Big 12 Power Rankings, Week Eight

Some people have hypothesized that the Big 12 is down this year. But Texas coach Mack Brown said Wednesday that the Big 12 is as deep and tough as it has ever been. Read this week's Big 12 Power Rankings below.

1) Oklahoma 6-0, 2-0 (LW 1)

The Sooners jumped all over Iowa State on Saturday, delivering the type of performance most people have wanted to see consistently from Oklahoma all year. The Sooners put up 672 yards while holding the Cyclones to 193. Perhaps most impressive was that Oklahoma had a whopping 37 first downs. Offensively, Landry Jones completed 30-of-34 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns, while Oklahoma had four running backs with strong performances. Ryan Broyles was the main recipient of Jones's big day, catching 15 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. It was just the kind of momentum-building performance you'd want to have going into a key showdown at Missouri.

Last time out: W 52-0 vs. Iowa State

Next time out: at Missouri

2) Oklahoma State 6-0, 2-0 (LW 3)

Is there a player in the country playing better than the Cowboys' Justin Blackmon right now? Blackmon had 10 catches for 207 yards and a score in Oklahoma State's 17-point victory at Texas Tech over the weekend. Running backs Kendall Hunter and Joseph Randle rushed for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Saturday brings an interesting challenge as the Cowboys will finally face a defense with the personnel to close down their offensive attack. The Oklahoma State defense is still a question mark, and the Cowboys allowed Tech to rush for 4.6 yards per carry. That's a scary number heading into a game against one of the country's top rushing teams.

Last time out: W 34-17 at Texas Tech

Next time out: Nebraska

3) Missouri 6-0, 2-0 (LW 5)

How good are the Tigers? It's a question that is seemingly asked, and answered every week. But the Tigers' ceiling will likely be decided this weekend when they host the undefeated Sooners. Last week, Missouri became the first team to truly stomp on a Texas A&M team that had a couple close losses. The Missouri defense continues to impress, with the Aggies not scoring their first points until the 2:36 mark in the third quarter. By that point, the Tigers had already built a 23-0 lead on the strength of Blaine Gabbert throwing to receivers T.J. Moe and Wes Kemp. Now, the Tigers have a statement game at home against the South's best squad. Will Missouri continue its M.O. as one of the North's best, but falling just short of the conference's elite? Or is this the year they turn that corner?

Last time out: W 30-9 at Texas A&M

Next time out: Oklahoma

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

The Longhorns found themselves in the rare underdog role last Saturday, and they found out that the hat fit well. Texas came out and played inspired defense, holding Taylor Martinez to 21 yards on 13 carries, while utilizing a quarterback run wrinkle with Garrett Gilbert to catch the Nebraska defense off guard. Texas led 20-3 before a pair of mistakes allowed the Cornhuskers to close the final margin of victory. Most importantly, Texas finally exhibited its power running game against a good opponent, with the Longhorns grinding the end of the game out with strong running from backs like Cody Johnson and Tré Newton. Having both players healthy adds another dimension to a group already starting to gain traction with scat backs Fozzy Whittaker and D.J. Monroe.

Last time out: W 20-13 at Nebraska

Next time out: Iowa State

5) Nebraska 5-1, 1-1 (LW 1)

The Cornhuskers' drop wasn't necessarily an indication of where they'll end up. But right now, there are three undefeated teams and a squad that beat the Cornhuskers last week. But you could also make the argument that the Cornhuskers beat themselves, dropping numerous wide open passes, including four potential touchdowns. This week represents another undefeated team, but a different challenge. Oklahoma State lacks Texas's defense, but is far more explosive offensively. If the Nebraska defense doesn't come to play, this could be a shootout.

Last time out: L 13-20 vs. Texas

Next time out: at Oklahoma State

6) Kansas State 5-1, 2-1 (LW 7)

The Wildcats experienced the highest of highs exactly one week after the lowest of lows. Just seven days after a brutal beating at the hands of Nebraska, seemingly squashing the Wildcats as a mediocre team, they went on the road and blew out rival Kansas in a game that most people thought would have been much closer. Carson Coffman completed 15-of-16 passes and accounted for five touchdowns, including three on the ground. Defensively, the Wildcats essentially pitched a shutout, scoring a touchdown on a fumble return and not allowing a score until Kansas State led 52-0. Now, Kansas State must travel to face an athletic Baylor team, with bowl eligibility on the line for both teams.

