The Big 12 just got topsy-turvy and it’s purple power at the top with Kansas State and TCU looking like the lead dogs, and Baylor nipping at their hind paws. And how wild is it that three schools with comparatively minimal finances and infrastructure are calling the tune to the rich and the historically powerful, i.e. Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State?
1. Kansas State: Auburn may very well be the best team in the nation, and K-State arguably should have beaten them in Manhattan. Where does that put the Wildcats nationally? Doesn’t make any difference to me because I don’t have a vote, but it makes a heap of difference in this here column of mine. Snyder’s boys have my vote as the conference’s best. At least for now.
2. TCU: It’s taken Gary Patterson and his Horned Frogs three years, but the newcomers who many believed didn’t deserve to be in the Big 12, are finally breaking through. The win over conference frontrunner Oklahoma was absolutely huge. A victory over Baylor this week would be monumental and would cement the Frogs’ status as the Big 12’s best.
3. Baylor: If nothing else, Baylor proved that its offense is vincible in their 28-7 win over Texas in Austin. Bryce Petty passed for only 111 yards (33 less than Tyrone Swoopes!), the offense totaled a mere 387 yards, and scored only 21 points (the return of a blocked field goal accounted for Baylor’s other points). Still, the Bears found a way to win against the Horns, but the plot thickens substantially when TCU comes to Waco this weekend.
4. Oklahoma: Trevor Knight is proving to be far from an elite quarterback, and that may be the Sooners’ undoing as they try to make the inaugural playoffs. He was certainly the chief stumbling block in OU’s loss to an inspired TCU team. Next up is the Red River Shootout, and both teams are coming off punishing losses. The surmise here is that the Sooners get back on track against the Horns.
5. West Virginia: The gap between the Big 12’s top teams and its pretenders starts right here. Dana Holgorsen has some nice players in Clint Trickett, Rushel Shell and Kevin White, not to mention an improved defense, but weak special teams will prevent the Mountaineers from making a serious run at the conference title.
6. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are a good football team that will earn a nice bowl berth, but they certainly don’t look like championship material. This is a young group, and like most inexperienced teams, it is too inconsistent. The inconsistency will prove fatal as OSU moves into the meat of its schedule beginning on the 18th against TCU.
7. Texas: The Longhorns have one of the better defenses in the conference, but not much else. Tyrone Swoopes makes too many critical errors at the quarterback position (this may sound familiar to certain readers), and the Malcolm Brown/Jonathan Gray-powered running game is overrated. This season’s team will test the patience of UT power brokers.
8. Iowa State: The Cyclones are capable of going toe-to-toe with some pretty good teams for a half or so, but just don’t have the staying power to bring home Ws. They’ll have a pretty good shot this week though as they host Toledo in a rare, midseason non-conference tilt. The Cyclones will lose the emblem battle, however, as nobody can touch Toledo’s retro Rocket design.
9. Texas Tech: This football team is in disarray, and that’s all there is to it. Quarterback Davis Webb is an interception waiting to happen, his receivers couldn't catch ebola at a Liberian buffet, and the defense, hardly the strongest of units, is run ragged every game. Oh. And then there are those confounded penalties (Tech tenaciously clings to its nation-leading numbers in this category). Sadly, there is no real reason to believe things will improve much this week against West Virginia.
10. Kansas: Man. As bad as Tech is right now, the Jayhawks are even worse. Kansas’ offense makes the Longhorns look like the Oregon Ducks, and the defense can’t provide nearly enough relief. If Clint Bowen can eke a win out of this club he may just earn the gig permanently. If he wants it.
Yeager's Week 7 Big 12 Power Rankings
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