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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 9

Injuries, blowouts and the season's ugliest half of football- The Power Rankings make sense of it all!

The Frogs celebrate another week on top
The Frogs celebrate another week on top
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

An interesting question crops up in the rankings this week- what do you do when a high ranking team has an injury so devastating that it changes almost everything that is known about the team?  Do you move them down because there's a team with fewer question marks ready to take their place, or do you keep them steady because of their performance ot date and just let the ranking sort itself out in the next few weeks?  We answer that question and more in this week's power rankings.

1.) TCU Horned Frogs (7-0, 4-0), previous ranking: #1

The Frogs finally hit their bye week, giving an injury ravaged team a chance to get healthy and get some time scheming and practicing for a very young defense.  Suffice to say that being ranked #5 in the AP and #3 in the Coaches poll isn't what the Frogs would've expected after a 7-0 start, but the simple fact is that if TCU keeps winning, everything else will take care of itself, and this is still the top team in the Big 12.
Thursday: Vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

2.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-0, 4-0), previous ranking: #2

For just the second time this season, the Cowboys absolutely pasted someone, throttling Kansas in every phase of the game- with three TD passes and four TD runs for the offense, a punt return TD for the special teams, and a safety to go along with two picks for the defense.  And yes, while it was against Kansas, that same Jayhawk team gave this week's OSU opponent, Texas Tech, all they could handle the week before.  We all know that you can't compare performances against other teams (especially in the Big 12, right Texas?) but when you consider that if the Cowboys can get through this week's game in Lubbock, they have all three of the other contenders (TCU, OU, BU) coming to Stillwater it's time to start taking the Cowboys very seriously as a potential Big 12 champion.  Then again, they do have a road trip to Ames in between TCU and Baylor, but nothing bad ever happened to OSU in Ames, right?
Saturday: @ Texas Tech Red Raiders

3.) Baylor Bears (7-0, 4-0), previous ranking: #3

The Bears get the benefit of the doubt for this week, at least, as despite some second half struggles, Baylor beat the team in front of them- but this time it came at a terrible cost, as QB Seth Russell suffered a neck injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year at minimum.  The good news for the Bears is that stepping into the starting role is the highest ranked QB recruit in program history, but the bad news is that he's immediately stepping into the meat of Baylor's schedule- a road game at Kansas State that would love nothing more than to pay the Bears back for ruining their perfect season in 2012, then Oklahoma, @ OSU and @ TCU.  If Baylor is going to stay up high in the rankings (power and otherwise) they're going to start earning it.
Saturday: Bye

4.) Oklahoma Sooners (6-1, 3-1), previous ranking: #4

There have been a number of growing pains for the Sooners on offense this year, but finally things seemed to click a bit as Texas Tech brought their fairly terrible defense to town, and OU ran all over them to the tune of 405 total rush yards.  This was just the second time this season that Samaje Perine ran for over 100 yards though, so we'll have to see if OU can maintain that sort of balance against teams that are more inclined to play defense.  Still, I was inclined to move the Sooners up based on this performance before I remembered the whole Texas thing.  What was with that, anyway?
Saturday: @ Kansas Jayhawks

5.) Texas Longhorns (3-4, 2-2), previous ranking: #6

The more the season progresses the more this team becomes interesting, as the Longhorns really don't have a bad loss- I mean, they were absolutely crushed and run out of the stadium against TCU, but apart from the 5-2 Cal Bears, each of the Horns losses were to a member of the current top 10 in the Coaches poll, and they have a win over the current #13 team to their credit.  This could... actually be a decent team?  At the very least, they have a defense that is capable of shutting down a one dimensional offense, and that's certainly what they did in one of the most soul sucking games of the year against Kansas State.  Despite the horrible football played, Texas was never really threatened against the Wildcats, which gives the Longhorns a clear path to bowl eligibility- beat ISU and Kansas and one of either West Virginia or Texas Tech.  The way Texas is playing now, it's hard to bet against them.
Saturday: @ Iowa St. Cyclones

6.) West Virginia Mountaineers (3-3, 0-3)

What do we actually know about West Virginia so far this year?  They're solid at home, but lost three straight against three of the top four teams in the conference.  Their offense isn't as good as it has been for most of the Dana Holgorsen years, but the defense has taken a big step forward.  They probably won't be able to pull a road upset against the defending conference champions, but after that, they might still be the fifth best team in the conference.  It's a weird year.
Thursday: @ TCU Horned Frogs

7.) Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-3, 2-3), previous ranking: #5

There's really no nice way to talk about this, so I'll get straight to the point- Things did not go well for the Raiders on Saturday.  Not only did their defense get pummeled, but somehow Tech's vaunted offense never got going against the Sooners either, as Patrick Mahomes threw four interceptions and was thoroughly outdueled by Tech's former QB, Baker Mayfield.  The Raiders have a tough stretch of games ahead of them and desperately need one more win to be assured of bowl eligibility (and to get feeling like coach Kliff Kingsbury is moving in the right direction again, so high stakes and high drama are around the corner for this week's game against OSU, as otherwise they'll need either a road win or a win against run heavy Kansas State to be bowling once again.
Saturday: Vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

8.) Iowa State Cyclones (2-5, 1-3), previous ranking: #9

The Cyclones are in a similar boat to the Mountaineers, especially when you consider their non-conference schedule- ISU's losses to this point are a combined 33-3.  There aren't a lot of teams that are going to hold up well against that sort of schedule, but ISU was fighting back well against Baylor late in the game, even on the road.  The Cyclones finally moved on from the inconsistent Sam B. Richardson and new QB Joel Lanning has been quite good so far, leading ISU to touchdowns in half of his drives under center.  The bad news is that it doesn't really get much easier for the Cyclones from here, as after a game with a rejuvenated Texas team, they face both Oklahoma schools back to back, before ending with road games at KSU and West Virginia.  At season's end this may be the most talented two or three win team in America.
Saturday: Vs. Texas Longhorns

9.) Kansas State Wildcats (3-4, 0-4), previous ranking: #8

It was impossible not to move Kansas State down after their offensive performance against Texas set college football back seventy years.  It's not in my nature to count a Bill Snyder team out, mind you, but to win games generally teams need to secure things called "first downs" and right now, KSU simply can't do it.  Things may change with an injured Baylor team coming to town, but right now the Wildcats may not win again until they meet the #10 team...
Saturday: Bye

10.) Kansas Jayhawks (0-7. 0-4), previous ranking: #10

The Kansas Jayhawks attempted to play football this week, despite all reports to the contrary.  They... should probably be dissuaded from trying it again.
Satuday: Vs. Oklahoma Sooners