Big 12 Power Rankings

via cdn2.sbnation.com

Week one is in the books and with that our new power rankings actually have some reason behind them.  Several teams exceeded preseason expectations, and one failed in a big way. 

Last week the rankings were based on expectations.  This week their based on performance so the Big 12 has shuffled up just a bit.  As a whole the conference title looks as wide open as ever.  Entering week two, there are still plenty of things to be sorted out and plenty of questions to be answered.

 

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1. Texas A&M

How They Fared: 48-7 over Stephen F. Austin

Week Two: Louisiana Tech

Previous Ranking #5

A week ago I said I felt this team could easily be ranked #3 in the conference.  After the opening weekend there's no reason to believe they couldn't be #1.  Yes A&M played a lesser opponent but they displayed the most balanced game both offensively and defensively in the conference. Jerrod Johnson looked very good, the defense took care of business and with the less than impressive defensive performances from the Sooners and to a lesser extent the Longhorns and Huskers, A&M could just get back on top.  #1 for now, but they'll still have to prove it against a real opponent to keep it.  

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2. Texas

How They Fared: 34-17 over Rice

Week Two: Wyoming

Previous Ranking #2

The Longhorns handled business against the Owls, but they struggled offensively at times which could very well be due to early season jitters or mistakes.  Ranked #2 in the preseason power poll, the Longhorns stay put for now with arch rival Texas A&M steamrolling ahead.  Perhaps Texas v Texas A&M determines the Big 12 this year?

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3. Nebraska

How They Fared:49-10 over Western Kentucky

Week Two: Idaho

Previous Ranking #3

Did the Cornhuskers find an offense?  Redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez earned the start in what was a bit of a surprise and very last minute.  How did he respond?  Extremely well to the tune of three rushing touchdowns while leading the Corn to a 49-10 victory.  The bad for Nebraska?  The defensive effort didn't live up to Bo Pelini's expectations.  Yes the Hilltoppers only scored 10 points, but they did have a 100 yard rusher and put up just shy of 300 yards of total offense. Not great, but more than Bo Pelini wants.  Still the Corn answered some questions on the night, certainly more than some other teams.

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4. Oklahoma

How They Fared: 31-24 over Utah State

Week Two: Florida State

Previous Ranking #1

The Sooners struggled to put away the Aggies of Utah State and played pretty much even football throughout the game.  For all the talk of Big 12 titles, National Championships and Heisman trophies, there is plenty of work to do for Bob Stoops.  The Aggies four turnovers during the game proved costly in the end and the Sooners will certainly improve, but for this week the poor execution costs the Sooners in the power poll.

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5. Oklahoma State

How They Fared: 65-17 over Washington State

Week Two: Troy

Previous Ranking #11

Boom!  The Cowboys catapult up the rankings after answering all doubts with a dominating offensive performance.  For all the losses from last year's team the Cowboys didn't seem to miss a beat.  The offense was solid, it was balanced and while Washington State is about as bad as it gets in the Pac 10 it's still a decent opponent.  The Cowboys certainly look like they may have made it over the hump in terms of consistency and reached a point where MIke Gundy's recruiting efforts have allowed the program to reload in a hurry.

 

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6. Missouri

How They Fared: 23-13 over Illinois

Week Two: McNeese State

Previous Ranking #4

The Tigers were expected to win in the final edition of the braggin rights series with the Illini, but it wasn't easy.  At halftime Illinois managed to hold the Tigers to just 3 points and a 13-3 lead.  The good news for the Tigers is the staff made some solid adjustments and controlled the rest of the game scoring 20 straight unanswered.  Missouri still has work to do and their offense wasn't quite what everyone expected, but the pieces still look to be there if they can improve throughout the season as one would expect.

 

 

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7.  Texas Tech

How They Fared: 35-27 over SMU

Week Two: New Mexico

Previous Ranking #6

Tech beats a decent SMU team with a relatively slim margin by Red Raider standards.  The passing attack still looked good but not quite Mike Leachesque.  Meanwhile the running game struggled to get going.  Defensively the team forced four turnovers but still looked vulnerable.  The Red Raiders didn't do anything to hurt their ranking, but other teams did a little bit more to impress.  The fact is, right now the South looks tough top to bottom and it's going to sort itself out over the next few months.

 

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8. Baylor

How They Fared: 34-3 over Sam Houston State

Week Two: Buffalo

Previous Ranking #12

Robert Griffin looked good, the Baylor defense looked good.  After this weekend I'm high on the South schools when compared to the North and Baylor jumps four spots to #8.  If Griffin can keep things rolling in Waco, the Bears might find themselves competing for a Bowl birth.

 

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9.  Iowa State

How They Fared: 27-10 Northern Illinois

Week Two: Iowa

Previous Ranking #7

The Cyclones looked about as expected.  The offense was good but not great and defensively they looked decent considering the turnover in the front seven.  Things get tough from here but the Cyclones still have it in them to pull off an upset or two this season.  

 

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10.  Kansas State

How They Fared: 31-22 over UCLA

Week Two: Missouri State

Previous Ranking #9

Daniel Thomas dominated on Saturday, but the Wildcat quarterback play left plenty to be concerned with.  Kansas State is still a bit of a mystery because Bill Snyder has shown the ability to game plan and coach up a team as well as anyone.  Can he make the improvements with a bad group of quarterbacks?  That's the big question.

 

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11. Colorado

How They Fared: 24-3 over Colorado State

Week Two: Cal

Previous Ranking #10

Like several other teams on the list Colorado played well, they just fell victim to other teams showing better.  This is certainly a good start for Dan Hawkins and the Buffs, but nobody expected them to lose this one and they weren't overly impressive in any particular facet of the game in getting the win.  At the end of the day a win is a win, the Buffs have some talent and this is the start they needed to potentially get back on track.

 

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12.  Kansas

How They Fared: 6-3 loss to North Dakota State

Week Two: Georgia Tech

Previous Ranking #8

All the optimism appears to be for not.  After saying the team had talent but plenty of question marks, it appears maybe they just have question marks.  The worst and only loss of the week in the conference means the Jayhawks drop to the bottom of the power rankings where they could remain for a while.  The rest of the season for Turner Gill is going to be about proving this one was an early season anomaly. 

 

Player of the Week

Daniel Thomas - Kansas State, 234 yards rushing, 8 yard avg.

and

Kendall Hunter - Oklahoma State, 257 yards rushing, 12 yard avg.

 

Best Games of the Coming Week

Colorado at Cal

Cal absolutely dominated their opener to the tune of 521 yards of offense while holding their outmatched opponent to just 81.  This is a good test for the Buffs to see if the CSU game was the beginning of something or just another blip on the radar.  Tough schedule for the Buffs and this is a big one.

Oklahoma vs. Florida State

Oklahoma welcomes a top 20 opponent into Norman for a big time test.  Against Utah State the Sooners didn't play their best football, they'll need to do better to get a win in week two.

Georgia Tech vs. Kansas

How bad is it in Lawrence.  Time for a gut check.

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