1) Kansas State (10-1 Overall, 7-1 Big 12)
S&P+ Ranking: 25 (Offense: 24, Defense: 31)
Which Collin Klein will show up this week? The former Heisman favorite, who threw 12 touchdowns and two interceptions while averaging 5.0 yards per carry in the first nine games? Or the one who has thrown two touchdowns to four interceptions and averaged less than three yards per carry in the last two? If the former shows up, the Wildcats will likely roll to 11-1 and a spot as one of Bill Snyder's greatest teams. If it's the latter Klein, Texas has a chance to come in and play the spoiler on Senior Night.
This Week: Texas
2) Oklahoma (9-2, 7-1)
S&P+ Ranking: 12 (Offense: 23, Defense: 11)
Because of the Wildcats' play of the last two weeks, I was tempted to bump the Sooners up to the top spot. Little did Oklahoma know, when Blake Bell dropped the snap against the Wildcats, it wound up forcing the Sooners from the national title hunt. Still, if Oklahoma wins and Kansas State loses, the Sooners will take home sole possession of the Big 12 title. Even if the Wildcats win, an Oklahoma win gives the Sooners a piece. It's also worth noting that while Klein has struggled, Sooner quarterback Landry Jones has really come on, throwing for 500 yards in leading Oklahoma past Oklahoma State.
This Week: at TCU
3) Texas (8-3, 5-3)
S&P+ Ranking: 28 (Offense: 22, Defense: 35)
The Longhorns are another tough team to place. On one hand, Texas won four straight before succumbing to TCU, playing the Thanksgiving spoiler. But on the other, the Longhorns fell back to old habits, struggling to stop the run and seeing four turnovers from the quarterback position. And now, with David Ash's rib injury, the Longhorns head into Manhattan with Case McCoy as the starter. One thing's for sure: if Texas plays the way it did last Thursday, this will be a mismatch … a team that can't stop the run against a running team, and a team that thrives by pouncing on mistakes against a squad that can be turnover prone.
This Week: at Kansas State
4) Oklahoma State (7-4, 5-3)
S&P+ Ranking: 23 (Offense: 20, Defense: 28)
It was tempting to put the Cowboys ahead of the Longhorns here. And had they held on to win at Oklahoma, they likely would have been No. 2 in the league. But the Oklahoma State defense, which had appeared to turn the corner against teams like TCU and Texas Tech let the Sooners march up and down the field, including a game-tying touchdown with four seconds remaining after the Cowboys led for much of the game. Now, that defense will try to get settled before facing a red-hot Baylor offense that is capable of lighting up the scoreboard just as the Cowboys are.
This Week: at Baylor
5) TCU (7-4, 4-4)
S&P+ Ranking: 43 (Offense: 98, Defense: 15)
I've said it once, I'll say it a million times: it's not smoke and mirrors when a team wins by running the ball, playing defense and taking advantage of the other team's mistakes. And that's exactly what TCU did in beating Texas. And while the TCU defense deserves plenty of credit for forcing four turnovers and holding Texas to 13 points, credit should also go to quarterback Trevone Boykin, who gashed the Longhorns on multiple scramble plays to pick up first downs, and who kept the TCU offense moving with minimal mistakes. Only going to prevent a bit early stopped the Horned Frogs from capturing a double-digit road win. Now, the Horned Frogs face the Sooners with a chance to make even more of a statement.
This Week: Oklahoma