Last time out: W 59-7 at Kansas

Next time out: at Baylor

7) Baylor 5-2, 2-1 (LW 10)

The Bears showed quite a bit of resilience in holding off Colorado in a close game on the road last Saturday. The Bears fell behind 15-7 just before halftime before outscoring Colorado 21-3 to take a 10-point lead of their own. Colorado bounced back with a little more than five minutes left, cutting it to a three-point game before Baylor pulled away slightly with a late field goal. Robert Griffin III continued his torrid play, completing 22-of-27 passes and rushing for 137 yards on 15 carries. Running back Jay Finley helped out by rushing for 143 yards at 10.2 yards per pop. And now the Bears have a home game with a chance to hit bowl eligibility before Texas does.

Last time out: W 25-31 at Colorado

Next time out: Kansas State

8) Iowa State 3-4, 1-2 (LW 8)

Woe are the Cyclones, who boast a dangerous team, but one locked into the "tough" South rotation. They've been blown out each of the past two weeks by top-10 teams, including a 52-0 socking from Oklahoma last week, and now they get to travel to Austin to take on a Texas team that seems to be gaining steam. Nothing much went right for the Cyclones against the Sooners, but this remains a squad, thanks to running back Alexander Robinson and tight end Collin Franklin, that is capable of scoring points and giving teams fits. Don't believe me? Just ask Texas Tech.

Last time out: L 0-52 at Oklahoma

Next time out: at Texas

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

Credit the Red Raiders for fighting back from a 21-0 deficit, though they couldn't finish the deal against Oklahoma State. Texas Tech scored twice to cut the lead to 21-14 before the Cowboys closed on a 13-3 run. At issue, as always, is the defense, which allowed 581 yards at 7 yards per play. The Red Raiders did display a decent rushing offense, running for 175 yards on 38 plays, or 4.6 yards per carry. Eric Stephens is quickly developing into an excellent back, and he rushed for 99 yards on 15 carries. Still, without a defense, it's hard to see Tech gaining much traction in a South division where they've already lost to Texas and Oklahoma State.

Last time out: L 17-34 vs. Oklahoma State

Next time out: at Colorado

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

Something just isn't right in the water in College Station, where the Aggies are significantly more talented than their record. The earlier losses to Oklahoma State and Arkansas could be explained away as close losses to good teams. But Missouri handled A&M last Saturday, with the Aggies never really showing up. Now, they'll probably have to play for Coach Mike Sherman's job, and while a total reversal of fortunes is probably asking too much, the Aggies do get to take a step in that direction in this week's game against cellar-dweller Kansas. The Aggies are favored by two scores in that game, and if they fail to come up with a win for the fourth straight week, Sherman might not make it through the season.

Last time out: L 9-30 vs. Missouri

Next time out: at Kansas

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

There was a lot to like about the Buffaloes' performance against Baylor, though the final scoreline wasn't one of them. Baylor is a more athletic squad, so the result wasn't surprising. But the Buffs surprised by putting up nearly 400 yards of total offense, while the defense generated three turnovers. The Buffaloes received a workmanlike performance from mighty mite back Rodney Stewart, who carried the ball 30 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns. The defense still has to get better. Giving up 8.8 yards per carry, as the Buffs did last week, just won't cut it. And while the turnovers are nice, the fact that the Buffs couldn't force Baylor to punt once in the game isn't.

Last time out: L 25-31 vs. Baylor

Next time out: Texas Tech

12) Kansas 2-4, 0-2 (LW 12)

One hundred points. That's the combined margin of defeat suffered by the Jayhawks over the last two weeks, after losing by 48 to Baylor and 52 to Kansas State. That was OK near the start of the millennium, when Kansas was taking those thumpings from the conference's elite squads, but Kansas State and Baylor are middle tier at best. Part of the issues certainly come from talent, especially defensively, and Kansas has a young quarterback. But are the Jayhawks truly 100 points worse talent-wise than two middle-of-the-road teams? Recruiting rankings certainly wouldn't say so. Some of that blame certainly has to be tossed the coaches' way.

Last time out: L 7-59 vs. Kansas State

Next time out: Texas A&M


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