With the entire conference in head-to-head matchups this weekend, there was a ton of potential for movement in these rankings. Did that actually happen? Let’s find out.
1 - Baylor Bears (5-0, 2-0 Big 12, Last Week: 1)
They barely escaped against a suddenly improved Iowa State team. A loss would have been disastrous for any of their hopes for the year, and the close results continue to pile up. Is this a good team, or a lucky team? Does it really matter?
2 - West Virginia Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0 Big 12, Last Week: 2)
Talking about close wins, West Virginia came from behind to narrowly defeat Kansas State after an uncharacteristic 4th quarter collapse for the Wildcat defense. This continues the trend for the Mountaineers of just squeaking by their opponent, no matter how good they are. They keep this spot because they are undefeated at this point.
3 - Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-2, 1-1 Big 12, Last Week: 5)
Big win for the Cowboys against the Longhorns, and if you disregard the loss to Central Michigan (which actually was a win), then the only loss is a fairly close one in Waco to the best team in the conference right now. Not a bad resume, and I don't expect them to have the same problems with Iowa State at home that Baylor did on the road.
4 - Oklahoma Sooners (2-2, 1-0 Big 12, Last Week: 4)
They survived against TCU, but the big swings back and forth showed both their strengths this year and exposed a lot of the same weaknesses we saw in losses to Houston and Ohio State. This team is looking like it will be very streaky all year long, even within games. Sooner fans should hang on for a wild ride.
5 - Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1, 1-0 Big 12, Last Week: 6)
Yes, I realize the win was just against Kansas. But the offense continues to lead the nation and the defense has shown some decent improvement. The game against Kansas State is probably the most interesting one on the slate this week.
6 - Texas Longhorns (2-2, 0-1 Big 12, Last Week: 3)
Everything that has been pointed out as an issue for this team got worse over the bye week. Charlie Strong taking over the defensive playcalling doesn’t appear to be the answer, and comes off as a last-ditch attempt to save his job after the season. Oklahoma needs this win as much as the Longhorns, so if they are going to win, the Sooners will make them earn it.
7 - TCU Horned Frogs (2-2, 1-1 Big 12, Last Week: 7)
Despite the remorse that Gary Patterson has about his comments for the officials, he does have a bit of a point. Saturday's game was a classic case of Big 12 officiating, although it's hard to really see how that gave Oklahoma the advantage exclusively. What's clear though is that this team has a big problem defensively, which was supposed to be their calling card again this year. I'm not sure this team is going to be able to win too many shootouts.
8 - Kansas State Wildcats (2-2, 0-1 Big 12, Last Week: 8)
Almost. The defense lived up to their end of the deal overall, but when the offense couldn't give them any more in the 4th quarter, the D just couldn't finish the game. This team has promise, but given their showings against the quality opponents they've played this year, I expect that this team will struggle to make a bowl game.
9 - Iowa State Cyclones (1-4, 0-2 Big 12, Last Week: 9)
What a performance against the Bears on Saturday. Even though they couldn’t finish it off, this looks like a completely different team than the one that limped into the new year. They would have jumped in the rankings if the teams above them hadn’t been so close in their losses.
10 - Kansas Jayhawks (1-3, 0-1 Big 12, Last Week: 10)
Just a week after I declared that I didn’t see how Montell Cozart could be replaced at QB, David Beaty goes and announces that Ryan Willis is the starter going forward. So obviously I have no clue what I’m talking about. That being said, the defense still looks pretty good. Given the history between the Jayhawks and the Horned Frogs, this is likely our best chance for a surprise win.
Fun With Stats
For those new to this segment, with a football program as down on its luck as the Jayhawks, we like to try and find the good that comes with the season, in whatever way possible. That means every week we will try to find a stat that the Kansas Jayhawks leads the conference in, and revel in our superiority. In previous weeks, we highlighted Total Kickoff Return Yards (KU still leads) and 4th Down Conversion Percentage Defense (KU still leads, up to 6th nationally). Up this week: Team Tackles for Loss (Per Game)
Kansas is led by the top two individuals in this category in the conference: Marcquis Roberts (1.8 TFLPG, #7 nationally) and Dorance Armstrong Jr. (1.5 TFLPG, #19 nationally).
We are using per game stats because the teams in the conference have played differing numbers of games at this point. Here are the full conference standings.
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