Monday, November 26, 2012
Big 12/SEC Power Rankings: Week 14
By David Ubben
Here's how I slot the Big 12 heading into the final weekend of the season:
1. Kansas State (10-1, 7-1, last week: 1) The Wildcats were idle, but there was nothing that could happen on Saturday to knock the Wildcats off their comfy perch atop this ranking. A loss next week to Texas might, though, as long as the Sooners beat TCU to win the Big 12 outright.
2. Oklahoma (9-2, 6-1, last week: 2) Oklahoma got the job done and defended its home field against an unbelievably resilient Oklahoma State team. The Sooners stayed alive in the Big 12 title race in the process, but that's a Bedlam that won't soon be forgotten by the Sooner faithful, even if it's also a sign of possibly scary things to come.
3. Oklahoma State (7-4, 5-3, last week: 3) Excuse me for refusing to move Oklahoma State down a spot after losing to Oklahoma in overtime in Norman. If there's such a thing as a good loss, that was it. The Cowboys impressed me and held their own in a crazy environment at Owen Field.
4. TCU (7-4, 3-4, last week: 6) TCU's record, like Oklahoma State's, isn't as good as Texas', but you can't discount what happened on Thursday night. The Frogs looked like the better team and their quickly maturing defense has now perplexed Kansas State and Texas in successive games.
5. Texas (8-3, 5-3, last week: 4) One loss may sting for a long while for the Longhorns, and don't be surprised if that same loss pays off for the Frogs down the line on the recruiting trail. David Ash was benched for a second time this season after a strong start, and the Longhorns were eliminated from the Big 12 title race before traveling to Manhattan this week.
6. Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5, last week: 5) Texas Tech gave everything it had on Saturday, but Baylor was just an inch better this time. The Bears validated last week's Kansas State upset and Texas Tech lost four of its last five games to close the regular season. Two of the losses were by at least 31 points, albeit to ranked teams. The one win? In overtime at home against Kansas. Uh, not good, Red Raiders.
7. Baylor (6-5, 3-5, last week: 8) The Bears didn't convince me they should slide ahead of the Red Raiders, but wow, what a rescue of a season for the Bears. I probably would have given them a 10 percent chance of reaching a bowl last Friday. Sure enough, they knock off the No. 1 team in the country and back it up with a gutsy win over Texas Tech, their second consecutive win in the rivalry after being shut out by the Red Raiders since the beginning of the Big 12.
8. West Virginia (6-5, 3-5, last week: 9) West Virginia won a game, but that's about it. Beating Iowa State in Ames isn't easy, but it also won't impress many folks. Tavon Austin is ridiculous, there's no denying that. There's also no denying that West Virginia's been ousted by only Arkansas as the most disappointing team in the country this season.
9. Iowa State (6-6, 3-6, last week: 7) The Cyclones may have discovered a real hope for the future in Sam Richardson, who didn't get the win but played well enough to keep his job heading into the bowl game if you ask me. Paul Rhoads is in his third bowl game in four years, but winning that bowl game offers a lot of validation entering the offseason that losing, like ISU did last year against Rutgers, does not.
10. Kansas (1-10, 0-8, last week: 10) This brutal season meets its merciful end next week in Morgantown. An upset is definitely possible, but the Jayhawks were blasted the last time out by an average Iowa State team. Charlie Weis laid some building blocks for the future, but that Big 12 losing streak will hang over the offseason if the Jayhawks can't swing the shocker.
4. Texas A&M (10-2; LW: 4): The Aggies walked all over a bad Missouri team Saturday. Johnny Manziel injured his knee in the first quarter and was still able to accumulate 439 yards of offense and five touchdowns. The defense gave up 22 points in the second half, but the game was well in hand by halftime. No one knows how this team won 10 games in its first year in the SEC without a bye week, but A&M was a pleasant surprise for the conference. These aren't the Big 12's Aggies, and they're headed to a January bowl.