Monday, November 1, 2010
Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 10
By David Ubben
The league looks like it's separating itself into three pretty distinct classes again, no? Top five, next five and bottom two? Looks like it to me.
1. Oklahoma (7-1, 3-1, last week: 2) Sooners still get the narrow nod over the Huskers in part thanks to the quality of loss. A road loss to a team that should win at least 10 games easily in front of a rabid crowd? Juuuuuust a little more impressive than a home flop against a team with four wins in the bottom half of the South. Nothing will come easy, though. If the Sooners want to win the division, they'll have to go out and get it over the season's final two weeks, with road games at Baylor and Oklahoma State.
2. Nebraska (7-1, 3-1, LW: 3) Huskers blew away Missouri in 15 minutes, but still have to get healthy and show up for the final four weeks of the season -- all games where the Huskers should be favored. Nebraska without Taylor Martinez looked pretty lost on offense, but was given a huge boost by three long touchdown runs from Roy Helu Jr.
3. Missouri (7-1, 3-1, LW: 1) Give the Tigers some credit: that game Saturday had the feel of a 51-10 embarrassment pretty quick. Missouri stabilized itself and didn't quit fighting after a nightmarish first quarter. When the Blackshirts are at their best like they were on Saturday, Nebraska is tough to beat anywhere, much less in Lincoln. The facts are pretty simple, though: Nobody's winning many games in this league when they give up three touchdown runs each longer than 50 yards.
4. Oklahoma State (7-1, 3-1, LW: 4) The Cowboys survived a week without Justin Blackmon, even with a handful of first-half mistakes. OSU could have beaten Kansas State a little more convincingly, but it was still a comfortable win, and it came on the road. Mike Gundy has to feel pretty good about that heading into a big, big game next week.
5. Baylor (7-2, 4-1, LW: 5) We found out exactly how good Missouri is over the past three weeks. Now, it's Baylor's turn, starting with a trip to Stillwater next week. Bowl eligibility is somewhat of an afterthought at this point; if Baylor knocks off the Cowboys next week, they'll most likely be hosting Oklahoma with a chance to win the South.
6. Texas A&M (5-3, 2-2, LW: 9) The Aggies have to wonder what might have happened if they'd made the switch to Ryan Tannehill earlier, but Texas Tech's secondary is giving up a lot of yards to a lot of teams. Texas A&M needs Oklahoma State to lose twice, but they're still not completely out of the South race with a renewed team behind Tannehill and Baylor and Oklahoma ahead of them on the schedule.
7. Kansas State (5-3, 2-3, LW: 7) The Wildcats couldn't take advantage of Oklahoma State's early mistakes and lack of Blackmon, but they'll still be battling Iowa State down the stretch for third place in the North.
8. Iowa State (5-4, 3-2, LW: 10) Iowa State will try to rediscover whatever it found (Guess: lots of Nebraska fumbles) to beat the Huskers last year, but outside of a shellacking at the hands of Utah, the Cyclones have been pretty salty at times in Ames.
9. Texas (4-4, 2-3, LW: 6) This season is definitely looking like a lost cause for the Longhorns at this point. Turning talent into production has been a losing battle for the defense, and elite, balanced offenses like Oklahoma and Baylor have made the unit look bad for stretches long enough to cost Texas wins.
10. Texas Tech (4-4, 2-4, LW: 8) Clearly, I was out of line to even suggest this transition might not go smoothly. The Red Raiders have a lot of talent on offense, but most of it has been inconsistent all year and Texas Tech hasn't been able to run the ball anywhere as effectively as coach Tommy Tuberville would like. Without the constant offensive production, giving up more than 300 yards a game through the air like the defense is doing is a nice way to sink to the bottom of the South. Tulsa is the only team in college football giving up more yards through the air than the Red Raiders; they are the only two teams in the nation giving up more than 300 yards a game.
11. Colorado (3-5, 0-4, LW: 11) Colorado AD Mike Bohn told the Denver Post after Saturday's 43-10 loss to Oklahoma that no decision would be made regarding coach Dan Hawkins this week, but it's almost certainly a matter of when, and not if, at this point.
12. Kansas (2-6, 0-4, LW: 12) Jayhawks took a step forward against Iowa State, but it's going to take a win to dig them out of this spot for the rest of the season.