- David Ubben, College Football
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Rising: Kansas State's offense
Oh, you thought West Virginia or Oklahoma State had the Big 12's best offense? Are you sure about that? The Mountaineers and Cowboys' fast-paced offenses are fun, and so is Baylor's, but the Wildcats are bucking the stereotype and leading the Big 12 in points per game. Their lead is just one-tenth of a point per game ahead of Oklahoma State and three-tenths ahead of third-place Baylor, but 44.4 points is impressive and K-State has scored at least 50 points in three of its past four Big 12 games.
Falling: Kansas' offense in conference games
Yiiiiiiikes. The Big 12 is a league of points, but Kansas is averaging just 12 points a game in league play, just over half the average of Iowa State (23.2), the Big 12's ninth-best scoring team in league play. The defense is improved and kept them in games against Texas and Oklahoma State, but if the losing streak's going to end, the offense needs to get better fast. KU averaged 17.4 points in conference play last year and 14.5 in 2010.
Rising: Baylor receivers' big plays
The Bears are still winless in Big 12 play, but it's not been Tevin Reese and Terrance Williams' fault. The duo is averaging 20 and 19.5 yards a catch. Among receivers in the top 12 in receiving yards, nobody in the Big 12 averages more than 17 yards a catch and only one receiver (Texas' Mike Davis) averages more than 14 yards a grab. All five of Reese's touchdown catches this year have been longer than 40 yards, and 11 of his 12 career touchdown catches have been longer than 40 yards. Ridiculous.
Falling: TCU's discipline
The Frogs are 70 percent freshmen and sophomores, and it's showing in the penalty column. The Frogs are the Big 12's most penalized team and rank 113th nationally in the stat. TCU is flagged an average of 7.6 times a game for more than 70 yards. The Frogs have been flagged 61 times for 570 yards this year.
One other quick penalty note: Kansas has passed Kansas State as the Big 12's least penalized team. Both have drawn 29 flags in eight games, but KU has accounted for seven fewer yards on those flags than K-State. You're slipping, Cats! Slipping!
Rising: Competition for the Big 12's best running back
Joseph Randle was all alone earlier this season, but Kansas' James Sims is rising very, very fast. Sims missed the first three games of the year because of suspension, but since he's been back he's topped 90 yards in every game and scored five touchdowns. He's been the bellcow back for the Jayhawks, carrying the ball at least 27 times in each of the past four games, highlighted by a career day with 176 yards against Texas last Saturday. He's already third in the Big 12, and averages 124 yards a game. Randle is just at 127.
Falling: Passing offenses against Oklahoma
The Sooners gave up 18 passing touchdowns a year ago, which left them in the middle of the pack in the Big 12. This year, Oklahoma's gotten a whole lot stingier in the secondary under new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. In eight games, opponents have just three passing touchdowns, six fewer than anybody in the Big 12. The Sooners are tied for second nationally with Alabama in the stat. Only Boise State (2) has surrendered fewer.
18hDavid M. Hale
2dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter