Baylor Bears 7-0, 4-0
Baylor continues to prove that they are for real, week in and week out. And right now they find themselves at the top of the Big 12 rankings with Texas. Critics will say that the Bears haven't played anyone of substance yet, and that may be true, but you can't argue the success that the Bears have had on offense and defense. A defensive unit that was much maligned a year ago, is in the top 3 of the Big 12, and one of the top defenses in the nation.
On offense it has been business as usual. Petty leads all quarterbacks in adjusted QBR at 95.3, is first in passing YPA (13.9), and Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese make up arguably the most dynamic wide receiving duo in the country, averaging 23 and 24 yards per catch, respectively. This offense is explosive and can not be stopped. Maybe Oklahoma will be able to slow the Bears down, but they won't be able to stop them. The Bears will need to continue to be efficient. They control their own destiny and will continue to be the hunted.
Oklahoma State Cowboys 7-1, 4-1
Schedule: vs. Kansas, at Texas, vs. Baylor, vs. Oklahoma
Outside of Baylor, Oklahoma State has been the most intriguing team to follow. Oklahoma State started Big 12 play with a loss in Morgantown, but have reeled off 4 straight wins, including a big win against then #15 Texas Tech. Picked to win the Big 12 before the season, the Cowboys started slow out of the gate. The Cowboys once prolific offense was very inconsistent and could not get anything going at the QB and RB position. Enter Clint Chelf and Desmond Roland. Both of these players have helped ignite an offensive production that has been impressive over the past few weeks.
With a game against the Kansas Jayhawks coming this week, the schedule will get tougher for the Cowboys with an away game at Texas, and then closing with Baylor and Oklahoma. The Pokes are beginning to peak at the right time, so it will be interesting to see them over the next month.
Oklahoma Sooners 7-1, 4-1
This weeks Thursday night matchup against the Baylor Bears may prove to be a must win, if the Sooners want to stay in the conversation for the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners have the athletes to at least be on the same field with Baylor's explosive wide outs, but will that be enough to slow them down. Their defense had two huge losses, when Corey Nelson and Jordan Phillips went down with season ending injuries. Of the 5 teams that remain in the hunt for the Big 12 championship, the Sooners schedule is probably the softest, with Iowa State and Kansas State sandwiched between Baylor and Oklahoma State. Oklahoma will need to win out and have Texas lose twice to take the Big 12 Championship outright.
Texas Longhorns 6-2, 5-0
Schedule: at West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Texas Tech, at Baylor
Despite my despise for the Texas Longhorns, I do have to give them a ton of credit for what they have been able to accomplish up to this point. Texas was left for dead after back to back embarrassing losses to BYU and Ole' Miss. Bring in Greg Robinson. Robinson was able to bring in a simpler scheme for the defense and Case McCoy has been able to fill in nicely for an injured David Ash. The schedule does get significantly tougher for the Longhorns though, beginning with a very tough road game against West Virginia. Win this game and people will begin to believe in the Longhorns again. But it doesn't get easier, as they will then welcome a rejuvenated Oklahoma State team to Austin for a huge matchup. As is the case with Baylor, Texas controls their destiny and just needs to win out to secure a Big 12 title.
Texas Tech Red Raiders 7-2, 4-2
Schedule: vs. Kansas State, vs. Baylor, at Texas
With two losses in the Big 12, the Red Raiders are now on the outside looking in in the Big 12 race. Texas Tech will now take on the roll of spoiler for their last 3 games. This could be huge, as they face Baylor and Texas to close out the season. With a prolific offense, an improved defense, and a head coach that just bleeds enthusiasm and optimism, that could spell scary trouble for undefeated Baylor and Texas.
What I see happening:
All Baylor bias aside, I don't see anyone slowing this Baylor offense down. While each of the next five teams posses a tough matchup for the Bears offensively, you will be hard pressed to find an offense that will be able to keep up with the Bears. The only teams capable of doing that will be Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, and while Texas Tech will be tough, they won't have a true home crowd to affect Baylor. The Bears do play at Oklahoma State, and right now that is the scariest game I see left on the schedule.
Mark it down, Baylor will win the Big 12 Championship this year.