Big 12 Power Rankings: Week Nine

Another new number one, and some crowding at the middle. The Big 12 race is shaping up. For more, read inside.

There are debates to be had here. Is Texas really the No. 8 team in the league? Probably not. But Texas can't be placed above Iowa State, who beat the Longhorns in Austin. Likewise, it doesn't make sense to place Texas above Kansas State, which beat UCLA and Iowa State, two teams Texas lost to (though, of course, the reverse is true of Nebraska).

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

And your last remaining undefeated team is … Missouri? Not even the most ardent Tiger fan likely saw this coming, but that's precisely where the Tigers sit after a huge nine-point victory over Oklahoma in Columbia. The Tigers have typically been strong at the skill positions, but they won this one in the trenches, rushing for 178 yards at 4.6 yards per pop while not allowing a sack of quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert wasn't spectacular, but he was efficient, completing 71.4 percent of his passes and not turning the ball over. Now, the Tigers must avoid an emotional hangover, as their next game, against Nebraska, will likely determine the Big 12 North champion.

Last time out: W 36-27 vs. Oklahoma

Next time out: at Nebraska

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

Through three quarters, the Sooners actually led 21-20. But Oklahoma lost the final quarter 16-6, with Bob Stoops admitting that he punted the ball late in the fourth, down two scores, in part because he didn't want voters to think the Sooners were blown out if Missouri scored again. While Missouri deserved to win, the Sooners turned the ball over three times and allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown. Thanks to losses by Oklahoma State and Texas, the Sooners didn't lose any ground in the South race, but their national championship hopes likely took a death blow.

Last time out: L 27-36 at Missouri

Next time out: Colorado

3) Nebraska 6-1, 2-1 (LW 5)

Just a week after not scoring an offensive touchdown against Texas in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers hung 51 points on Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Quarterback Taylor Martinez rebounded wonderfully, throwing for 323 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for another 112 yards. Niles Paul hauled in nine passes for 131 yards and returned a kickoff for a touchdown, while Brandon Kinnie scored on all three of his catches. For the second consecutive week, the Cornhusker defense struggled against the run, allowing Oklahoma State to average 5.9 yards per carry in running for 212 yards.

Last time out: W 51-41 at Oklahoma State

Next time out: Missouri

4) Oklahoma State 6-1, 2-1 (LW 2)

It was only a matter of time before the Cowboys' defense came back to haunt them, and that moment came last Saturday. Oklahoma State allowed 540 yards and 51 points to the visitors from Nebraska, overshadowing a brilliant effort from running back Kendall Hunter, who rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns. The good news is that Justin Blackmon showed he could produce at a high level against a great opponent, torching the Nebraska defensive backs — mostly Prince Amukamara — for 157 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The bad news is that he'll miss the Cowboys' next game after getting a DWI.

Last time out: L 41-51 vs. Nebraska

Next time out: at Kansas State

5) Baylor 6-2, 3-1 (LW 7)

This one wasn't as close as the final score indicated. The Bears scored early in the fourth to take a 19-point lead and kept a double-digit lead until K-State scored with 15 seconds left in the game. The Bears were led, yet again, by a superb performance from Robert Griffin III, who passed for 404 yards and four touchdowns. But it was also a great victory for the Baylor ground game behind running back Jay Finley, who ran for 250 yards and two scores. With the win, the Bears became bowl eligible for the first time since the formation of the Big 12. Now, they'll travel a short distance south to take on a vulnerable Texas team.

Last time out: W 47-42 vs. Kansas State

Next time out: at Texas

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

Another week, another poor performance by the Kansas State run defense. The Wildcats have allowed all but one opponent to average four-plus yards per carry, and the Bears nearly doubled that, rushing for 279 yards on 38 carries (7.3 per rush). K-State allowed 683 yards overall, only forcing Baylor to punt twice. But the game did have its positives. For the second straight game, Carson Coffman had a respectable performance, though he was sacked four times. And Daniel Thomas showed off his arm as well as his legs, adding a 67-yard touchdown pass to a 113-yard, two-score rushing day.

