One week into conference play, the top and the bottom of the Big 12 seem pretty clear, but the mid-pack, where West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU currently dwell, is a complete crap-shoot.
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners were off following a tough win at West Virginia. Next up is a battle with TCU, which now looks far more challenging than it did a month ago. The collision between OU’s typhoon full of meat cleavers known as Samadje Perine and the Horned Frogs’ outstanding defense could be epic.
2. Baylor: Does the Big 12 boast the two best teams in the nation? The Bears certainly made the case for this argument in the first half of their blowout of Iowa State, although they looked much more mortal in the second half. Still, when the Bears are rolling they look well nigh invincible. The Longhorns should be nothing more than a speed bump for this Briles outfit.
3. Kansas State: Defense is the name of Kansas State’s game, and if you’re not bringing a mighty heavy offensive load, you’d best not even show up. The Wildcat defense is fast, physical and mistake-free, and don’t make the mistake of underestimating their athletes as most coaches did judging by all the walk-ons contributing to this team’s success.
4. West Virginia: The surprising Mountaineers get the chance to rebound from a disappointing loss to Oklahoma and they’ll do so against a Kansas team looking to impress new interim head coach Clint Bowen. The Jayhawks may come out inspired, but they don’t have enough firepower to keep it close with WVU for more than a quarter.
5. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys looked no better than above average in their fortunate win over Texas Tech. The chuck-and-pray offense will not get it against the Big 12’s better defenses.
6. TCU: The Horned Frog defense is allowing just seven points per game and folks are beginning to whisper that Gary Patterson may just have something in Fort Worth. But just as a surging West Virginia was put to the acid test against Oklahoma, so too TCU is now confronted with the Sooners. One thing is sure--by the end of the day Saturday we will know much more about the Horned Frogs than we do presently.
7. Texas: As expected, the Longhorn defense is stout enough to keep Texas in most games, but the limited offense that is built around the limited Tyrone Swoopes will not survive the rigors of Big 12 play. Look for Baylor to prove that fact beyond any shadow of a doubt.
8. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders took a couple of baby steps last week in Stillwater, but are still a team that cannot get out of its own way. Tech holds the dubious honor of being the nation’s most penalized team, and their streak of losing the turnover battle now stands at 12 games. It would be nice to see what this club could do if it eliminated the goofy mistakes.
9. Iowa State: This Iowa State team is slightly more dynamic than the usual squads that come out of Ames, thanks in no small measure to quarterback Sam Richardson’s wheels, but the overall talent is insufficient to beat a top-tier Big 12 team. And that means the ‘Clones’ chances of winning in Stillwater are marginal at best.
10. Kansas: The Jayhawks are actually capable of playing decent defense, and they also have a couple of determined running backs, but the paucity of playmakers in the passing game and a maladroit young quarterback render the offense one-dimensional and punchless. New coach Bowen has his work cut out for him, but he can’t be a worse game manager than his predecessor.
Yeager's Week 6 Big 12 Power Rankings
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