With Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Iowa State all idle, week four didn't exactly bowl us over with new information about the Big 12 pecking order. One thing, however, is becoming abundantly clear: the bottom half of the conference is weaker than a sick kitten.
Coming into the season everybody knew Kansas and Iowa State would be patsies, but few people foresaw the weakness of Kansas State and Texas, and nobody predicted that West Virginia would be as dreadful as they appear to be right now. Were it not for Baylor and Texas Tech picking up the banners, the Big 12 would be a borderline football farce in 2013.
1. Baylor (same): Twice in a row the Bears have rang up 70 points against catatonic competition, and they put up 69 points the week before that. In reality, had Art Briles punched the accelerator for the full 60 minutes in these games, Baylor would have three 100-point outings to their credit. And I don't care how bad the competition, that is scary. Not only does Baylor have the best offense in college football, this could be one of the greatest offenses in the history of the college game.
2. Oklahoma State (same): The Cowboys travel to Morgantown this week to take on the imploding West Virginia Mountaineers. Suffice it to say that Oklahoma State will find the NCAA pencil-pushers much tougher to deal with than Dana Holgorsen's bunch.
3. Oklahoma (same): In this age of dumbed down competition, and September Saturdays when scores of seventy-something to single digits are commonplace, kudos to the Sooners for scheduling a series with Notre Dame. Oklahoma's upcoming battle with the Fighting Irish should be a bright spot in what has been an embarrassing September for college football.
4. Texas Tech (same): You know expectations for Red Raider football are already elevated when the fanbase is wringing its hands and gnashing its teeth over a 26-point victory, which is about what the oddsmakers projected for the game with Texas State. Yes, Tech has some problems on offense, but the Red Raiders also have some time to iron them out. And if they do, this could be a dangerous team by the time it hits the meat of its schedule.
5. TCU (same): The Horned Frogs are probably the quietest team in the conference right now. They haven't impressed; they haven't disappointed; they were idle last week; they now draw the totally uninspiring SMU Mustangs. What is there to say?
6. Texas (+2): Given that Kansas State is hardly its usual hard-bitten self, Texas' 10-point win over the Wildcats is hardly the stuff of legend, and it does not portend a miraculous turnaround for the Longhorns. But Texas, desperate for any good news, will take it. And with a bye week coming and then a trip to take on lightweight Iowa State, the Longhorns will be able to bask in their Indian summer for the next three weeks.
7. Kansas State (-1): Bill Snyder has decided to gamble that quarterback Jake Waters will be KSU's long-term solution. It is entirely possible that had Snyder gone with running quarterback extraordinaire Daniel Sams, the Wildcats would have beaten Texas. But Sams offers next to nothing in the passing game, and that element of the game is necessary if the Wildcats hope to do anything over the long haul. It's difficult to second-guess Snyder, but losing a winnable game in Austin is a hard sacrifice to make to an uncertain future.
8. Iowa State (+1): Looking on the bright side, Iowa State lost their first two games by a combined total of 14 points. With a break here and there, the Cyclones could be 2-0. But such casuistry will be cold comfort if ISU loses to Tulsa on Thursday night. And they just might.
9. Kansas (+1): The Jayhawks won ugly over a very ugly Louisiana Tech team in Lawrence. And the odd thing is, Kansas actually has some talent to work with, particularly in the back seven on defense and in the offensive backfield. This team should be a bit better than it is.
10. West Virginia (-3): Beating a solid Maryland team on the road was never going to be easy for the Mountaineers, but getting blown out 37-0? WVU managed only 175 total yards and six first downs. That is beyond pathetic. Dana Holgorsen better find some solutions quickly or he may be looking for an offensive coordinator position in 2014.
Big 12 Power Chart: Week Four
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