Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 11

Sooners stay at No. 3 in editor Wann Smith's rankings.

As the twelve conference teams near the completion of 2005, the finish will be anything but a close one. Texas should, barring the annual Mack Brown unexpected meltdown, take the Southern division by storm. And woe be it to the unfortunate Northern Division opponent who will take the field against the scary Horns in December. At the moment, Colorado has the inside track in the North, but should Iowa State beat the Buffs this weekend and then beat Kansas to win out, and should Colorado vapor-lock against both ISU and Nebraska, then the Cyclones would be tagged to play in the conference title game.

Stay tuned for more details.

The Rankings

1. Texas (9-0, 6-0)
Ugly. That's how Texas' romp through the conference has appeared to the other eleven teams. Candles are being lighted from Lincoln to Waco in hopes that Vince will jump ship after his Heisman and go pro.
Next up: November 12th – Kansas in Austin.

2. Texas Tech (8-1, 5-1)
Hats should be doffed to Mike Leach for doing the coaching job of his career in '05. The offense has been typically breathtaking while the defense has been uncharacteristically respectable. Only a November 19th date with the Sooners stands between the Red Raiders and a likely top-ten finish.
Next up: November 12th – Oklahoma State at Stillwater.

3. Oklahoma (5-3, 4-1)
Bravo to coach Stoops for turning what appeared to be a bad car wreck of a season into one of hope and optimism for the future. This is a young team, folks, and it can only get sweeter for the Sooners in '06 with an experienced Bomar, a healthy Peterson and a saltier defense. Oh yeah…about the Aggies this weekend? A&M has lost the past three visits to Norman by a composite score of 159 – 16. Enough said.
Next up: November 12th – Texas A&M in Norman.

4. Colorado (7-2, 5-1)
Iowa State poses the biggest threat to the Beefaloes win/loss column since Texas on October 15th. If Colorado wins this game, they go into the shredder once again against Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game in Houston's Relaint Stadium on December 3rd. These rematches sometimes have a funny way of reversing themselves so expect Colorado to lose by only about 17 instead of 25.
Next up: November 12th – Iowa State at Ames.

5. Iowa State (6-3, 3-3)
For as fine a job as Dan McCarney has done since the middle of October, he has an uphill fight on his hands to get to Houston in the B12C. Beating Colorado this weekend is the first step, and that is a possibility (see the column's introductory paragraph). One step at a time, Danny boy.
Next up: November 12th – Colorado in Ames.

6. Kansas (5-4, 2-4)
What a shame that the Jayhawks celebration over sheep-dipping Callahan's Hussies must be so short lived. The improved Jays must travel to Austin this weekend for a game that should be cancelled for humanitarian reasons.
Next up: November 12th – Texas at Austin.

7. Missouri (5-4, 3-3)
The Colorado – Missouri game should be renamed the ‘Gary Bowl' and moved annually to Gary, Indiana. A high school stadium could host the spectacle, considering the number of fans that would travel to attend. But back to the present. Pinkel should get a break this weekend as a demoralized Baylor must travel to Missouri. Odd equation involved here: an improved but deflated Bear team must play a Missouri team that must be getting tired of Pinkel's "moral victory" pablum.
Next up: November 12th – Baylor in Columbia.

8. Nebraska (5-4, 2-4)
Another historic milestone in Lincoln, folks; a thirty-six year winning streak against Kansas is over thanks to the coaching skills of Bill Callahan. Nebraska's current dilemma was best expressed on Sunday by Omaha World-Herald Staff writer Rich Kaipust when he wrote: "How this (game) crumbled, though, has to bring questions about the progress and development of a program that made a change because it feared mediocrity — and now is mired in it."
Next up: November 12th – Kansas State in Lincoln.

9. Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3)
Next stop for Dennis Franchione could be the Federal Witness Protection Program. Situation bad and getting worse.
Next up: November 12th – Oklahoma at Norman.

10. Kansas State (4-5, 1-5)
Bill Snyder has very nearly come full circle. In 1989 he inherited a team that had gone 0-11 in 1988, took them to the brink of a national championship in the mid-nineties and back down the slippery slope again in the twenty-first century. The Wildcats' last two jousts will be against a moribund NU team in Lincoln this weekend and a southward-bound Missouri team in Manhattan the next week. This Snyder-led Cat team could conceivably post a record ranging from 6-5 to 4-7 this year, with 5-6 being the likely mark.
Next up: November 12th – Nebraska at Lincoln.

11. Baylor (4-5, 2-4)
Last week's medieval beating that Baylor endured from Texas had to have done psychological damage to a team Guy Morriss has been building up for years. How they respond this weekend in Columbia will be revealing.
Next up: November 12th – Missouri at Columbia.

12. Oklahoma State (3-5, 0-5)
This team, so deeply handicapped by personnel losses prior to their first kickoff, is bleeding. Badly. The only realistic possibility of achieving one more victory before the season ends will be in the Cowboys' November 19th game with Baylor in Waco, and even that prospect is a dim one. Never has the old Aggie battle cry, "Wait ‘till next year" been more apropos.
Next up: November 12th – Texas Tech in Stillwater.


Wann Smith has served two years as national columnist for the Pigskin Post, contributed to the College Football News (a contributor to Fox Sports and the Sporting News) and is currently the editor of the College Football Gazette. Smith lives in St. Louis with his family.

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