It's funny how the Big 12 typically has a way of dividing itself into three tiers. It has that feel in a lot of ways again in 2010 although you could probably make the argument that there are five, or your middle tier would need to include 6 teams perhaps. Either way it feels like the league is a little more balanced this year, but still a few teams separating themselves at the top.
How They Fared: 43-10 win over Colorado
Week Ten: Texas A&M
Previous Ranking #2
Yes they lost on the road in Columbia so you could argue they deserve to be below Mizzou, but I can't do it. Oklahoma went into what was probably the most hostile environment in the Big 12 this year and faced and amped up Mizzou team that played at a very high level. I guess I'm of the opinion that if those two squared of on a neutral field to decide the conference, Oklahoma would win that one. Still, there is no denying that the top 3 in the power poll are most likely the most legit contenders in the conference.
How They Fared: 31-17 win over Mizzou
Week Ten: Iowa State
Previous Ranking #3
Roy Helu looked like he might run for 1000 yards at the start of this one. He ended up at just 300 but either way it was an impressive game for the Huskers. They did it in a different way. Rather than ride the legs of Taylor Martinez to explosive plays all over the field, they jumped on the back of Helu and got it done early. Impressive work against the Tiger offense by the blackshirts and right now the path seems paved for a Big 12 conference title game.
How They Fared: 31-17 loss to Nebraska
Week Ten: Texas Tech
Previous Ranking #1
The Tigers took a major punch early and did recover to make the game in Lincoln respectable. It's hard to play in such an emotionally charged game one week only to have to turn around and do it again. That's what this game showed. Right now I think MIzzou definitely belongs in the contender talk, one mistep by the Huskers and they have a great shot at the Big 12 title game. But for this week a drop to three based on performance.
How They Fared: 30-22 victory over Texas
Week Ten: Oklahoma State
Previous Ranking #5
Tough call between the Bears and the Cowboys. This week I'm more impressed by the win in Austin than the win in Manhattan and even when I start looking at the overall w's and l's the Bears seem to be a little more versatile in the way they can play and the ways they can beat you. It'll be settled on the field this week when the Bears go to Stillwater, but if they get a win there we're seriously talking about the Bears vying for a Big 12 title game. Anyone see that coming when they were screaming for Turner Gill's head after the loss in Waco?
5. Oklahoma State
How They Fared: 24-14 win over Kansas State
Week Ten: Baylor
Previous Ranking #4
A win is a win on the road in the Big 12 but this game was ugly for the Cowboy offense. Yes they put up yardage but they weren't as crisp as they sometimes look and they weren't able to punch it in as much as they'd like. Oklahoma State is still a tough team to get a good read on, but they are certainly top half to top third in the conference at this point.
6. Iowa State
How They Fared: 28-16 win over Kansas
Week Ten: Nebraska
Previous Ranking #6
Some think this is a bad team, I think they're mediocre which puts them right in the middle of a logjam from 6-10 in the Big 12. Iowa State has three bad losses. One to Iowa, one to Utah and one to Oklahoma. All three of those teams were viewed as top 10 teams at the time Iowa State played them and all three are still in the top 25 rather easily. The Cyclones now sit with 5 wins and 4 losses. They are just one win a way from a second straight bowl game. Nebraska comes to town with revenge on their minds. What awaits ISU is a chance to show a few doubters. We'll know plenty about Iowa State after this one.
7. Kansas State
How They Fared: 24-14 loss to Oklahoma State
Week Ten: Texas
Previous Ranking #8
Back and forth, back and forth, who to put at #7? Kansas State or Texas A&M. Because I think A&M plays slightly undisciplined at times and because K-State does not, I have to give the nod to the Wildcats. Bill Snyder is a better coach than Mike Sherman, A&M probably has better talent, but head to head with what I know today I'll say K-State at #7.
8. Texas A&M
How They Fared:45-27 win over Texas Tech
Week Ten: Oklahoma
Previous Ranking #9
The Aggies seems to be getting on a bit of a role lately but it's come at the expense of two teams in a bit of transitional turmoil. Oklahoma awaits the Aggies this week so it's another chance for A&M to show they can be for real. A win against the Sooners speaks volumes, plus it puts Baylor in the Big 12 South drivers seat. Wouldn't that be interesting.
How They Fared: 30-22 loss to Baylor
Week Ten: Kansas State
Previous Ranking #7
Four out of the last five have ended in losses. The drop off due to the departure of Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley appears to be HUGE. I'm sure there are other reasons, but it seems like it's leadership that this team is lacking? The Longhorns will looks to get back on track against the Wildcats in Manhattan but K-State hasn't been a kind opponent to the Longhorns in recent years so it could be a sub .500 record that awaits. Karma for the Big 12 realignment bullying?
10. Texas Tech
How They Fared: 45-27 loss to Texas A&M
Week Ten: Missouri
Previous Ranking #10
A transitional year in Lubbock. The biggest difference between the Tech transition and the Kansas transition is competitiveness. Tech tends to be more competitive in nature week to week they just lack consistency and that's acceptable in a lot of ways.
How They Fared: 43-10 loss to Oklahoma
Week Ten: Kansas
No fault losing at Oklahoma. Toilet bowl this week against the Jayhawks and if Colorado doesn't manage a win in Lawrence that will most certainly be the nail in the coffin for Dan Hawkins.
How They Fared: 28-16 loss to Iowa State
Week Ten: Colorado
Previous Ranking #12
A PULSE!! we have a pulse in Lawrence. The Jayhawks played a strong half of football, the merits of which are still debatable as the Cyclones merits are still debatable. That said the final "winnable" game on the schedule is this week against the Buffaloes. With a strong effort for four quarters Kansas has a chance, but Colorado's D should present a stiffer test than many expect.