The Big 12 has become a confused, shape-shifting muddle. Oh, it's pretty obvious that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are tops and that Kansas is the dawg's dinner, but positions three through nine are a bit of a crapshoot. Any of those middle seven teams are capable of beating the others, and we'll probably see just that sort of chaos and unpredictability for the remainder of the season.
1. Oklahoma: If the Sooners were trying to send a message to LSU and Alabama with their stomping of the Texas Longhorns, you've got to think it got through loud and clear. And one thing is certain, if you've got a young quarterback at the helm, you don't stand a ghost of a chance against the OU defense.
2. Oklahoma State: True, the Kansas Jayhawks would struggle to make the playoffs if they were in a Texas 5A district, but the Cowboys' 70-28 annihilation of Kansas was still disturbingly impressive. OSU was up 56-7 at the halftime break. The Cowboys got out of the throttle or this could have been a beatdown of historic proportions. And it seems as though OSU is not suffering much from the absence of Dana Holgorsen.
3. Texas A&M: The Aggies are not a great team, but they are pretty darned good. They are very solid across the board offensively, and play good special teams. If the mediocre defense can merely hold serve, the Aggies will be a tough out from here on out.
4. Kansas State: The most impressive thing about the Wildcats is that they play on such an even keel week in and week out. Following an emotional win over Baylor, KSU had every opportunity to come out flat and get whipped by Missouri, but instead, they charged out of the gate and flattened the Tigers. If you're going to beat Kansas State you'll have to be better than their best shot.
5. Baylor: The Baylor offense isn't just about Robert Griffin and Kendall Wright. In Baylor's 49-26 road victory over Iowa State, Terrance Ganaway rambled for 200 yards on only 23 carries. The Bear defense is still a bit shaky, but the multifaceted offense is truly nightmarish.
6. Texas: The Oklahoma Sooners showed everybody the keys to beating the Longhorns. Stalemate the UT defensive front seven and force Case McCoy and David Ash to beat you with the pass. Unless you have Sooner talent, that's easier said than done, but Oklahoma State, this week's opponent for the Horns, is more than capable.
7. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders did everything but win against Texas A&M last weekend. They showed that they are more than capable of playing with a top 15 caliber football team. They'll get another chance when Kansas State comes to town. Tech will also have to prove it can still run the football without budding superstar Eric Stephens who's out for the season with a dislocated knee.
8. Missouri: The Tigers are beginning to look like the Big 12's biggest underachievers. Mizzou's offense was comically bad against K-State in the first half of that game and it cost the team any real shot at a victory. The Tigers are prone to coming out flat, and quarterback James Franklin, a human energy sump, is one reason why.
9. Iowa State: After solid back-to-back wins over Iowa and Connecticut, the Cyclones have gone into a dry skid. The ISU offense is mistake-prone and the defense is porous. Perhaps a lethargic Missouri team will be the cure for what ails them this weekend.
10. Kansas: The Jayhawks get absolutely blasted from the ether by Oklahoma State, and probably think it can't get any worse. Then they look at the schedule and see the Oklahoma Sooners staring them right in the face. The Curse of the Mangino is potent indeed.