Monday, November 5, 2012
Big 12/SEC power rankings: Week 11
By David Ubben
Another fun Saturday of Big 12 football is in the books. Here's how I slot the league heading into Week 11:
1. Kansas State (9-0, 6-0 Big 12; last week: 1) The Wildcats continue to take care of business. Collin Klein's status will be an interesting topic of discussion this week after the quarterback left Saturday's game in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury, but don't expect Bill Snyder or any of the Wildcats to talk about it. K-State has methodically dispatched every team it has played this season, but the Cats travel to face a TCU team coming off an emotional double-OT win at West Virginia this week.
2. Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1; last week: 2) Playing at Iowa State isn't easy, and OU looked a little sluggish early, but the Sooners walked away with a very respectable 35-20 win. The Sooners need oodles of help to win another Big 12 title, but this week they'll get a chance to avenge last year's loss to Baylor. Robert Griffin III basically won the Heisman at OU's expense last season.
3. Texas (7-2, 4-2; last week: 6) The Longhorns broke their string of losses to Top 25 teams in rather impressive fashion, winning in Lubbock against the Red Raiders. Texas is on track to surpass last year's eight-win campaign. Is a Cotton Bowl date with rival Texas A&M in the future? I want this to happen so, so badly. Other than a national title game with two undefeated teams, no bowl game would come close to matching the energy and intrigue.
4. Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3; last week: 3) The Red Raiders ran into a pretty determined Texas squad. All of a sudden, Tech's fortunes are looking a little rough and the Big 12 title hopes they had two weeks ago are a distant memory at 3-3 in league play. Kansas is up next, though. The Red Raiders miss tight end Jace Amaro more than most folks outside Lubbock realize. He's a matchup nightmare.
5. Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2; last week: 4) Hey, the Cowboys are a good team. I know one when I see one. But by the same token, they have to beat somebody to prove it at some point. There's not a single win over a team this year that's been legitimately noteworthy for the Pokes, though they did beat TCU and Iowa State by three touchdowns. The chances will be there for OSU. A reeling West Virginia squad visits Stilly next week for Dana Holgorsen's return to his old stomping grounds.
6. TCU (6-3, 3-3; last week: 8) TCU has been playing heart-stoppers every other week, it seems. The Frogs got the short end of a three-overtime stick against Texas Tech two weeks ago, but Gary Patterson's gambles paid off this time around against the Mountaineers. TCU played to win with trick plays and a game-winning two-point conversion. Kudos. TCU can play spoiler against seemingly BCS-bound K-State this week at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
7. West Virginia (5-3, 2-3; last week: 5) Oh, how the mighty have fallen. That was a heartbreaker for WVU, and the team had to wait two weeks to play TCU after getting pounded by K-State and Texas Tech in consecutive games. Geno Smith & Co. were better this week, but the offense still looks shaky. Tavon Austin is doing his best to keep WVU afloat, but even his penchant for highlights wasn't enough this week.
8. Iowa State (5-4, 2-4; last week: 8) Iowa State's not all that far behind West Virginia here. The Cyclones played Oklahoma tough early, but the Sooners were too much. ISU will travel to Texas this week to make a second go-around at gaining bowl eligibility. KU awaits the week after even if the Cyclones can't get the job done in Austin.
9. Baylor (4-4, 1-4; last week: 9) Baylor broke its four-game losing skid, but you've got to do more than beat Kansas if you want to ascend the Big 12 power rankings. BU's defense pitching a second-half shutout was legitimately impressive considering its recent track record, but a more consistent OU team will be a tougher test for the Bears' D this week.
10. Kansas (1-8, 0-6; last week: 10) A halftime rain delay only put off the inevitable. KU showed some good fight after being down 14-0 early, but the Jayhawks have quarterback issues. If Michael Cummings can't put up some numbers against Baylor, who's he going to put them up against? Texas Tech's defense has struggled the past couple of weeks, but will be a tough test for the Jayhawks' legitimately solid running game. Even an avalanche of losses can't take the shine off an absolutely outstanding season for James Sims.
6. Texas A&M (7-2; LW: 6): We wanted to see what the Aggies could do against a decent defense, and they didn't disappoint with their thrashing of Mississippi State over the weekend. A&M went on the road and sent the Bulldogs to the showers early. Johnny Manziel continues to be the conference's most exciting player and he has this offense overflowing with confidence heading into the Alabama game. After what we saw in the LSU game, the Aggies have the talent on offense to give Alabama's defense real fits. -- Edward Aschoff