Last time out: L 42-47 at Baylor

Next time out: Oklahoma State

7) Iowa State 4-4, 2-2 (LW 8)

How far can a well-coached team go? Well, last Saturday, Paul Rhoads led a significantly less talented Cyclone squad past arguably the most talented team in the league, winning 28-21 in Austin despite being outgunned by more than 100 yards. The Cyclones forced four turnovers and rushed for almost 200 yards in the game, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Defensively, the Cyclones didn't allow Texas to lean on its running game and forced the Longhorns to execute to win. Bottom line, Texas didn't do it, and for the second consecutive year, the Cyclones bit an upper-tier conference foe on the road.

Last time out: W 28-21 at Texas

Next time out: Kansas

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

Talent-wise, the Longhorns might be the top squad in the Big 12. But in terms of actual production this year, this spot is more accurate. The Longhorns' inconsistency was again their downfall as they lost to a team ranked dead-last in the conference in both total offense and total defense. Offensively, Texas never did establish the running game that made the Longhorns a tough matchup for Nebraska. They turned the ball over four times. And defensively, they failed to stop the Cyclones from running up and down the field on them. Those problems better get fixed in a hurry, as a red-hot Baylor offense comes into Austin this weekend with the prospect of knocking Texas to a .500 overall record.

Last time out: L 21-28 vs. Iowa State

Next time out: Baylor

9) Texas Tech 4-3, 2-3 (LW 9)

The Red Raiders never led in their tough game against Colorado until kicker Matt  Williams booted a game-winning 36-yard field goal with 2:13 left. That field goal led to Texas Tech's comeback from a 24-14 fourth quarter deficit. Quarterback Taylor Potts led the comeback effort, throwing for 286 yards and a key fourth-quarter touchdown. Eric Stephens rushed for 94 yards on 15 carries. And the Tech defense held Colorado to 28 yards rushing on 32 carries. If the Red Raiders can continue that level of run defense, they'll have a shot to go bowling this season. A win at Texas A&M this week would greatly help in that pursuit.

Last time out: W 27-24 at Colorado

Next time out: at Texas A&M

10) Texas A&M 4-3, 1-2 (LW 10)

The Aggies rotated quarterbacks Jerrod Johnson and Ryan Tannehill against the struggling Jayhawks, and it didn't seem to matter. Each commandeered multiple scoring drives, with Tannehill completing 12-16 throws for 155 yards and Johnson hitting on 12-20 for 139. Tannehill had the better day on the scoreboard, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for one, while Johnson ran for a score. Cyrus Gray led a strong rushing attack by running for 117 yards and a score. If there's anything to nitpick here, it's that the Aggies weren't always able to stop the run, allowing Kansas to rush for 201 yards on the night.

Last time out: W 45-10 at Kansas

Next time out: Texas Tech

11) Colorado 3-4, 0-3 (LW 11)

Tyler Hansen completed 9-of-10 passes and ran for a touchdown before getting replaced because of a rib injury. Backup Cody Hawkins threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns. And Colorado won the turnover battle 2-0. But the Buffaloes still fell at home, thanks to a poor rushing attack and an inability to stop the Red Raiders when it mattered most in the fourth quarter. If the Buffaloes can get their rushing attack up to where it was earlier this year, and add the passing explosion to that, they have a chance to keep the defense well-rested.

Last time out: L 24-27 vs. Texas Tech

Next time out: at Oklahoma

12) Kansas 2-5, 0-3 (LW 12)

The Jayhawks hung around with the Aggies before dooming themselves with turnovers, and eventually, injuries. Jordan Webb rushed for 75 yards on seven carries, but threw a back-breaking interception an injured his shoulder on the return. Backup Kale Pick was also injured later in the game, forcing the Jayhawks to use D.J. Beshears as a Wildcat quarterback before inserting third-stringer Quinn Mecham into the game. Webb and Beshears (64 yards) helped Kansas to rush for more than 200 yards in the game. But Kansas allowed A&M to finish 9-15 on third downs and put up 521 total yards. The Jayhawks have been outscored 159-24 in their three Big 12 games.

Last time out: L 10-45 vs. Texas A&M

Next time out: at Iowa State

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