Monday, September 17, 2012
Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 4
By David Ubben
Here's how I slot the Big 12 after a quiet week across the league in Week 3.
1. West Virginia (2-0; last week: 1) The Mountaineers' offense is setting all kinds of records and is on track to be one of the best we've seen in awhile. Geno Smith's numbers are competitive with what we saw from Robert Griffin III a year ago, and Stedman Bailey's been more productive than Justin Blackmon was this time last year. Can they keep it up when league play starts? Maryland stands between WVU and its Big 12 opener at home versus Baylor.
2. Oklahoma (2-0; last week: 2) The Sooners were off this week, but Norman will be buzzing for a hyped Big 12 opener, and what I'd consider the real start of league play: Bill Snyder, Optimus Klein and Kansas State are on their way to Soonerville.
3. Texas (3-0, last week: 4) Texas' offense looked better than it has for a long time against Ole Miss. The Rebels didn't offer much of a pass rush and its defensive backs were ... not very good. Still, who would have thought David Ash could throw for 326, four scores and go three games without an interception? As for the Big 12 Power Rankings, I hopped the Horns over K-State ... for now. The Longhorns have two weeks to prepare for their league opener at Oklahoma State.
4. Kansas State (3-0; last week: 3) The Wildcats once again struggled early against an inferior opponent. This time it was North Texas. No worries about anything like that next week. Oklahoma's lost three games at home in Bob Stoops' 13-plus seasons in Norman. Collin Klein's toughest test so far in 2012 awaits.
5. Baylor (2-0; last week: 5) The Bears looked ugly for the first half against FCS power Sam Houston State. The fact of the matter is this: SHSU is better and more composed than a lot of bad FBS teams. But still, not an encouraging sign. That said, Baylor's one-time cupcake actually gives it a chance to impress next week. The Bears travel to face Louisiana-Monroe in an awkward Friday nighter. The WarHawks knocked off Arkansas last week and nearly did the same to Auburn on Saturday.
6. TCU (2-0, 1-0 Big 12; last week: 6) The Frogs made some awful mistakes in the red zone, and what should have been a four- to five-touchdown romp at Kansas turned into an ugly 20-6 win. They'll take it, but the mistakes have to be fixed. The Frogs have another somewhat reasonable challenge coming up this week: Virginia. The Hoos were rolled by Georgia Tech this week, but beat Penn State in their second game.
7. Oklahoma State (2-1; last week: 7) Oklahoma State will do some dancing with its quarterbacks for the next two weeks before hosting Texas, but J.W. Walsh looked a lot more than just capable in the Cowboys' lopsided win over Louisiana. Can he do it against Texas? Will he have to? We may not know for sure for quite some time.
8. Texas Tech (3-0; last week: 8) Tech has been legitimately impressive through three games, easily disposing of three overmatched opponents. Still, we don't know anything about this team yet. Can it beat Iowa State? We'll find out in two weeks ... and then the Red Raiders host Oklahoma. We'll have a decent idea of whether or not this is a bowl team -- or more -- by then.
9. Iowa State (3-0; last week: 9) Iowa State did what it needed to do against Western Illinois to improve to 3-0. That's the second consecutive season the Cyclones have pulled that off, and the first time that's happened in more than a decade. Is 5-0 possible? Iowa State's never lost to Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech, and gets the Riverboat Gambler pretty far inland in two weeks in Ames. Then, a trip to TCU awaits.
10. Kansas (1-2, 0-1 Big 12; last week: 10) The offense still leaves a lot to be desired, but there's no question the defense is better. The Jayhawks have already nabbed a Big 12-high 12 takeaways, and though TCU moved the ball, KU made it look difficult often. When will the Jayhawks' Big 12 losing skid -- currently at 13 games -- end?