- David Ubben, College Football
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We've officially got just one month left in the season. Better make these last few weeks count. Here's how I slot the Big 12 heading into the last month of the 2012 season.
1. Kansas State (8-0, 5-0 Big 12, last week: 1) Another week, another blowout win over a top-15 opponent. Kansas State is disposing of all comers, and next week, it's Oklahoma State's chance. For now, K-State is a team playing high-level football and, barring a mistake-laden performance, nobody's beating these guys the rest of the way.
2. Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1, last week: 2) Oklahoma lost at home ... again. But how about some perspective? Both losses were tight in the fourth quarter and could have gone either way, though the Sooners were outplayed in both games. Still, both Notre Dame and Kansas State are among six remaining undefeateds, and one is very likely to play for a national title.
3. Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2, last week: 3) The Red Raiders took a whipping in Manhattan, but they're not the only ones Kansas State has made look very, very average. Texas Tech outplayed the Wildcats for a half, but moves on to play a Texas team that seems to always find a way to get the best of the Red Raiders. The last time Tech beat the Horns? The Harrell-to-Crabtree play that reigns as the best in Big 12 history.
4. Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1, last week: 7) OSU makes a jump with a really nice victory over a good TCU team, its second in two weeks by three touchdowns. The Cowboys and K-State are the only teams in the Big 12 who still control their Big 12 title destiny. The schedule ahead is brutal, but can OSU make it happen?
5. West Virginia (5-2, 2-2, last week: 4) The Mountaineers -- off last weekend and jumped by an improving Cowboys team -- need a win badly. They haven't had one in almost a month. TCU comes to town this week.
6. Texas (6-2, 3-2, last week: 5) Oh, Texas. The Longhorns are looking more and more like early-season fool's gold. What the heck is going on in Austin? The Longhorns have narrow wins in consecutive weeks over Baylor and Kansas, who have a combined zero Big 12 wins. A victory over Tech this week in Lubbock would go a long way to proving Texas is no fraud.
7. Iowa State (5-3, 2-3, last week: 8) The postseason is so close the Cyclones can touch it. ISU still gets to play Kansas in two weeks, but this week, Oklahoma comes to Ames. The last time an Oklahoma team came to Jack Trice Stadium ... this happened. The Sooners will be angry, though. Texas Tech knows all about that.
8. TCU (5-3, 2-3, last week: 6) The Frogs are young, and as such, you can expect inconsistency. Navigating a new league only exacerbates that. Saturday's game was a microcosm of those woes. TCU jumped out to a 14-0 lead, then was outscored by the reigning Big 12 champs 36-0 the rest of the way. Yikes.
9. Baylor (3-4, 0-4, last week: 9) Baylor felt very confident about being able to keep it going this season, despite all the losses on offense. That's not looking like the case, and a trip to a bowl game is looking dicey. The bright side, if there is one: The Bears likely don't have to worry about Arkansas or any other SEC teams coming to poach Art Briles at season's end. He's got the program going in the right direction, big picture.
10. Kansas (1-7, 0-5, last week: 10) So, so close. I doubt this loss was more painful than the overtime loss to Baylor last season, when the Jayhawks led 24-3 with 11 minutes to play. Still, that late field goal felt like a game winner. Texas QB Case McCoy made sure it wasn't. Kansas' defense is better, and James Sims is trying to carry the Jayhawks, but the offense has to find some consistency in the passing game. Sims might be the league's most underrated player.
5dJake Trotter, Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson