Big 12 Power Rankings, Week Six

The top of the pecking order appears to be somewhat established after last week, though the middle to back of the conference is as muddled as it has ever been. With few elite teams and a lot of squads that could nip each other on any given day, don't be surprised if that pattern continues to play out over the course of the year.

1) Nebraska 5-0, 1-0 (last week's ranking, No. 1)

Just call him T-Magic. Taylor Martinez put on one of the performances of the season, averaging 16.1 yards per carry in running for 241 yards and four touchdowns. All he did throwing the ball was add another 128 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 272.2. Roy Helu Jr. rushed for another 110 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Defensively, Nebraska bottled up one of the conference's most explosive players, keeping Daniel Thomas to 63 yards on 22 totes. Nebraska's only issue seems to be with fumbles, though they've recovered most of their gaffes. Still, if there was ever any doubt about who the top team in the North was, it's safe to say the Cornhuskers erased it.

Last time out: W 48-13 vs. Kansas State

Next time out: Texas

2) Oklahoma 5-0, 1-0 (LW 2)

The Sooners rank as the best team in the South by virtue of their win over the rival Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl two weeks ago. But a shaky-at-times defense that will go against some high-powered South offenses means that the Sooners are far from an unbeatable squad. At the same time, Oklahoma has the offensive playmakers to score with a lot of teams, particularly if they don't account for Ryan Broyles and the passing attack. Oklahoma doesn't face Nebraska in the regular season, so we might not actually know the conference's best team until the final Big 12 title game, should both teams arrive undefeated.

Last time out: W 28-20 vs. Texas

Next time out: Iowa State

3) Oklahoma State 5-0, 1-0 (LW 3)

Three quarters of the Cowboys' 54-28 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette last Friday were impressive, with the Cowboys winning those quarters 47-7. But one quarter, the second, meant that the game was somewhat in doubt until the fourth. The Ragin' Cajuns won the second quarter 21-7, actually taking a 21-17 lead into the halftime break. Even after a big third quarter from the Cowboys, the Ragin' Cajuns trailed by just 13 points heading into the fourth. Justin Blackmon continued his run as the Big 12's top receiver so far, catching 13 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Weeden passed for more than 300 yards, but so did Cajun quarterback Chris Masson. Up next? Another potential shootout, this one with Texas Tech.

Last time out: W 54-28 at Louisiana-Lafayette

Next time out: at Texas Tech

4) Texas 3-2, 1-1 (LW 4)

According to linebacker Emmanuel Acho, the Longhorns have been their own worst enemy. A comedy of errors cost Texas in losses to UCLA and Oklahoma, and now Texas must trip to top-five Nebraska. Know this: if the Longhorns find their game, they have the athletes and team speed to be dangerous to their opponents as well. Texas had two weeks to get its house in order before the Nebraska game, and the Texas defense is the best that the Cornhuskers will have faced all year. Still, it will be difficult to win if the Longhorns don't show some offense. Getting receivers Mike Davis and John Chiles back can't hurt.

Last time out: L 20-28 vs. Oklahoma

Next time out: at Nebraska

5) Missouri 5-0, 1-0 (LW 5)

Blaine Gabbert was knocked out of Missouri's 26-0 shutout victory over Colorado. The good news? True freshman backup James Franklin performed admirably, completing 3-of-4 passes for 35 yards and a touchdown while breaking off a 34-yard play in the run game. The better news is that Gabbert is good to go for Saturday's showdown with Texas A&M. The Tiger defense showed up in a big way, sacking Colorado passers four times and holding CU to 2.3 yards per carry. The Buffaloes finished 7-20 on third and fourth down conversion attempts, while Missouri committed just two penalties for 17 yards.

Last time out: W 26-0 vs. Colorado

Next time out: at Texas A&M

6) Texas A&M 3-2, 0-1 (LW 8)

The Aggies have a turnover problem. Fresh off losing via a turnover to Oklahoma State, Texas A&M turned it over four times in its 24-17 loss to Arkansas. Equally disappointing was the deterioration of Jerrod Johnson, who completed just 15-of-40 throws. The Aggies have a strong group of receivers, led by Jeff Fuller (8-154-1 in the game), but they aren't nearly as valuable if Johnson can't get them the ball. The defense also gave up 442 yards, though Von Miller was active and the Aggies did get three sacks. But the secondary didn't do its part, getting absolutely torched by quarterback Ryan Mallatt, who completed 70 percent of his passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Last time out: L 17-24 vs. Arkansas

