Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 11
Here’s how the Big 12 sits after 10 weeks. Kansas State is threatening to inch near the top half after two good wins in consecutive weeks, but we saw major movement in the top five, too. Let’s get to it.
1. Baylor 7-0, 4-0, last week: 1. This week: vs. OU. The Bears didn’t get any help in the BCS standings this week, but three consecutive games against top 25 opponents await. It’ll be tough to hop over Alabama, Oregon or Florida State if BU makes it to 12-0, but there’s a lot of football left to be played.
2. Oklahoma State 7-1, 4-1, last week: 5. This week: vs. Kansas. The Pokes went into Lubbock against a hungry Texas Tech team and a hyped crowd. The result? They dominated. There were some nerve-wracking moments in the middle, but OSU was clearly the better team and won this one on the line of scrimmage. The Cowboys hop over Oklahoma because they were more impressive against the Red Raiders when you compare each team’s meeting.
3. Oklahoma 7-1, 4-1, last week: 2. This week: at Baylor. The Sooners will jump to No. 1 on this list with a win in Waco on Thursday, but it may take at least 50 points to do it. We’ll see if Blake Bell’s up to the task. His breakout game in the Belldozer came at Floyd Casey Stadium two years ago, but it was forgotten in the wake of Robert Griffin III’s Heisman moment.
4. Texas 6-2, 5-0, last week: 4. This week: at West Virginia. The Longhorns looked sluggish in the first half against KU, but took care of business late. Texas should get some credit for being one of just two undefeated teams in league play, and we’ll find out how good its defense is down the stretch against OSU, Texas Tech and Baylor. Next week’s game in Morgantown could be a little tricky, though.
5. Texas Tech 7-2, 4-2, last week: 3. This week: vs. Kansas State. The Red Raiders have to be careful down the stretch. There are still tough games ahead, and that 7-0 start could be easily forgotten if the defense doesn’t shore up its issues in the final three games. Tech is probably all but eliminated from Big 12 title contention, but if the defense can sustain some losses to graduation this offseason, Tech’s got a good shot to contend in 2014 with tons of young talent on offense.
6. Kansas State 4-4, 2-3, last week: 6. This week: at Texas Tech. The Wildcats just missed logging their first shutout in Big 12 play since 2003 –also against Iowa State–but the offense has looked dangerous the past two weeks now that Jake Waters and Daniel Sams are clicking. That only softens up the defense for John Hubert, too, who ran for 105 yards and two scores against the Cyclones.
7. West Virginia 4-5, 2-4, last week: 7. This week: vs. Texas. The Mountaineers got a much-needed win, and four of the top five teams in the Big 12 are already behind them. Texas comes to town this week, but all WVU needs to reach a bowl game now is beat Kansas and Iowa State.
8. TCU 3-6, 1-5, last week: 8. This week: at Iowa State. The Frogs’ bowl hopes are on thin ice after last week’s home loss to West Virginia. It must go undefeated against Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 2004. The first two games are on the road, too. Between his broken arm and a 3-6 start, this isn’t how Casey Pachall hoped his senior year would go down.
9. Iowa State 1-7, 0-5, last week: 9. This week: vs. TCU. No Iowa State fan who wants Paul Rhoads gone is worth listening to, but the Cyclones have taken a big step back in a rebuilding year. Rhoads and OC Courtney Messingham still haven’t found an above-average quarterback. The offensive line and defense have been riddled with injuries, as well as losing RB Aaron Wimberly, but there are very few things that ISU does well on a consistent basis. That makes it tough to win games.
10. Kansas 2-6, 0-5, last week: 10. This week: at Oklahoma State. Where are the close calls? KU has zero Big 12 victories and zero moral victories in Big 12 play. The conference losing streak now stands at 26 games, and all five losses this season have come by double digits and by an average of 26 points. Where’s the progress?