1. Baylor: The Bears were idle last Saturday, but nevertheless profit from TCU’s sluggish performance against Kansas by vaulting the Frogs in this week’s power rankings. (If you listen closely, you can hear the Baptists popping the Dom Perignon.) Throw in their victory over the Frogs and the case for Baylor’s Big 12 supremacy is quite strong indeed. But could the Bears experience vapor lock this weekend against Oklahoma State just as TCU did last week? Unlikely. But so were TCU’s struggles in Lawrence.
2. TCU: If the Frogs were going to lose again during conference play, it would have happened in Lawrence. TCU clearly underestimated an improving Kansas team a week after the Frogs’ massive win over Kansas State. And while they paid a price in the public eye, they didn’t in the loss column. Now Gary Patterson’s troops have a bye week to prepare for a trip to Austin. TCU will be more than ready.
3. Kansas State: The Wildcats face genuine peril in this week’s trip to Morgantown to take on a Mountaineer squad that has to be steaming mad about how close this came to being a special season. And, of course, WVU gives everybody fits at home this year. But Bill Snyder will have his boys prepared.
4. Texas: After getting blanked by K-State, the Horns have now reeled off three straight victories by an average of 20 points. Now they have a bye week to prepare for the possible despoliation of TCU’s fairy tale season.
5. Oklahoma: As expected, a trip to Lubbock was just what the doctor ordered to cure OU’s ills. Now the Sooners draw a Kansas team that has somehow found itself. Who would have guessed that the Jayhawks in Norman might be a tougher out than the Red Raiders in west Texas?
6. West Virginia: The third installment of WVU’s Trilogy of Terror (TCU and Texas comprised the first two chapters) takes place when the K-State Wildcats pay a visit to the Holgorsen gang. The Mountaineers will have to play better run defense than they did against Texas in their last outing if they hope to spring a major upset.
7. Oklahoma State: In their four straight losses, the Cowboys are averaging 10 points per game. You think that will fly on their trip to Waco? Ha! Whatever the spread on this one, Baylor will cover.
8. Texas Tech: I can’t bring myself to rank Texas Tech below Kansas, but were the two to meet right now on a neutral site, the Jayhawks could well be favored. The awful reality is that the Red Raiders are incapable of playing three, let alone four quarters of defense against a Big 12 opponent. Perhaps the Iowa State offense will prove me wrong, but I seriously doubt it.
9. Kansas: Oh, what might have been. There was the US hockey team defeating the USSR at Lake Placid in 1980, Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson, Appalachian State taking out Michigan in the Big House, and then there was lowly Kansas on the verge of ruining TCU’s Disneyesque season before a home crowd considerably smaller than what the KU basketball team draws for an exhibition game against the Laotian Boys’ Choir. The entire football-obsessed nation was behind the Jayhawks, but you knew it was too good to be true. And so it was.
10. Iowa State: The Cyclones could use Clint Bowen. They’ll have to settle for Texas Tech.