Big 12 Power Chart: Week Six

It was your proverbial wild and wooly week in the Big 12. Baylor detonated a thermonuclear warhead on West Virginia (not very Christian of them, I might add), Texas Tech lobbed several phosgene shells into the Kansas camp, and TCU/Oklahoma, Iowa State/Texas and Kansas State/Oklahoma State all staged classic palm-sweating battles that went undecided very deep into the fourth quarter.

It was your proverbial wild and wooly week in the Big 12. Baylor detonated a thermonuclear warhead on West Virginia (not very Christian of them, I might add), Texas Tech lobbed several phosgene shells into the Kansas camp (perfectly in keeping with the Red Raider persona), and TCU/Oklahoma, Iowa State/Texas and Kansas State/Oklahoma State all staged classic palm-sweating battles that went undecided very deep into the fourth quarter. The Big 12 might not be as strong as in years past, but it's still pretty doggone entertaining.

1. Baylor (same): It is time for some folks to adjust themselves to a very uncomfortable reality. I've been singing the praises of the Bears for weeks now, and with Baylor's obliteration of West Virginia, now even the skeptics may be forced to do the same. The cold, hard fact is that Baylor is easily the class of the Big 12 and looks to be a serious threat to take the national title. I doubt Alabama could stay within two touchdowns of the Bears. The only club out there that might stand a chance against them right now is Oregon. A Baylor/Oregon battle for the national championship would be one for the ages.

2. Oklahoma (same): Were it not for a busted assignment by a TCU defensive lineman, which allowed Brennan Clay to cruise 76 yards for a touchdown, the Sooners may well have lost this game. But they didn't. TCU made the big mistake; Oklahoma did not. And beating a tough TCU team on the heels of taking out Notre Dame in South Bend is pretty impressive.

3. Texas Tech (same): The Red Raiders are making up some ground on the Sooners. Now Kansas is not a good football team, but the Jayhawks were playing their best football of the season in the first half, yet Tech counterpunched its way to a 54-16 win. If the Red Raider offensive line gets healthy and continues to improve, this will be a very salty squad come November.

4. TCU (same): If it's any consolation to Gary Patterson, his Horned Frogs are easily the best 2-3 team in the nation. In fact, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if TCU reels off six straight going into their season finale against Baylor.

5. Oklahoma State (same): Oklahoma State scraped by a mediocre Kansas State team in Stillwater, but it was by no means certain that the better team won. The Cowboys simply have not gelled, particularly on offense, where they don't sport their usual array of wildly talented skill position players. If you're going to get your licks in against Oklahoma State, this looks like a good year to do it.

6. Texas (same): One reason so many people loathe the Longhorns is that it seems they always get the breaks in close football games. Did Johnathan Gray fumble as he was falling to the turf on the Iowa State two-yard-line? Replays were inconclusive, but those sorts of calls always go Texas' way. One suspects that Oklahoma will not allow the upcoming Red River Shootout to be close enough for the officiating to affect the outcome.

7. Kansas State (+1): The Wildcats lost the turnover battle 5-1, and the penalty sum 12-1, yet still lost by only four points to Oklahoma State on the road. KSU seems a little snakebit this season, and the immediate future holds little promise as the Baylor Bears arrive in Manhattan next Saturday. Bill Snyder will have to work every bit of his magic for the Wildcats to keep this one close for more than a quarter.

8. Iowa State (+1): It's a real shame when bad things happen to good people, and that's exactly what befell Paul Rhoads in Ames when the luck o' the Longhorns snatched victory from Rhoads' slavering jaws. And just as Kansas State must play a fearsome foe following a heartbreaking loss, so too must the Cyclones as they travel to Lubbock to take on surprising Texas Tech.

9. West Virginia (-2): West Virginia's win over Oklahoma State was a fluke, and Baylor proved that beyond any reasonable doubt. We knew the Mountaineers had problems on offense, but Baylor shredded their defense, too. Thing are looking a mite grim in Morgantown.

10. Kansas (same): What Baylor did to West Virginia, Texas Tech, to a lesser extent did to Kansas. The Jayhawks came in boasting of a solid defense and a very good secondary, but the Red Raiders ultimately made mincemeat of both. And Charlie Weis, in giving his punter the latitude to call a fake punt on fourth-and-12 from the Kansas 17, made his own eventual firing an even easier decision than it was coming in.

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