Big 12 Power Chart: Week Seven

You may despise the participants, but there's no denying that the Red River Shootout is always a momentous battle that shakes up its particular corner of the college football world. The latest installment was a case in point, as the heavily favored and Oklahoma Sooners took it squarely on the chin from a Texas Longhorn club that had been struggling merely to keep its head above water.

You may despise the participants, but there's no denying that the Red River Shootout is always a momentous battle that shakes up its particular corner of the college football world. The latest installment was a case in point, as the heavily favored and national championship-contending Oklahoma Sooners took it squarely on the chin from a Texas Longhorn club that had been struggling merely to keep its head above water. Now the Sooners look vulnerable and the Longhorns have the look of a club that has found itself. And the latter may be very bad news for the rest of the conference.

1. Baylor (same): For the first time this season the Bears hit the road (against Kansas State), and for the first time this season they looked human. That could be purely a coincidence, or perhaps Baylor simply had an off day, but the end result is that, with this performance on film, nobody is going to be intimidated into defeat by the Bears before the game even starts.

2. Texas Tech (+1): In one way the Red Raiders are just the opposite of the Baylor Bears. Whereas Baylor has played an easy schedule and utterly wiped out all but one of their opponents, Tech has played a comparatively difficult slate and struggled at times. They certainly did against Iowa State. Will these hard-won games pay dividends for the Red Raiders on down the road? The next opportunity to find out is this Saturday when Tech travels to Morgantown where the West Virginia Mountaineers have already knocked off one top 20 team.

3. Texas (+3): After embarrassing losses to BYU and Ole Miss, you almost knew it was too good to be true. There was just no way a program with the colossal resources of the University of Texas could completely collapse. And this sneaking suspicion was confirmed when the Longhorns wiped out Oklahoma in Dallas. Now the rest of the conference must contend with the possibility, ludicrous just a few weeks ago, that Texas could actually be the best team in the Big 12.

4. TCU (same): Sometimes a game's outcome can be misleading. Such is the case with TCU's 27-17 win over lowly Kansas. Looking only at the final score and the opponent one might think the Horned Frogs spit the bit in Lawrence. In actuality, turnovers are the only thing that kept the final score close. TCU held the Jayhawks to 198 total yards and seven first downs, but lost three fumbles in addition to Trevone Boykin's two interceptions. The Frogs were physically dominant but mentally puny. It takes strength in both areas to be great.

5. Oklahoma State (same): The underwhelming Cowboys draw an ugly but rather dangerous TCU team in Stillwater this weekend. The Frogs have an opportunity to knock the Cowboys out of Big 12 title contention and they have the defense to do it. This is probably the most interesting matchup in the conference for week seven.

6. Oklahoma (-4): Blake Bell's honeymoon may be over. Following an impressive coming out party of sorts against Tulsa, and then another auspicious outing against Notre Dame, Bell struggled in a close win over TCU and was then rendered null and void by Texas. As a book on Bell has developed, Bob Stoops now stares down the barrel of a season in which he does not have an effective quarterback. And with no Josh Heupel, Jason White, Sam Bradford or Landry Jones to lead the way, the Sooners could be decidedly average. They certainly looked it against the Longhorns.

7. Kansas State (same): Wildcat defensive coordinator Dave Campo may have done the rest of the Big 12 a tremendous favor. He took a KSU defense that was replacing 10 starters and figured out a way to hold the Brazos Bombardiers to a mere 35 points. Perhaps the conference's other defensive coordinators can take the blueprint and run with it. But that's cold comfort for Kansas State, which is now a rather dreadful 2-4.

8. Iowa State (same): Full credit to the Cyclones. They had every opportunity to fold like a K-Mart pup tent in an F5 hurricane against Texas Tech, but instead fought and scrapped to the very end. And as a consequence, they made the Red Raiders sweat for what many expected to be an easy victory. But can they do the same in Waco against a Baylor team that received a wakeup call in Manhattan? If so, Paul Rhoads may actually deserve a contract extension.

9. West Virginia (same): The Mountaineers have had a week to stew over their humiliating loss to Baylor and to prepare for the invading Texas Tech Red Raiders. In college football it's not uncommon for teams to bounce back strongly from horrendous losses. That may well happen this weekend. And that's why the unmistakable scent of the upset hangs in the air over Morgantown right now.

10. Kansas (same): The Jayhawks draw the Sooners at exactly the wrong time. That said, the Kansas defense is good enough, and Blake Bell is iffy enough, that if the Jayhawks can find some offense, they may be able to compete with Oklahoma. But there's no reason to think that KU will find any offense against OU.

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