1) West Virginia (5-0, 2-0)
S&P+: 13 (Offense: 1, Defense: 56)
In a back-and-forth contest at Texas, the Mountaineers made a couple more plays than the Longhorns did and came away with an impressive 48-45 road win. The Mountaineers have knocked off two of the other four teams in the Longhorn Digest Power Rankings top five, and they have the look of a potential Big 12 champion. For a team that fills the air with footballs, West Virginia has yet to throw an interception, and with running back Andrew Buie breaking out for 207 yards against the Longhorns, this is a team that has found its groove defensively. An underrated part: the Mountaineer defense is allowing just 2.9 yards per carry. Up now? A trap game in Lubbock.
Up Next: at Texas Tech Saturday
2) Kansas State (5-0, 2-0)
S&P+: 34 (Offense: 14, Defense: 71)
Kansas State allowed Kansas to stick around for a half before doing what the Wildcats do: pouncing on opportunities. A flurry of turnovers later, and the Wildcats wound up with a typical snoozer of a scoreline against their Lawrence-based rivals. Are there some weaknesses there for a more patient team to take advantage of? Kansas is one of the nation's worst offensive teams, but the Jayhawks had their moments offensively. And the S&P+ score would indicate that the Wildcats have some issues on that end. But for now, they're one of only two undefeated teams left in the league. Up next is a typically close Farmageddon matchup with Iowa State. The Wildcats have won all three contests since Bill Snyder started roaming the sidelines again, though all three have been separated by just one score.
Up Next: at Iowa State
3) Texas (4-1, 1-1)
S&P+: 10 (Offense: 19, Defense: 12)
A week after making all the necessary plays — and getting a necessary call — Texas failed to convert in "critical situations" against West Virginia. The Longhorns lost by three, but probably had five to 10 what-if plays that could have swung the game their way. Instead, the Longhorns sit at 1-1 with a potential Big 12 title elimination game coming up against Oklahoma. Can the Longhorns start to make those critical plays on defense? If Texas shut West Virginia down on three fourth down plays, the Longhorns would have held the Mountaineers to 27 points and 366 yards of offense. Quite simply, making those critical plays is the difference between being a Big 12 title contender and going home with a loss.
Up Next: Oklahoma in Dallas on Saturday
4) Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1)
S&P+: 8 (Offense: 29, Defense: 8)
Welcome back, Sooners. In traveling to Lubbock and brow-beating Texas Tech, Oklahoma accomplished something it hadn't done since 2003 — beat the Red Raiders on the road. The Sooners also avenged last season's loss in Norman, and poked a number of holes in what was statistically speaking one of the nation's best defenses. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones showed flashes of his potential with a big second quarter that saw him hit on 10-of-14 passes for 121 yards. When coupled with the play of running back Damien Williams — 130 rushing and receiving yards against Tech — and the Big 12's top-ranked defense, the Sooners could be rounding into form at exactly the right time.
Up Next: Texas in Dallas on Saturday
5) Baylor (3-1, 0-1)
S&P+: 40 (Offense: 8, Defense: 101)
Picking between Baylor and Oklahoma State was probably the toughest choice on this week's ballot. On one hand, Oklahoma State is more balanced offensively and has a better defense. But on the other, this is a power ranking, and Baylor 1) has only lost once and 2) has the "better" Big 12 loss. So for this week, it's the Bears in the top five. Baylor still has the offense to shock any Big 12 team on any day, but the Bears need to roll up the sleeves of the Big 12's worst defense a bit to have a chance at competing for the league title.
Up Next: TCU on Saturday