Monday, November 8, 2010
Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 11
By David Ubben
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1. Nebraska (8-1, 4-1, last week: 2) It's not going to get much harder for Nebraska to win this year than it was on Saturday, on the road on a windy day with its No. 3 quarterback against a relentless team fighting for bowl eligibility. The Huskers answered the challenge, survived anyway they could and move on with full control of the Big 12 North and a team that should be mostly back to health next week.
2. Oklahoma State (8-1, 4-1, LW: 4) Oklahoma State's only loss came to a top-10 team. Had that top-10 team been anybody but Nebraska, the Cowboys might be No. 1 in this week's rankings. They've been by far the league's most consistent team. Regardless, the Cowboys will take their red-hot offense to Austin next week with a real chance to move into the top 10 with a win.
3. Oklahoma (7-2, 3-2, LW: 1) Something tells me Bob Stoops might become a believer in his team's road troubles after its worst performance of the season by far against Texas A&M. Oklahoma's first snap went over Landry Jones' head for a safety, and things didn't get much better from there. The Sooners made it a game in the fourth, but it's never a good sign when the play that could change the game is a long ball over the top to a backup tight end from a holder. Oklahoma also has serious problems on the goal line.
4. Missouri (7-2, 3-2, LW: 3) Blaine Gabbert looked off and turned in one of the worst performances of his career when he looked in position to have one of his best. After a pair of long runs in the first quarter, Missouri's offense disappeared, and Gabbert's constant missed throws were a big reason why. He'll be hungry to erase them against a Kansas State secondary that picked off five passes this week.
5. Texas A&M (6-3, 3-2, LW: 6) Texas A&M's defense has been a constant this year, and the Aggies are a real threat to win out if they play like they have the past two weeks. Texas A&M's long streak of losses to Oklahoma is over, and suddenly the Mike Sherman era in College Station has a second wind.
6. Kansas State (5-3, 3-3, LW: 7) Kansas State is thrilled with the win, and should be, but let's not misrepresent what this actually was, no matter how dominating. The Wildcats won at home against a sub-.500 team who can only claim to be better than two teams in the entire league.
7. Baylor (7-3, 4-2, LW: 5) That was a certifiable flop for the Bears, who got rolled on both sides of the ball in Stillwater on Saturday. The idea of the 24-hour flush will be tested this week, with rival Texas A&M on its way to Waco for the Battle of the Brazos.
8. Iowa State (5-5, 3-3, LW: 8) Coulda, woulda, shoulda for the Cyclones, who nearly capitalized on the perfect (wind)storm to upset the Huskers. Colorado's collapse on Saturday has to make them feel pretty good about their bowl chances, though, with five wins and the Buffs on the schedule.
9. Texas Tech (5-4, 3-4, LW: 10) Texas Tech earned its best win of the season by holding home field against the favored Tigers. Taylor Potts' performance -- combined with Steven Sheffield's -- may have silenced the camp calling for Sticks to replace Potts down the season's home stretch.
10. Texas (4-5, 2-4, LW: 9) The Longhorns are in a certified freefall. Were you aware Texas has now lost five of its last six games? Its only win during that stretch (at Nebraska) grows more confusing by the week.
11. Kansas (3-6, 1-4, LW: 12) What a run by the Jayhawks. The 35-point outburst in the final 11-plus minutes of the game Saturday snaps an 11-game losing streak in conference play and digs them out of the Big 12's basement. James Sims is looking more like a franchise back every week.
12. Colorado (3-6, 0-5, LW: 11) Replay the last 11 minutes of Saturday's game 100 times and Colorado wins it 98-99 times. I'm not sure if that says more about the Buffs or the Jayhawks. Is there a worse way to lose a game, though? Outside of doing whatever it was Colorado did at home, I can't think of any other more painful way to drop a game.