If nothing else, last week clarified dramatically the Big 12 title hunt. Baylor is now the odds-on championship favorite, TCU must hope for some outside help, and Kansas State had better put in calls to an Obeah priestess. Unfortunately for Bill Snyder, they’re not heavy on the ground in Manhattan, Kansas.
1. TCU: All of those people who said TCU didn’t belong in the Big 12, that they would take Kansas’ place as perennial cellar-dwellers, well right about now they’re looking silly. The Frogs not only beat Kansas State, but plumb wore ‘em out. Now all TCU must do to clinch a probable spot in the national championship playoffs is handle, Kansas, Texas and Iowa State. The only possible threat there is an improving Longhorn team.
2. Baylor: The other private school powerhouse, the Baylor Bears, woodshedded Oklahoma in Norman, and now look like the favorites to repeat as Big 12 champs. The only real hurdle is the final game of the conference slate against Kansas State in Waco. In point of fact, the Bears are playing as well as anybody in the nation right now.
3. Kansas State: It was no great surprise that TCU made K-State’s offense one-dimensional, stifling the Wildcats’ mediocre ground game and then homing in on Jake Waters and the passing attack. The shock was the ease with which the Frogs scored on KSU’s stingy defense. Still, K-State has a shot at the conference crown if they can win out (West Virginia and Baylor remain significant roadblocks), and if TCU stumbles. Frankly, that outcome looks doubtful.
4. Oklahoma: After being severely trounced by Baylor in Norman, and standing with a 6-3 record when many people expected the Sooners to vie strongly for a national title, Bob Stoops’ seat is now getting a mite warm. His record with the Sooners is excellent, but excellence isn’t always enough in football factories like OU. The suspicion here is that the Sooners win out and Stoops keeps his job. But he better win big next year.
5. Texas: Folks have been sleeping on the Horns, and the team from Austin has gored the sleepers into a rude awakening. UT is only 5-5, and will probably finish 6-6, but look for them to bust somebody in a bowl game, and the stage will then be set for the Longhorns to return to glory in 2015. That is bad news all the way around.
6. West Virginia: The Mountaineers are a good team that will finish with a very average record. And frankly, the last-second loss to TCU will be to blame, just as it will have proved the spur to the Frogs’ national title hopes. Had Jaden Oberkrom missed that 37-yard field goal, West Virginia might have then beaten Texas, and would now be sitting pretty while nobody would be talking about the Horned Frogs.
7. Oklahoma State: The drop-off from No. 6 to No. 7 in the Big 12 is staggering. The Cowboys are a lousy club, to be perfectly honest, and will get a chance to prove it yet again against the Longhorns this weekend. Inexplicably, the odds-makers are saying this one will be close. Don’t bet on it. The Horns will roll; the Pokes will fold.
8. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders may actually be catching a bit of a break. The disconsolate and distraught Sooners have seen all of their goals go up in smoke. They have little for which to play. Also, OU’s Sterling Shepard may be less than 100 percent. If Tech can force the wildly inconsistent Trevor Knight to beat them with his arm, this game could be interesting. Then again, the Red Raiders are hardly known for their prowess against mobile quarterbacks.
9. Kansas: Congratulations to the Jayhawks. Not only did they get a rare conference win, they did so in fine style, pounding Iowa State 34-14. Beating the Cyclones, admittedly, is a baby step, but progress is progress. And there are a few programs around the Big 12 that would be thrilled with progress about now.
10. Iowa State: With the loss to Kansas, it’s difficult to imagine Paul Rhoads keeping his job after season’s end. Everybody loves the guy—especially the folks in Ames—but the ISU program is spinning its wheels in a very deep rut. Rhoads doesn’t look like the man to get the Cyclones out of it.
Yeager's Week 12 Big 12 Power Rankings
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