Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 6
There's not much movement in the Big 12 after predictable set of games, but you can bet that will change fast during the first full week of conference play. Let's get to where the power rankings stand after Week 5:
1. Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12). Last week: 1. This week: at TCU. The Sooners got two weeks to prepare for the Frogs, who admitted they began some OU gameplanning before playing SMU last week. Samaje Perine will try to answer big expectations and the defense will be tested against an improved TCU offense.
2. Baylor (4-0, 1-0). Last week: 2. This week: at Texas. The Bears looked a little sloppy in the second half, but the first half was a showcase of how dangerous Baylor's offense can be. Iowa State's not a great team, but they're the best squad Baylor has faced this season and Art Briles' team was still dominant. I'm excited to see the Bears against a defense that can come close to matching their athletic ability. This week, Texas will be the closest thing they've seen to it in 2014.
3. Oklahoma State (3-1, 1-0). Last week: 3. This week: vs. Iowa State. In a little less than three games, Daxx Garman has completed 12 passes longer than 30 yards, including six against Texas Tech. No quarterback in college football has more in a single conference game this season.
4. Kansas State (3-1, 1-0). Last week: 4. This week: vs. Kansas State. Tyler Lockett bounced back in a nice way with four catches for 84 yards and a punt return for a touchdown in K-State's 30-point win over UTEP. The Wildcats were better than the final score looked. The Miners scored 21 fourth-quarter points when the game was in hand.
5. West Virginia (2-2, 0-1). Last week: 5. This week: vs. Kansas. It's not easy for some to find motivation when Kansas is on the schedule, but West Virginia won't have a problem. Last year's loss in Lawrence was an embarrassment and ended the Mountaineers' hopes of making a bowl.
6. TCU (3-0). Last week: 6. This week: vs. Oklahoma. TCU's new, wide-open offense is finding a bit of a groove, but the Frogs struck me as a team Saturday that's itching to prove itself in a game where a win would be truly impressive. It will get chances in the next three weeks with two top 10 teams (Oklahoma, Baylor) and a top 25 team ahead.
7. Texas (2-2, 1-0). Last week: 7. This week: vs. Baylor. Any conference road win is a good one. Texas' offense had issues against KU, but a shutout on the road brought a smile to Charlie Strong's face. He'll have a chance to show where his defense's progress sits with games against Baylor and OU in the next two weeks.
8. Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1). Last week: 9. This week: at Kansas State. Baylor won the Big 12 last year, despite being last in the league in penalties. Tech, however, isn't a good enough team to outplay its penalties, especially when some of them are silly, like illegal snaps and substitution penalties like we saw on Thursday. It doesn't look like Davis Webb's shoulder injury will keep him out very long, but it won't matter if the defense doesn't shape up. The defensive backs were lost on Daxx Garman's deep balls and OSU ran the ball with some success. Tech will face better running games than the Cowboys this season. Like, for instance, Kansas State.
9. Iowa State (1-3, 0-2). Last week: 8. This week: at Oklahoma State. There was no 71-7 this time around, but the Cyclones didn't put up much of a fight and trailed 35-7 at half. Sam Richardson looked good early on, but his completion percentage plummeted when the Cyclones fell behind. It's not a good sign when he's the team's leading rusher by a wide margin. He finished with 99 yards and a score, but Iowa State's backs averaged 1.4 yards a carry.
10. Kansas (2-2, 0-1). Last week: 10. This week: at West Virginia. It's not a good sign when star linebacker Ben Heeney gets asked about the offense and declines to answer. "I'm just going to talk about the defense," he said. Sunday morning, AD Sheahon Zenger fired coach Charlie Weis four games into his third season. The timing is a little surprising, but KU showed zero progress under the former Notre Dame head coach. Finding a coach who'll take this job may prove difficult. Kansas is a deep rebuild without a ton of a talent to work with and not much promise on the roster. The Jayhawks need a fresh start. The issue here isn't commitment. KU was committed to Weis and it'll be committed to the next guy, but at some point, you have to show some kind of positive steps forward. We'll see if the Jayhawks see any quick improvement under interim coach Clint Bowen.