Monday, December 6, 2010
Big 12 Power Rankings: Pre-bowls
By David Ubben
1. Oklahoma (11-2, 6-2, last week: 1) For all the unpredictability of the Big 12 this year, the Sooners did what plenty of people in August picked them to do: Beat Nebraska for the Big 12 title.
2. Texas A&M (9-3, 6-2, LW: 2) The Aggies are still the last Big 12 team to lose, and should be in for a defensive battle against LSU, who has thrown just seven touchdowns this season. Army is the nation's only team with fewer.
3. Oklahoma State (10-2, 6-2, LW: 4) Oklahoma State probably didn't enjoy watching the Big 12 Championship instead of playing in it, but it drew a good bowl opponent in Arizona.
4. Missouri (10-2, 6-2, LW: 5) Missouri doesn't have a bowl snub to complain about this year, but its fans will have to travel out west to Tempe, Ariz., to prove the Insight Bowl didn't make a mistake by picking the Tigers over the notoriously travel-inclined Huskers fan base.
5. Nebraska (10-3, 6-2, LW: 3) You saw it on Saturday: Without Taylor Martinez playing like his usual self, this team isn't much better than it was in 2009. The Huskers' record shows it too. Meanwhile, all four teams above the Huskers have seen big improvement from 2009 to 2010.
6. Texas Tech (7-5, 3-5, LW: 6) The Red Raiders grabbed the Big 12's last bowl slot, but outside of a lopsided loss to Oklahoma, Texas Tech was playing pretty good football during the last month of the season.
7. Baylor (7-5, 4-4, LW: 7)The Bears' excited fan base will get a chance to storm Houston once more this year. The city hosted Baylor's basketball fans for the NCAA Regional, and nine months later, it'll host the Bears football team in the Texas Bowl.
8. Kansas State (7-5, 3-5, LW: 8) Daniel Thomas began his regular season with a 200-yard rushing day, and ended it with another. If the Wildcats get one more performance like that from the running back, they'll beat Syracuse in its own state.
9. Colorado (5-7, 2-6, LW: 9) The Buffs are one of three Big 12 teams whose season is over, but Colorado looks like its found its man in Jon Embree, a former Buff who wanted this job badly.
10. Texas (5-7, 2-6, LW: 10) Back to the drawing board for the Longhorns, who'll likely be shopping for assistant coaches over the next month.
11. Iowa State (5-7, 3-5, LW: 11) The Cyclones weren't a much better team in 2010 than they were in 2009, but I'd expect Iowa State to be bowling in 2011 with a less brutal schedule. And besides, put this team in the Big East, and it wins eight games.
12. Kansas (3-9, 1-7, LW: 12) Kansas coach Turner Gill wants more speed and explosiveness. That's the right place to start for an offense that had the fewest plays in the conference of longer than 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50-plus yards, and didn't have a single play longer than 60 yards all season. The only other team with that distinction? Texas Tech.