1. Texas: The last thing Big 12 teams want to see is the Longhorns develop a passing game. But if David Ash's performance against Ole Miss is any indication, that unsettling development may be a reality. Everybody knew Texas' defense would be good, but when the offense hangs 66 on a SEC defense, eyebrows furrow and teeth grit.
2. Kansas State: With a drubbing of Miami and a road win over preseason Big 12 favorite Oklahoma in their resume, the Wildcats may well be the conference's strongest team. Lord knows they certainly have the best coach. The only question is, does KSU have enough offensive firepower to hang with the Horns?
3. West Virginia: Along with Texas and Kansas State, West Virginia is the Big 12's other serious BCS bowl contender. But just as Texas did little against Wyoming and Kansas State was threatened by North Texas, West Virginia struggled against a weak Maryland team in Morgantown. And Geno Smith looked like a borderline mediocre quarterback. WVU will receive their Big 12 baptism this week from a capable Baylor team.
4. Oklahoma: Landry Jones peaked as a sophomore and has deteriorated over the last two years. Consequently, the Sooners are not as good as their press clippings. Still, OU's defense is good enough to keep them in any game. But Big Game Bob's boys were supposed to be about so much more than just hanging around.
5. TCU: The Horned Frogs rival Iowa State for the title of dullest Big 12 team, but heck, all they do is win. Much like Oklahoma, TCU's defense will ensure that the Horned Frogs are a tough out for anybody, but Casey Pachall is still a work in progress and the TCU backfield is depleted and pedestrian. It won't be long before the Frogs go down, but it won't happen this week when they play a sorry SMU squad.
6. Oklahoma State: With Oregon destroying Arizona 49-0, the Cowboys' loss to the Wildcats is looking pretty bad. We will have a much better reading on OSU after they venture to Austin this weekend for a night tilt with the Longhorns. It will be a track meet. And if the Cowboys can somehow manage to get a few stops, this game could prove to be the most entertaining Big 12 clash of the entire season.
7. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have no excuses whatsoever to prove to everybody that they are for real. They are healthy, they are rested, they are hitting on all cylinders, and they draw a beatable opponent in Iowa State. To earn some respect, Tech not only needs to win this game, they need to win it by 16 points or more.
8. Baylor: The Bears are once again ranked in the top 25, but this ranking will prove fleeting. Look for the Mountaineer offense to score at will against Baylor's supine defense, and West Virginia to steamroll Art Briles' team. This one will be over by halftime.
9. Iowa State: The Cyclones have a very good defense. Perhaps one of the top five in the Big 12. But quarterback Steele Jantz, although improved, remains erratic, and ISU's other skill position players don't scare anybody. Texas Tech's defense might not still be ranked number one after the battle in Ames, but I bet it will remain in the top five.
10. Kansas: When you lose to Rice and Northern Illinois, you've got absolutely no shot in the Big 12. The reconstruction job confronting Charlie Weis is even more formidable than he imagined. And Charlie Weis is not a patient man.