Last week’s marquis matchup saw Baylor slip past TCU in a real donnybrook, but that’s not quite enough for the Bears to leapfrog Kansas State, which was idle. Those two teams will face stern tests this week as the Wildcats venture to Norman to battle the Sooners, and the Bears travel to Morgantown for a date with the surprising Mountaineers. It should be another interesting week in the Big 12.
1. Kansas State: The Wildcats got an extra week to prepare for a road clash with Oklahoma, a game that will go some distance toward determining the Big 12 title race. There’s no question in my mind that K-State is the better team, but the Sooners do have the talent to turn it on for one game and beat anybody. I wouldn’t be shocked if OU does just that.
2. Baylor: The battle with TCU proved to be all it was cracked up to be and more. But I don’t think anybody expected both defenses to be so hapless. At any rate, the Bears survived and advanced, and their reward is a trip to Morgantown, where BU engaged in another ultra-wild shootout not so very long ago. A repeat could well be in the offing.
3. TCU: The Horned Frogs outplayed Baylor for all but the final six minutes of the game, but their late collapse was so comprehensive that it proved fatal. Still, nobody will scoff at TCU anymore. The Frogs are for real and remain a serious contender for the Big 12 title.
4. Oklahoma: The Sooners managed to slip past Texas in the Red River Shootout, but there is reason for Bob Stoops’ troops to be concerned. OU gave up 482 yards to a shaky Texas offense and gained only 232 of their own. UT more than doubled Oklahoma’s offensive output. A kickoff return for a touchdown and a pick six are the only reasons the Sooners’ didn’t suffer a second straight loss.
5. West Virginia: The Mountaineers didn’t look great in victory over Texas Tech, but No. 5 in the Big 12 is just that, not great. Nevertheless, when the chips were down, West Virginia dominated the Red Raiders. If nothing else, WVU has mental toughness to burn.
6. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys continue flirting with disaster against weak competition, this time escaping with a 27-20 victory over Kansas. But now it all gets real. OSU closes out the season with games against TCU, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma. Don’t be shocked if they lose them all.
7. Texas: The Horns are 2-4, their worst start since 1956, but they are making progress. The defense played very well in losses to Baylor and Oklahoma, and Tyrone Swoopes is slowly rounding into a competent quarterback. Whereas Oklahoma State should swoon down the stretch, the Longhorns may catch a bit of lightning in a bottle.
8. Texas Tech: Call it a hunch, but the feeling here is that the Red Raiders will play much better late in the season than they did in the first half. This group led West Virginia for almost the entire game, and dominated most of the first half. If they can clean up some of the silly mistakes and do a better job taking advantage of opportunities, they can beat a lot of teams.
9. Iowa State: The Cyclones beat Toledo, and Sam Richardson had a career day with 37 completions and 351 passing yards, but Iowa State still didn’t impress. The Clones could be in for a major bruising on their visit to Austin this weekend.
10. Kansas: The Jayhawks have played noticeably better since Clint Bowen took over for Charlie Weis, but still have two losses to show for it. Next up is a visit to Lubbock and a meeting with the slowly improving but still beatable Texas Tech Red Raiders. If KU is to defeat Tech, they will do it via the air, as Bowen and new starting QB Michael Cummings have changed Kansas’ personality from ground-and-pound to air-it-out.
Yeager's Week 8 Big 12 Power Rankings
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