Big 12 Power Rankings, Week Three, Part Two

While things are crowded at the top, better-than-expected play from multiple bottom-dwellers have added to the league's depth.

6) Missouri (1-1)

Even though the Tigers have the Big 12's only loss thus far, it's tough to fault them too much for losing to a good team on the road in overtime, especially with the cavalcade of injuries the Tigers are facing. The Arizona State affair was an up-and-down one that saw James Franklin start to emerge as a quarterback and the Missouri defense get torched. And, of course, it saw Gary Pinkel (unintentionally) ice his kicker. Twice (Pinkel said he was trying to draw the Sun Devils offsides). Franklin needs more help, either from healing the Tigers' running backs or finding a deep threat in the receiving corps. If neither happens, the Tigers, who entered the season as a dark horse Big 12 candidate, could stumble to a four-or-five-loss season.

Last Time Out: L 37-30 (OT) @ Arizona State (Sept. 9)

Next Time Out: Saturday vs. Western Illinois

7) Kansas (2-0)

Along with the Baylor-Texas decision (see part 1), Kansas and Iowa State were the closest. I wound up picking the Jayhawks higher because they didn't struggle with their FCS opponent and finished off their good competition in regulation. They've also shown more consistency. After two games, the Jayhawks are the Big 12's leading rushing team, and they rotated through five running backs against Northern Illinois, a team that has a chance to win the MAC. And quarterback Jordan Webb is the Big 12's second most-efficient passer behind Robert Griffin III. Kansas needs to get its defense — specifically its secondary — settled, and the Jayhawks face a tough test yet again this week.

Last Time Out: W 45-42 vs. Northern Illinois (Sept. 10)

Next Time Out: Saturday @ Georgia Tech

8) Iowa State (2-0)

Like the Jayhawks, Iowa State has a win over an FCS team and a win over solid competition. Unlike the Jayhawks, the Cyclones could just as easily be 0-2. But they're 2-0 in large part because of last week's emergence of JUCO transfer Steele Jantz at quarterback and Jantz' former JUCO teammate Aaron Horne at wide receiver. Jantz was running for his life against Iowa, but he made several hugely clutch throws on the run, rescuing the game. The Cyclone defense has yet to come around, though that's typically coach Paul Rhodes' specialty. They also need to get more physical: teams are averaging 4.3 yards per carry and rushing for 181 yards per game against the Cyclones.

Last Time Out: W 44-41 (3OT) vs. Iowa (Sept. 10)

Next Time Out: Friday @ Connecticut

9) Texas Tech (1-0)

So why is Tech here after beating Texas State 50-10? Because the Red Raiders were actually down at halftime and allowed 256 yards and 5.1 yards per carry to their opponent. Sure, Texas Tech came out strong in the second half. And they do have an explosive offense, thanks to Eric Stephens at running back (118 yards, two touchdowns), Darrin Moore at receiver (12 catches, 221 yards, one touchdown) and Seth Doege at quarterback (326 passing yards, three touchdowns). If these rankings were taken after Week One, the Red Raiders would have been ahead of Iowa State. But while the Red Raiders were idle, Iowa State grabbed a win over Iowa that Tech just hasn't topped yet. Which Tech team will show up this week?

Last Time Out: W 50-10 vs. Texas State (Sept. 3)

Next Time Out: Saturday @ New Mexico

10) Kansas State (1-0)

Sure, coach Bill Snyder will probably whip this team up at some point. But for now, this is a squad that struggled to move the ball and needed a late fourth quarter comeback to beat an FCS team. Snyder prides himself on having a physical team, but the Wildcat offensive line couldn't move the Eastern Kentucky line around, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. And the Wildcats might not have a quarterback who can throw the ball, either. At least the defense was stout. Kansas State wasn't ever really challenged on that side of the ball, and leads the Big 12 in several defensive categories. Expect this week's game to be another defensive showdown. Kent State has a strong defensive line and has already visited Alabama, meaning they won't be intimidated by the Wildcats' atmosphere.

Last Time Out: W 10-7 vs. Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 3)

Next Time Out: Saturday vs. Kent State

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