Big 12 football is in full swing. We’ve seen Kansas nearly take down TCU and get pummeled by Baylor, Iowa State nearly take down Baylor and get pummeled by Baylor, and Texas return and fall and fall and return. Kansas State and West Virginia played a one-point game and Tech has put up a million points and 17 points in games. We saw Oklahoma get worked in the OOC schedule. Yet, despite all this chaos, we are seeing some differentiation now. Baylor, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are undefeated in conference play and are in the driver’s seat for the Big 12 title. TCU and Oklahoma State have just one loss in conference and could surprise some people. Iowa State has been eliminated from bowl contention, and Kansas is nearly there. How do we rank this wild group of teams? Well, start with Kansas and move up the ladder.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
A week after a thrilling game against TCU in Lawrence, which Kansas really should have won, the Jayhawks came down to Waco to face the Bears. Perhaps it was a hangover from last week’s emotional game, but Kansas was never in this game. Coach Beaty is doing some good things and I think he’ll improve Kansas eventually, however, 2016 is just not their year.
9. Iowa St. Cyclones
Iowa State finally let Texas score on them after pitching a shutout against the Longhorns last year. This game was actually 6-3 in favor of Iowa State at halftime, which, as we all know, meant bad news for Charlie Strong, who has never won a game at Texas in which he has trailed at halftime. Unfortunately for ISU, their fourth quarter woes spilled over into the third quarter this time and Texas was able to pitch a 24-0 second half to win by three scores. There’s always next year, ‘Clones.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised that Tech was held to 17 points in Lubbock. Due to Homecoming activities, I could not watch this game, so I cannot say definitively what occurred. However, I can look at the box score and see that WVU put up 650 yards and 28 first downs en route to 48 points on Tech, so I’d imagine that Tech’s defense was, well, Tech’s defense. It seems the combination of Mahomes being hurt and the Mountaineers having the 17th-best pass defense (per S&P+) caused Tech’s offense to stagnate. With the much of top tier of the Big 12 still left on the schedule, the Red Raiders may be in danger of missing a bowl game.
7. Texas Longhorns
Texas is back! To 0.500... The Horns handled Iowa State. There’s not much else to say other than have fun with an away game in Manhattan followed by a game against the Bears.
6. Kansas State Wildcats
I kind of expected Kansas State to keep this game closer than they did, honestly. If there is a team in the Big 12 that can shut down OU’s rushing game, I thought it would have been K-State. And they sort of did that, only allowing 138 yards on the ground. Oklahoma put up 372 yards through the air though, with Dede Westbrook earning three touchdowns and 184 yards receiving. The Wildcats just couldn’t keep up with Oklahoma.
5. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Pokes didn’t play this week, nor did TCU, but I think TCU has a slight edge over them, so that’s why the Pokes get fifth place.
4. TCU Horned Frogs
3. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners put on an impressive display against the Wildcats at the weekend. Dede Westbrook is phenomenal and will give every team in the conference trouble. The defense is still a bit suspect, however, and if OU can’t get stops, they may find themselves in some high-scoring shoot-outs. The defense will get a good test against Texas Tech in Lubbock this weekend (if Tech is healthy), then the Sooners get Iowa State and Kansas before facing a gauntlet of Baylor, WVU, and OSU to close the season.
2. West Virginia Mountaineers
People have been sleeping on the Mountaineers all year and I think holding Tech to 17 points in causing people to wake up. The defense has given up a maximum of 32 points in a game this year and has held the opponent to under 21 points in the other four games. With TCU coming to Morgantown this weekend, we should get a nice preview of how the Mountaineers will approach Oklahoma and Baylor at the end of the season. For now, West Virginia is sitting pretty with a big ‘ol zero in the loss column.
1. Baylor Bears
The offense put up 42 points in a half and yet, didn’t play perfectly. The defense held Kansas to seven points and continued their fourth-quarter shutout streak. We know the problems Baylor has, but it was good to see them put a game away before halftime. Rest up, get healthy, and prepare to Hex Tex.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide - They aren’t fair.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes / Michigan Wolverines - The Big Game this year is going to be INSANE.
3. Clemson Tigers - Sure, I’ll stick them here.
4. Washington Huskies / Texas A&M Aggies - They’re both pretty good.