The Big 12 has had two weeks of play under its belt and the conference looks like it will be as wide open as ever.
We take a look at the Big 12 Power Rankings after two weeks of play. One thing is certain, this conference season should be one to remember.
1. Texas Longhorns
You have to give the Longhorns their credit. Sterlin Gilbert and Shane Buechelle have hit the ground running with their new up tempo offense. The beat a talented Notre Dame team and came back the next week to crush UTEP. What will remain to be seen is if the Longhorns can hold up this tempo for the rest of the season. But for right now, they are the darlings of college football.
2. Baylor Bears
Baylor, with Texas, is one of three Big 12 teams undefeated right now. Say what you will about the Bears non-conference opponents, but this season more than anything, the soft schedule is a blessing. The Bears dismantled Northwestern St. behind a dominate defensive line. Against SMU, however, the Bears struggled early. After adjustments were made, the Bears were able to make quick work of the Mustangs, but awful play in the first half has led to questions for this Bears team. They travel to Rice this Friday, for a night game on ESPN, and look to start clicking on both sides of the ball.
3. Oklahoma Sooners
Despite a loss to the Houston Cougars, Oklahoma is still one of the most talented teams in the country. The loss likely won't hurt OU with regards to its playoff hopes, but it makes the game against Ohio State, this weekend, all the more important. No team has ever gone undefeated in Big 12 round robin play and if the Sooners lose their second game of the season to the Buckeyes, they can likely kiss their playoff chances goodbye.
4. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers had an impressive win against SEC foe Missouri, but heading in to Big 12 play, they will need to shore up the defense. West Virginia lost a couple of big playmakers to injury, on defense, but still possess one of the top offenses in the league. After struggling early against Youngstown St., the Mountaineers took control and coasted to a 38-21 victory. After bye week, West Virginia will close out their non-conference slate with a tough game against BYU.
5. TCU Horned Frogs
TCU is coming off of a tough overtime loss to former SWC member, Arkansas. The Horned Frogs fell behind early and needed a huge 4th quarter to get the game tied late. With a chance to win on a FG, the kick was blocked and Arkansas was able to force overtime, and later win on a QB sneak by QB Austin Allen. The Horned Frogs are adjusting to life without their top offensive playmakers from last year, and QB Kenny Hill Jr. will need to continue to improve if TCU wants any shot at another Big 12 Championship. TCU will open up conference play against Iowa State, in a game that they should win. It will be important for them to start fast and gain some confidence after the last loss.
6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys were darkhorses to win the Big 12 this year, but now find themsevles reeling after an upset loss to Central Michigan. Oklahoma State was a big favorite in this game, but could never pull away from the Chippewas. With time expired, CMU was wrongly given one untimed down and they took advantage of it. OSU has another tough matchup, as they face Pittsburgh. With any hopes of the playoff gone, OSU will need to find its footing to gain confidence going into Big 12 play.
7. Kansas State Wildcats
It's possible that the wizard has a Big 12 run in him this year. The Wildcats have good depth and are strong on defense. The offense, on the other hand, is vintage Bill Snyder, but they are lacking great QB play. If they can shore the QB position up, they will be a team that can beat any team on any night.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Same song, different verse for the Red Raiders. The offense has never really been the problem in Lubbock. It's been the defense. The Red Raiders scored 55 points last week, against ranked Arizona State, but gave up an amazing 68 points. What was supposed to be an improved unit has not come close. Kliff Kingsbury is starting to feel his seat get a little warm and if the defense doesn't improve, the former Red Raider may be looking for a job in January.
9. Kansas Jayhawks
Hey, give them credit. They broke their 20+ game losing streak. That's the great news. The bad news is, it only goes downhill from here. The Jayhawks may have an upset in them, but its will be highly unlikely. David Beatty is in his second year at Kansas and while he has changed the culture, he has not been able to recruit and build depth as quickly as he'd like.
10. Iowa State Cyclones
Not much to say here. They opened the season with a loss to FCS Northern Illinois and then followed that up with a blowout loss to in-state rival, Iowa. Things will get worse before they get better, but the Cyclones have an energetic young coach who has been successful. If he is given some time, Iowa State may be able to creep itself in to the middle of the Big 12. There is no fan base that deserves more than the Cyclones fans.null