Hey, look! Iowa State won a game! We now have zero no-win teams in the Big 12. Only took four weeks to get there, but we did it. ISU actually looked pretty good against (an admittedly very, very bad) San José State, putting up 44 points on them. TCU allowed SMU to hang around for a half, then crushed them in the second half for a 33-3 final. Kansas State might be sneaky good; they shut out Missouri State, 35-0. At the very least, the Snydercats have an excellent defense. West Virginia survived BYU in Washington DC and Baylor, well, you know what happened in that game. Let’s rank.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
Iowa State finally won, and their victory is better than Kansas’. Plus, I just like ISU better.
9. Iowa St. Cyclones
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Raiders were on a bye this last week, so I cannot really move them one way or the other. I think the gap between this slot and the nine and ten slots is much smaller than the gap between this slot and the three through seven slots. That being said, until Tech shows me they can handle a Big 12 offense, they’re stuck here. They may well end up winning eight-plus games. Or five games.
7. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State probably could have won the game on Saturday. They should have won the game against Central Michigan. They did neither of these things. Mike Gundy is also apparently not in T. Boone’s good graces, which is a place no OSU coach wants to be. With Texas up next, the Cowboys have a big chance to right the ship... Or their ship could crash into the shore. Exciting!
6. Texas Longhorns
After an embarrassing loss at Cal, the Stronghorns had a week off to re-focus, throw out their sweats, and put on their suits and ties again. I think what we saw is that Texas, despite all their talent, cannot copy a Baylor offense and try to have a Strong shut-down defense; the players will get worn out. Strong is an incredibly capable defense coach, and I think he will get things figured out. Will the stolen Baylor offense be able to execute against the plodding, efficient OSU game plan this week? We will see.
5. Kansas State Wildcats
Never doubt The Wizard of Manhattan. The Wildcats have given up all of 33 points in three games. Granted, Stanford, FAU, and Missouri State are no Baylor or Texas Tech, but that’s still mighty impressive. With another defensive battle forthcoming against the Mountaineers, we’ll have to wait another week for the ‘Cats to face Tech to see how their defense holds against a top offense.
4. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners were off this week to recover from the drubbing they took at the hands of The Ohio State Buckeyes. Per ESPN’s Jake Trotter, "In four meetings as Big 12 opponents, the average margin of victory between Oklahoma and TCU is 3.8 points. No team has won by more than a touchdown, either." This game will be a must-watch.
3. TCU Horned Frogs
The Frogs let SMU hang around for a half, but they eventually out-talented (Is that a word? I’m making it a word.) the Ponies. I still have numerous questions about TCU, some of which should be answered against OU this weekend.
2. West Virginia Mountaineers
Hey, they are 3-0. Not entirely sure why they decided to play BYU, a West Coast(ish) team, in the Washington Football Team’s stadium, a stadium that is east of Morgantown. Anyway, the ‘Eers won a close game and have a victory over Mizzou as well. I think that makes them the first Big 12 team to have two Power 5 victories.
1. Baylor Bears
The first team in the conference to four victories and one of two teams still undefeated. That’s your Baylor Bears. I was impressed with the defense (save third downs...) but the fortitude the team showed in the Oklahoma State game probably impressed me even more. This team isn’t perfect, far from it, but if they play with the toughness they showed Saturday, they’ll be a team to watch out for. With a month of less-than-stellar football games ahead (sorry ISU and Kansas), this team should have plenty of time to prep for the Texas, OU, TCU gauntlet that awaits them in November.