Big 12 Power Rankings, Week Five, Part One

We have a change at the top, thanks to Kansas State's win at Oklahoma, before conference play gets into full swing.

1) Kansas State (4-0, 1-0)

S&P+ Rank: 43 (Offense: 17, Defense: 82)

Always defiant to their S&P+ rankings, the Wildcats went to Norman and pulled off an upset this past weekend, doing it in their usual fashion: just hang around and capitalize on mistakes. Per overall S&P+, this is the Big 12's ninth-best team, only ahead of Kansas. But the eye test would tell you the Wildcats are significantly better than that ranking, and especially better than the No. 82 defense. With the Wildcats owning a road win over one of the Big 12 favorites, they're an easy pick as the No. 1 this week.

UP NEXT: Kansas (Oct. 6)


2) Texas (3-0)

S&P+ Rank: 5 (Offense: 8, Defense 13)

Unlike the Wildcats, this pick is backed up by the advanced stats. Per S&P+, this is the Big 12's best team, the only one with a top-15 offense and defense (Texas Tech isn't far behind with a top-10 defense and the No. 19 offense). Still, that was accomplished against a non-conference schedule where the Longhorns easily out-talented each of their opponents. It could be a different story when Texas goes to Stillwater, a place the Longhorns haven't been since 2009. If David Ash can continue his play as one of the country's most efficient quarterbacks, this is a team that should make a run at the Big 12 title.

UP NEXT: at Oklahoma State, on Saturday


3) West Virginia (3-0)

S&P+ Rank: 7 (Offense: 4, Defense: 30)

Just how real are the Mountaineers? They rolled through a not-so-tough non-conference slate, displaying the expected offensive explosion, as well as a top-30 defense. But this week, the defense should face a much tougher challenge in Baylor, a top-20 offense nationally. The Mountaineers will be favored heading into their first-ever Big 12 contest, but it will be telling to see just how they're able to adjust defensively against one of the league's better offensive groups. A few stops here and there might be enough to take this one with the way each team scores.

UP NEXT: Baylor, on Saturday


4) TCU (3-0, 1-0)

S&P+ Rank: 14 (Offense: 20, Defense: 16)

With the way the TCU schedule is set up, the Horned Frogs won't face a game against one of the league's current top five teams (according to these power rankings) until Week 10. That sets the Frogs up for a really nice potential run to an 8-0 mark before closing with West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma, in that order. But the key word in there is potential, and while TCU shouldn't be tested this week, the Horned Frogs will face upcoming tests against Baylor, Tech and Oklahoma State that could determine just how special this season is. Run through those games, and there's a shot at a special year and a Big 12 title. Slip up once or twice (and don't sleep on Iowa State, either), and it could be a bumpier-than-expected season.

UP NEXT: at SMU, Saturday


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

S&P+ Rank: 11 (Offense: 45, Defense: 8)

People have probably been a bit too hard on the Sooners for dropping last week's contest to Kansas State. Let's face it: if Blake Bell holds onto a snap, Oklahoma probably gets into the end zone and wins the game. But that's the way Kansas State wins, and has won, for years: pouncing on your mistakes. The feelings after the game were compounded by two things: 1) Kansas State didn't exactly look great, even in winning and 2) Oklahoma traditionally wins, especially big games, at home. When taken in that context, it's easy to understand the meltdowns. But take the emotion out of it, and this is still one of the Big 12's better teams, albeit one still searching for consistency, especially offensively.

UP NEXT: at Texas Tech (Oct. 6)


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