that, according to the transitive property, Oklahoma is 48 points better against Kansas State than we are, while TCU is 50 points better against Texas than Oklahoma is. Sometimes college football is just weird, and this is certainly one of those times. The Sooners will have a much stiffer test of their defense this week as Texas Tech comes to town, and we'll see just how much of OU's motivation carries over for the second week post Texas loss.
Next week: Vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
5.) Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-2, 2-2), previous ranking: #6
It shows just how weird the Big 12 has been thus far that Texas Tech actually moves up after needing a fourth quarter pick 6 to escape against the Kansas Jayhawks. The good news is that the Raiders have five opportunities to clinch a return to bowl eligibility, a big step for Kliff Kingsbury's program. The bad news is that I'd probably only have the Raiders favored in one of their remaining games, which means that things could turn out very bad for the Raiders if they're upset in that one. With the offense the Raiders have its difficult to count them out of any game, but with their defense as it is it's also difficult to pencil them into the win column any week either.
Next week: @ Oklahoma Sooneres
6.) Texas Longhorns (2-4, 1-2), previous ranking: #7
Don't look now, but Texas may have the easiest path to bowl eligibility of the bottom half of the conference- simply beat Iowa State on the road and hold serve at home against the Kansas pair and Texas Tech (who they always beat somehow) and they're home free. It's amazing what one game can do to change your perception of a team, isn't it?
Next week: Vs. Kansas State Wildcats
7.) West Virginia Mountaineers (3-3, 0-3), previous ranking: #8
Another team that's hard to get a read on, West Virginia moves up in a fairly grisly defeat and despite still looking for that first Big 12 win. Why? Because West Virginia is the anti-Baylor, having already played three of the top four teams in the Big 12 (with a road trip to current #1 TCU coming up after the bye) so all we know about them so far is that they're not quite in the top 4 of the conference- any other ranking from 5-9 could be where they end up, which makes the Mountaineers very interesting. And who would've thought that a Dana Holgorsen team would have one of the conference's best defenses, huh?
Next week: Bye.
8.) Kansas State Wildcats (3-3, 0-3), previous ranking: #4
KSU's defense actually held up decently... considering the performance of the offense. Kansas State managed 110 total yards against Oklahoma and had 9 possessions that ended in the offense running three plays or less. Let me repeat that- nine KSU possessions ended without a first down, which reminds me a lot of TCU's 2013 game against OU. I don't know what to make of this game too much, as its apparent that the Wildcats were still mentally wiped out from last week's TCU comeback while OU was fired up from their embarrassing performance against Texas. How will the Wildcats respond to their own embarrassment on the road in Austin this week? The Wildcats need this one, as otherwise that sixth win could prove very hard to come by.
Next week: @ Texas Longhorns
9.) Iowaa State Cyclones (2-4, 1-2), previous ranking: #9
The Cyclones looked great in the first quarter of their game against the Frogs, but then the dam broke and things started to get from bad to worse, and there was simply nothing the Clones could do to stop the bleeding. The first quarter cyclones are probably ranked #7 or better on this list, but having an uninspiring defense like TCU's shut you down doesn't exactly build confidence.
Next week: Vs. Baylor Bears
10.) Kansas Jayhawks (0-6, 0-3), previous ranking: #10
It was close, but the Jayhawks couldn't quite pull off an absolutely incredible upset, throwing a pick 6 late in the fourth quarter when they were desperate for something positive. Kansas is still growing, but the Jayhawks are #10 for a number of very good reasons, and it would be a tremendous shock if KU actually won a game this season now.
Next week: @ Oklahoma State Cowboys