- Jake Trotter, College Football
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The Power Rankings have a new team at the top, and a not-so-new team back at the bottom:
1. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, last week 2): If the College Football Playoff era had come a year earlier, Oklahoma State would be a serious contender for inclusion. The Cowboys have been on fire for more than a month now, and could ascend to as high as fourth in the BCS going into Bedlam should Auburn, Missouri or Clemson fall in rugged games this weekend. Either way, there might not be a better one-loss team in college football right now than the Cowboys.
2. Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, LW 1): The national championship is no longer in the cards. But this has still been a tremendous season for Baylor, which even after its disappointing performance in Stillwater has a chance to set a school record for victories and win its first conference title, either shared or outright. Even a BCS bowl berth is not out of the realm of possibility. But first coach Art Briles will have to get his team refocused, which won’t be a cinch.
3. Texas (7-3, 6-1 Big 12, LW 3): The Longhorns still have a shot at an outright conference title, but they have to play much better than they did against Oklahoma State, which thoroughly whipped the Horns in Austin. Then again, Oklahoma State has been whipping everybody lately. Baylor no longer looks so invincible. And Tech, Texas' next opponent, hasn’t won a game in November in seemingly forever. This season hasn’t gone the way the Horns had hoped. But the chance remains for a special finish that, at the very least, would close the Mack Brown era with a good taste in everyone’s mouth.
4. Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12, LW 5): Did the Sooners uncover -- well, re-uncover -- their QB of the future in Manhattan? Trevor Knight was splendid in his first career road start, with his running, decision-making and, in several cases, throwing. If Knight plays this way in Stillwater, Bedlam could get interesting.
5. Kansas State (6-5, 4-4 Big 12, LW 4): The Wildcats squandered an opportunity to show they belong in the upper tier of the Big 12 against OU. Now they’re all but locked into the National University Holiday Bowl, which isn’t so bad for a team that once was 2-4.
6. Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4 Big 12, LW 6): The Red Raiders have a prime opportunity to get off this 1-10 November slide on Thanksgiving in Austin. Tech played well in Arlington against Baylor, except for the turnovers. If the Red Raiders can limit the turnovers at Texas, they should be in the game in the fourth quarter with a chance for a huge victory to end the regular season.
7. West Virginia (4-7, 2-6 Big 12, LW 7): This season will end without a bowl. But at least the Mountaineers can hang their coonskin caps on what might wind up being the upset of the season in college football.
8. TCU (4-7, 2-6 Big 12, LW 8): Since TCU failed to qualify for a bowl, the Horned Frogs have turned their season finale against Baylor this weekend into a de facto bowl. TCU has talent coming back in 2014, with only six seniors graduating. If the Frogs can play Baylor tough, that will leave them feeling even better about their prospects for 2014 after a disastrous season.
9. Iowa State (2-9, 1-7 Big 12, LW 10): The Cyclones gave their fans a reprieve from a miserable season with a solid performance in a shutout of the Jayhawks. After throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns, Grant Rohach might have taken command of the QB spot over the injured Sam Richardson going into 2014, too.
10. Kansas (3-8, 1-7 Big 12, LW 9): Back to the cellar.
The Power Rankings have a new team at the top, and a not-so-new team back at the bottom:1. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, last week 2): If the College Football Playoff era had come a year earlier, Oklahoma State would be a serious contender for inclusion.