An interesting week in the Big 12 as three of the league's Big 4 squared off with lesser competition and had success, while two of the lesser lights squared off to a very unexpected result- who came out winners in the Power Rankings this week?
1.) TCU Horned Frogs (8-0, 5-0), previous ranking: #1
The Frogs handled their business against the Mountaineers, with the defense showing tremendous improvement from the Bye week, putting together a complete team performance that dominated the Mountaineers. Though the offense wasn't quite as crisp and explosive as we've come to expect, with several dropped balls, the magical elusiveness of Trevone Boykin and the dominance of Josh Doctson proved to be a completely indefensible combination. Now the gauntlet begins in earnest, however, as the Frogs head to Stillwater in a clash of the Power Rankings top two teams to determine the leader in a still open Big 12 race.
Saturday: @ Oklahoma State Cowboys
2.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-0, 5-0), previous ranking: #2
The Cowboys made the frightful trip to Lubbock on Halloween and, after problems in the first half, delivered a clutch performance in the second half as they continued to prove that they are the ultimate opportunists. After trailing by 10 at the half, the Cowboys put up a special teams TD and 21 points off of Tech turnovers while not turning the ball over themselves in the second half. The Cowboys use of a two quarterback system was interesting, as J.W. Walsh was definitely the more effective of the two, connecting for two touchdowns on just four attempts, and adding a 64 yard touchdown run. It will be interesting to see how the shuffle continues as OSU finally hits the rough part of their schedule as well.
Saturday: Vs. TCU Horned Frogs
3.) Baylor Bears (7-0, 4-0), previous ranking: #3
The Bears had a bye week before the short week against Kansas State came around, so hopefully for them they had enough time to get Stidham up to speed in the offense. Winning in Manhattan isn't easy, particularly for Baylor which has managed the feat exactly one time in their history, but on paper Baylor is much more talented. We'll see.
Tonight: @ Kansas State Wildcats
4.) Oklahoma Sooners (7-1, 4-1), previous ranking: #4
Oklahoma continued their rampage through the lesser lights of the Big 12, hoping to make up for a loss to Texas that looks much worse than it did last week. One more theoretical bloodbath awaits, although the fact that Iowa State fairly easily handled the Texas team that gave OU their only loss of the season so far may make it more interesting- or it may just make OU angry.
Saturday: Vs. Iowa State Cyclones
5.) Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-4, 2-4), previous ranking: #7
Someone had to move up after the previous #5... disappointed. So here comes Texas Tech again, with losses to the four teams in front of it, but is hanging on the cusp of bowl eligibility thanks to an unblemished non-conference slate and wins against two of the Big 12 teams below them. Somehow, that's enough in a conference where the top 4 are simply on another planet from the rest of the teams, and Tech's win over ISU looks much better this week.
Saturday: @ West Virginia Mountaineers
6.) Iowa State Cyclones (3-5, 2-3), previous ranking: #8
The Cyclones reach their highest point in the Power Rankings for this year so far after an absolutely dominant win over the Texas Longhorns, giving ISU just their second ever win over UT. ISU looks like a very different team with Joel Lanning under center, and combined with renewed defensive intensity it looks like the Cyclones may put together the effort needed to save Paul Rhoads' job, especially given the quality of the teams they've played so far. ISU is somehow still on the verge of bowl eligibility as well, but with one more game against the big 4 remaining the margin for error is very slim.
Saturday: @ Oklahoma Sooners
7.) West Virginia Mountaineers (3-4, 0-4), previous ranking: #6
It's been a brutal start for the Mountaineers to kick off Big 12 play, with four straight losses that squandered a promising start to the season, including a 30 point pasting at the hands of the Frogs this weekend. The good news is that West Virginia has completed a run through this year's Big 4, and now there's only one team left on their schedule with a winning record- so if West Virginia is the team they thought they were at the start of the season, they'll be able to go on a run, especially with games against Tech, Texas and ISU at home. It will be a bit of a struggle to get the receiving corps in order, but the defense means that WVU will be in every game from here on in.
Saturday: Vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
8.) Texas Longhorns (3-5, 1-4), previous ranking: #5
Welcome back to Earth, Longhorns. It's one thing to be beaten on the road, especially for a young team, but for a team with a name like "Texas" to be shut out by a team like Iowa State any year is bad, and it's worse when ISU isn't even having a particularly good year. The Texas offense is simple, which isn't too big a surprise with a freshman starting at QB, but the simple fact at the moment is that if Texas can't run, they can't score- and Tyrone Swoopes coming in as a change up is really only different in the kind of running plays they run. It will be a big test for Charlie Strong in the offseason to see what sort of coordinator he'll bring in to attempt to inject life into this very vanilla offense, but in the meantime there's not a lot of hope for tremendous growth. Texas has one quite likely win on the schedule, but has three games where they're going to have to score ahead as well- and I don't know that they can do enough of it on the ground to keep up.
Saturday: Vs. Kansas Jayhawks
9.) Kansas State Wildcats (3-4, 0-4), previous ranking: #9
The Wildcats had a week off to lick their wounds and try and figure out something productive to do on offense, but KSU is in a similar boat to Texas- except with a loss to the Longhorns already in the books. That said, KSU has had a bye and is coming into the perfect situation to deliver an absolutely devastating blow to the title hopes of Baylor, as they'll be hosting a Freshman quarterback in his first action where the game's outcome hasn't already been decided. A win in this one could provide huge momentum for the rest of the season, so all eyes will be on the little apple tonight.
Tonight: Vs. Baylor Bears
10.) Kansas Jayhawks (0-8, 0-5)
Ouch. At least the season is two thirds over, Jayhawks, and basketball is starting soon, so they don't even have to pretend to care anymore.
Saturday: @ Texas Longhorns
Agree? Disagree? Think Baylor should be #12? Let me know in the comments.