Big 12 Power Rankings, Part Two

Teams six through nine are pretty interchangeable in Part Two of the Big 12 Power Rankings this week.

6) Baylor (6-5 Overall, 3-5 Big 12)

S&P+ Ranking: 39 (Offense: 15, Defense: 87)

Just a few short weeks ago, Baylor appeared to be headed toward the ninth-place spot in the Big 12 in these power rankings. But the Bears have caught some momentum of late, giving Oklahoma a heart attack before the Sooners pulled it out late and previously unbeaten Kansas State. The best part about that game? The previously unheard-from Bear defense stepped up huge. Baylor was always a threat to win a shootout before. But if the Bears pair that offense with anything resembling a defense, they'll be a threat to upset anybody.

This Week: Oklahoma State

7) West Virginia (6-5 3-5)

S&P+ Ranking: 31 (Offense: 9, Defense: 73)

The Mountaineers came crashing back to earth somewhat, and after a hot start to the season, West Virginia will end its first season in the Big 12 with a losing conference record. But the Mountaineers have been a tough out the past few weeks, nearly beating Oklahoma before coming back in the fourth quarter to defeat Iowa State. West Virginia appears to have found something with Tavon Austin at running back, though natural back Shawne Alston had a big night against the Cyclones as well. The Mountaineers should have too much offense for the Jayhawks and could head into a bowl game with a chance to win eight games on the year.

This Week: Kansas

8) Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)

S&P+ Ranking: 35 (Offense: 26, Defense: 49)

If these weren't a power ranking, Tech would be more difficult to place. But the Red Raiders have been in a bit of a free-fall of late. In Tech's last four games, the Red Raiders lost at home to Texas, beat cellar-dweller Kansas in two overtimes in Lubbock, were crushed by Oklahoma State and lost to Baylor at a neutral site. That's a pretty poor final month of football, and will give the Red Raiders a nasty taste in their mouths heading into bowl season.

This Week: Finished

9) Iowa State (6-6, 3-6)

S&P+ Ranking: 55 (Offense: 93, Defense: 26)

It's a shame that the Cyclones didn't unveil freshman Sam Richardson until two weeks left to go in the season. After picking apart Kansas, Richardson had some nice moments in throwing for 162 yards and three touchdowns and scrambling for another 119 yards. The Cyclones actually led West Virginia in the fourth quarter, and drove the length of the field for a tying score, only to fall when Jeff Woody fumbled into the end zone. With so many bowl eligible teams, it will be interesting to see where the Cyclones end up.

This Week: Finished

10) Kansas (1-10, 0-8)

S&P+ Ranking: 78 (Offense: 94, Defense: 46)

The Jayhawks have had two weeks to stew on getting drilled in what appeared to be a winnable game against Iowa State on Kansas's Senior Night. Now the Jayhawks will face the West Virginia team that beat the Cyclones a week later. At first glance, this appears to be a mismatch, but the Jayhawks have shown a history for bouncing back well from tough losses. This will be the final college game for Jayhawk seniors Toben Opurum, Bradley McDougald and Greg Brown, all of whom played major roles in turning the Kansas defense into a respectable unit. The trio played for three coaches in their four years, spending one year under Mark Mangino, two under Turner Gill and now one under Charlie Weis.

This Week: at West Virginia

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