Week Four Big 12 Power Rankings

This week's LonghornDigest Big 12 Power Rankings have some changes at the top. Click inside to read more.

1) Texas 3-0, 1-0 (last week's ranking, No. 2)

The Longhorns take the top spot by virtue of their 24-14 victory at a hostile environment in Lubbock. The game wasn't always pretty, and the Longhorns converted just 6-of-20 third downs. But the Longhorn defense looked dominating, holding Texas Tech to 144 total yards and creating 10 points, while only giving up seven. You'd like to see more offensively, but the bottom line is that if the defense plays like it did on Saturday, Texas is going to be in a great shape to win every game it plays in.

Last time out: W 24-14 at Texas Tech

Next time out: UCLA

2) Oklahoma 3-0, 0-0 (LW 1)

The Sooners dropped a spot from last week because they have now played in two single-digit games, compared to Texas's zero. The Sooners were outgained at home (458 yards to 367) and allowed Air Force to average 5.6 yards per carry. Still, there are a lot of things to like about this team. When they're motivated, they can put a hurting on you (just ask Florida State), and have talented offensive options like Ryan Broyles and DeMarco Murray to scare any defensive coordinator. Some consistency is needed.

Last time out: W 27-24 vs. Air Force

Next time out: at Cincinnati

3) Nebraska 3-0, 0-0 (LW 3)

Many people fingered Washington as Nebraska's first real challenge. But while the Cornhuskers flew to Seattle in the air, they took care of business on the ground to win impressively over the Huskies. Three Nebraska runners — quarterback Taylor Martinez and running backs Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead — topped the century mark in rushing, while the defense held Jake Locker to a 4-for-20 passing day. Martinez also impressed as a passer, completing 7-of-11 throws for 150 yards and a touchdown. If we're nitpicking, Washington rushed for 175 yards on 4.5 yards per carry. But overall, nearly a flawless performance. Another one like this and the Cornhuskers could find themselves in the top two.

Last time out: W 56-21 at Washington

Next time out: South Dakota State

4) Oklahoma State 3-0, 0-0 (LW 7)

How do you counter a team that puts up 428 yards? By putting up 722 of your own, of course. The Cowboys did just that in defeating Tulsa 65-28. Brandon Weeden didn't even play in a full three quarters, but he threw for 409 yards and six touchdowns. Three of those went to Justin Blackmon, who has emerged as one of the Big 12's top big-play threats. The Cowboys also rushed for nearly 200 yards. Oklahoma State does need to get better defensively, though in all fairness, a large portion of Tulsa's yards and 21 of their points were put up with the Cowboys' starters resting after the game was out of reach.

Last time out: W 65-28 vs. Tulsa

Next time out: Texas A&M (Sept. 30)

5) Texas A&M 3-0, 0-0 (LW 4)

The Aggies had two choices when they found themselves down 20-6 heading into the fourth quarter. A&M could have rolled over and died, or fought to the end. The Aggies chose the latter, overcoming the deficit to defeat Florida International 27-20. Turnovers can kill a team regardless of its superiority, and that almost happened to the Aggies, thanks to Jerrod Johnson's four interceptions. One of those picks was returned for a touchdown. Other than Johnson's performance, it was almost business as usual for Texas A&M, which outgained the Panthers 400 yards to 232.

Last time out: W 27-20 vs. Florida International

Next time out: at Oklahoma State (Sept. 30)

6) Kansas State 3-0, 1-0 (LW 8)

The Kansas State offense does one thing well: run the ball. But with senior tailback Daniel Thomas in the stables, that's about all a team has to be able to do. The Wildcats earned their first victory of the Big 12 season at Arrowhead Stadium, pulling out a 27-20 victory over Iowa State on the back of Thomas's 181 yards and two touchdowns. One of those came in the fourth quarter and gave Kansas State a 24-20 lead that it never relinquished. Though the defense doesn't appear to have a ton of pop, you have to like the way they closed out the game after taking the lead late.

Last time out: W 27-20 vs. Iowa State at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)

Next time out: Central Florida

7) Missouri 3-0, 0-0 (LW 5)

The Tigers scored a touchdown on a 68-yard pass with 1:10 remaining to beat a feisty San Diego State team in Columbia. Aztec runner Ronnie Hillman torched the Tiger defense to the tune of 228 yards rushing, including touchdown runs of 93 and 75 yards. Offensively, it was a slow day for Blaine Gabbert, who completed less than 55 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. He'll have better days, especially with a talented receiving corps. Michael Egnew and T.J. Moe combined for 20 catches and 264 yards. Moe snagged the game-winning touchdown as well.

Last time out: W 27-24 vs. San Diego State

Next time out: Miami (Ohio)

8) Texas Tech 2-1, 0-1 (LW 6)

How different is this year's Tech team from previous versions? Exiting the Texas game, the Red Raiders had more question marks on offense than on defense. Defensively, Texas Tech didn't play badly, giving up 24 points, 10 of which were set up by Texas's defense. But offensively, they were held in check, with quarterbacks Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield pressured relentlessly. Write some of that off as production from Texas's elite defense, but other problems, like missing blocks and committing untimely penalties, are must-fixes.

Last time out: L 14-24 vs. Texas

Next time out: at Iowa State (Oct. 2)

9) Baylor 2-1, 0-0 (LW 9)

Many people, including yours truly, thought that Robert Griffin III gave Baylor a puncher's chance against a very good TCU team. Instead, the Bears quickly found themselves on the mat, thanks to a 35-point first-half haymaker thrown by the Horned Frogs. Griffin was bottled up as both a runner and a passer, while the Horned Frogs more than doubled Baylor's total yardage (558-263), averaging nearly eight yards per play. If there were any positives about the game, it was that the Bears were able to hit on a few big plays, including passes of 53 and 27 yards and a 28-yard run.

Last time out: L 45-10 at TCU

Next time out: at Rice

10) Colorado 2-1, 0-0 (LW 12)

The Buffs finally showed an offense in hanging 31 points on Hawaii last Saturday, and showed great balance in putting up those points. Colorado had two backs top the 100-yard mark as they rushed for 252 yards, while quarterback Tyler Hansen passed for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And any time you convert 10-14 third downs, you're probably going to win. A bit of concern for the defense though: Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz passed for 330 yards. Colorado has the potential to win some games this year, though their margin of error is awfully small.

Last time out: W 31-13 vs. Hawaii

Next time out: Georgia (Oct. 2)

11) Kansas 1-2, 0-0 (LW 10)

There's no team harder to figure out than this Kansas squad. The Jayhawks appeared to have some athletes against Georgia Tech, but then also appeared to be slower than a non-BCS conference opponent in their 31-16 loss to Southern Miss. Big plays helped this one get away. Kansas allowed its second blocked punt in three weeks, and this one was returned for a touchdown. When added to a 49-yard touchdown run just a few plays earlier, Southern Miss turned a 7-3 game into a 21-3 halftime advantage, and put the Jayhawks in a hole they never pulled out of.

Last time out: L 31-16 at Southern Miss

Next time out: New Mexico State

12) Iowa State 1-2, 0-1 (LW 11)

Like last year's team, this year's Cyclone squad appears to have quite a bit of fight to it. Unfortunately, with a tougher schedule, that fight might not be enough to carry Iowa State to a bowl game. They needed that victory over Kansas State, as the Cyclones get Texas Tech at home, then Oklahoma and Texas on the road in their next three conference games. Starting 0-4 might not give the Cyclones enough momentum to kick in once they reach winnable games against Kansas and Colorado.

Last time out: L 20-27 vs. Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)

Next time out: Northern Iowa

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