Monday, October 22, 2012
Big 12 power rankings: Week 9
By David Ubben
Here's how I slot the Big 12 after eight weeks of football.
1. Kansas State (7-0, 4-0 Big 12; last week: 1) The Wildcats are all alone in the driver's seat for the Big 12 title race, but Texas Tech could change that in a hurry next week if the Wildcats slip up. For now, though, it's going to be a fun week in the Little Apple with Collin Klein leading the Heisman race and K-State looking like a title contender.
2. Oklahoma (5-1, 3-1; last week: 2) If not for those two fumbles against K-State, would OU be the nation's No. 2 team? The Sooners have looked as good as, if not better than, any team in the country the past three weeks with wins by 21, 42 and 45 points in conference games. The Sooners need help to get back in the Big 12 title hunt, and even more for the national title hunt.
3. Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1; last week: 5) The Red Raiders are charging and are one of just three teams that control their Big 12 title destiny. The offense goes through dry spells, but the improved defense has given this team a chance in games all season long.
4. West Virginia (5-2, 2-2; last week: 3) West Virginia is sinking like a stone with two blowout losses in two weeks to good Big 12 teams. The Mountaineers aren't measuring up on defense, and now the offense looks like it has major issues. Just seven points on offense in Week 8, a week after scoring just 14 against Texas Tech? Trouble, trouble, trouble.
5. Texas (5-2, 2-2; last week: 4) Texas snapped a two-game losing streak and probably put to rest the questions (if only for awhile) about Mack Brown being on the hot seat. It's a silly debate at this point, fueled by frustration but with little basis in reality when you consider the losing streak consisted of just two games against then-top-15 teams. We'll see how the rest of the season plays out, but a big win for the Horns.
6. TCU (5-2, 2-2; last week: 6) The Frogs' resiliency impressed me against Texas Tech, but it's the same thing we've seen all season. TCU is playing on one foot with one hand tied behind its back right now when you consider the mountain of personnel losses but is still competing every week and is in position for a decent finish in the Big 12 in Year 1. Look out for this team next year. Devonte Fields, Trevone Boykin and LaDarius Brown are as good a freshman trio as you'll see in this league.
7. Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1; last week: 9) OSU's stock could shoot through the roof in the weeks to come, with five ranked teams waiting on the schedule. The Pokes got their best victory of the season Saturday in their worst uniform combo, rolling over a good Iowa State team. Let's see those orange helmets with black jerseys.
8. Iowa State (4-3, 1-3; last week: 8) ISU didn't have the horses to hang with the Pokes. The quarterback issue is a major one at this point, and it's got to be even more troubling to see Sam Richardson isn't getting a shot. The bottom line: You can't count on Jared Barnett or Steele Jantz to consistently deliver accurate balls every week the way you can with most of the quarterbacks in this league. That's a problem, but the Cyclones' defense keeps them alive fairly often.
9. Baylor (3-3, 0-3; last week: 9) My gut says Baylor is better than this, but let's hear from the Bears when they win a Big 12 game. High-scoring wins over Louisiana-Monroe and SMU looked good at the time, but Baylor's not guaranteed a bowl berth this season, and the Bears join Kansas as the only Big 12 teams without a league win yet. BU will get a chance to end its three-game losing streak next week on the road versus Iowa State.
10. Kansas 1-6, 0-4; last week: 10) Kansas made the switch and let Michael Cummings get a shot under center, but it predictably had little effect on the outcome. Cummings completed 10 of 21 passes with a pair of picks in the loss to Oklahoma, and ran for just 21 yards on 12 carries. James Sims is still a bright spot, but the quarterback issues are killing the Jayhawks this year.