Next time out: Missouri

7) Kansas State 4-1, 1-1 (LW 6)

It's halfway through the season, and the Wildcats have a quarterback controversy. Carson Coffman was shown the bench after averaging just 4.1 yards per pass attempt against the Cornhuskers, with backups Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamur each taking snaps. That's not a good sign, but a worse sign is the Wildcats' inability to stop opposing running games. Not every team is going to have a Taylor Martinez, but every K-State opponent this year has averaged at least four yards per carry against the Wildcats. The Wildcats can typically run the ball themselves, but if they can't learn to stop the run, it might not matter.

Last time out: L 13-48 vs. Nebraska

Next time out: at Kansas (Oct. 14)

8) Iowa State 3-3, 1-1 (LW 10)

So how does Iowa State get blown out and move up two spots? Two teams ranked ahead of the Cyclones last week, Colorado and Baylor, lost conference games. Colorado was shut out, while Baylor lost to the same Texas Tech team that the Cyclones beat a couple weeks ago. Iowa State actually led 14-10 after the first quarter, but was outscored 31-0 in the second. For the second consecutive week, the Cyclone defense was blitzed, as the Utes put up 593 yards while averaging 7.5 yards per play. That's not a good sign heading into a brutal stretch, starting with Saturday's game at undefeated Oklahoma.

Last time out: L 27-68 vs. Utah

Next time out: at Oklahoma

9) Texas Tech 3-2, 1-2 (LW 11)

The Red Raiders bounced back from their loss at Iowa State by getting a strong win against an underrated Baylor team on a neutral field. Taylor Potts completed 42 of 59 passes for 462 yards and four touchdowns to one interception as the Red Raiders rolled up 635 total yards. The Red Raider defense struggled mightily again, though Texas Tech did play better in the second half, holding Baylor to 10 second-half points and keeping the Bears off the scoreboard for the game's final 14:14 with the Red Raiders leading by a single touchdown. It doesn't get much easier for the defense, which faces a white-hot Oklahoma State O this week.

Last time out: W 45-38 vs. Baylor

Next time out: Oklahoma State

10) Baylor 4-2, 1-1 (LW 7)

The Bears lost a winnable game on a neutral field, though they continued to move the ball offensively and put points on the scoreboard. Robert Griffin III had another sublime performance, completing almost 74 percent of his throws for 384 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His job is made easier by a dynamite group of receivers packing plenty of speed, as Kendall Wright and Josh Gordon combined for 16 catches and 241 yards and both scores. The Bears need to find a defense, though if they score 38 points this week, there isn't much chance that Colorado will be able to keep pace. A win would put Baylor just one game away from bowl eligibility.

Last time out: L 38-45 vs. Texas Tech

Next time out: at Colorado

11) Colorado 3-2, 0-1 (LW 9)

It would be tough to ask the Buffs' defense to play any better than they did against Missouri last Saturday, as Colorado held quarterback Blaine Gabbert under 59 percent passing and didn't allow him to pass for 200 yards. Rodney Stewart rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries, though 22 of it came on one tote and Colorado struggled to run the ball consistently. In the passing game, Colorado threw 46 passes, but failed to move the ball consistently while taking four sacks and throwing an interception. Going 0-3 on fourth downs doesn't help either. Colorado's defense could keep it in some games this year, though the Buffaloes' offense might keep them from winning those same matchups.

Last time out: L 0-26 at Missouri

Next time out: Baylor

12) Kansas 2-3, 0-1 (LW 12)

The Jayhawks have a chance to move up this week with a home game against Kansas State tonight. Kansas has had nearly two weeks to stew on its last effort, a 55-7 defeat at Baylor. The good news? Kansas defeated Georgia Tech earlier this year in a game against a one-dimensional rushing offense, and Kansas will have a chance to run the ball against Kansas State's poor run defense. But the Jayhawks' ability to do that took a hit this week when starting guard Trevor Marrongelli was announced out for the season. Marrongelli joins fellow starter Jeff Spikes on the bench, while other linemen like Jeremiah Hatch and Brad Thorson are playing through injuries. Kansas is a long way from bowl eligibility, but a win tonight would be a nice step forward in year one of the Turner Gill era.

Last time out: L 7-55 at Baylor

Next time out: Kansas State (Oct. 14)


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