Now the Big 12 race gets very interesting. KSU, TCU, Baylor, OU and WVU have separated themselves from the rest of the conference, and it’s anybody’s race going into the back half of the Big 12 slate. The Wildcats look like the cream of the crop right now, but that status is anything but secure.
1. Kansas State: Perhaps St. Snyder had a line in with the Big Man. OU’s Mike “Money” Hunnicutt botched two chippies and had a PAT blocked, and that facilitated KSU’s one-point win over OU in Norman. But also credit the Cats for not turning the ball over and committing only two penalties. That said, K-State might need some more divine intercession to win the Big 12 with road games against TCU, Baylor and West Virginia still on the slate.
2. TCU: Nobody should be surprised that the Frogs brought Oklahoma State down to earth, but the ease with which they did it is a bit unsettling. TCU handed the Cowboys their worst loss since a 56-20 setback to Texas Tech in 2008. Now the Horned Frogs may be in the conference catbird’s seat with only a road game at West Virginia and a home clash with K-State as serious obstacles.
3. Baylor: Many people wondered if the Bears’ shootout win over TCU would take something out of the Frogs, but it appears to have debilitated Baylor more. The Bears simply couldn’t match WVU’s intensity for four quarters in a two-touchdown loss in Morgantown. Baylor gained only 318 yards, Bryce Petty completed only 16 of 36 passes, and the Bears committed 18 penalties for 185 yards. It was a fairly complete implosion for Art Briles’ team.
4. Oklahoma: The Sooners came up short (or wide) against Kansas State, but given the parity among the Big 12’s top five teams, it’s not out of the question that Oklahoma could still win the title. Depending upon how the chips fall, a two-loss team could win it all, and OU’s lone remaining challenge will be a home game against Baylor.
5. West Virginia: With their upset of Baylor, West Virginia joined KSU, TCU, Baylor and OU as one of the Big 12’s elite. But the Mountaineers still face daunting tasks with TCU and K-State lurking in the weeds. In WVU’s favor, both of those games will be in Morgantown.
6. Texas: The Longhorns eked out a home win over Iowa State, in part because their kicker Nick Rose did what OU’s Mike Hunnicutt could not—hit a short, pressure field goal. But it was hardly an impressive win as the Texas defense, hitherto the team’s bulwark, allowed ISU’s Sam Richardson to throw for 345 yards, and Aaron Wimberly to rush for 110. Expect the Horns to have a very rough time in Manhattan this weekend.
7. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys were a wildly overrated team going into the TCU game and it showed as OSU got mauled in every aspect of the game. They may experience déjà vu all over again in this week’s adventure in Stillwater.
8. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are steadily and incrementally improving, but given their very low starting point, that won’t be anywhere near enough to compete with TCU in Fort Worth. This game could be over by halftime.
9. Iowa State: If there’s any program in college football that plays more spirited games against better talent, only to lose in the final moments, I don’t know who it would be. It must be brutal to be a Cyclone fan. And it won’t be any more pleasant this weekend as ISU travels to Norman.
10. Kansas: Either the Jayhawks will see something in the film of West Virginia’s victory over Baylor to give them a chance in Waco, or the Bears will come out very angry and take their frustration out on the Birds. Bet on the latter.
Yeager's Week 9 Big 12 Power Rankings
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