Well, that was an exhilarating weekend of football. The Top 25 saw roughly half of its teams lose, leading voter's ballots to spontaneously combust into a mess of flames and dumpster trash. I do not envy those who have to submit a ballot of 25 teams because right now, throwing a dart at a board would be a more accurate ranking than what anyone else could come up with. Thankfully, I only need to rank the Big 12 and the Top Ten, which itself is no small task. Let's get to it.
DISCLAIMER: I didn't get to see really any of these games because I was at the Texas game, but I did my research and feel confident in these rankings.
11. Big 12 Refs (NR)
If the Pac-12 refs did not exist, the motley crew of zebras that the Big 12 has tasked with referring its games would be the worst in the nation. Not only did they disallow two touchdowns in the UT-Baylor game (Shock and Swoop-ees, respectively), but they called numerous weak/imaginary penalties and were ridiculously confused the entire game. And then there's the refs at the Iowa State game... ISU's AD Jamie Pollard will probably receive a hefty fine for his statement, but I back him 100%. The Big 12 deserves better than these refs.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (+0)
Different coach, same story. The Jayhawks are awful.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (+0)
Tech went to Manhattan and got their butt whooped by the Snydercats. Four turnovers and lots of penalties is not how you win games, Coach Gosling, it's how you drop to the bottom of the Big 12.
8. Iowa St. Cyclones (-1)
The Cyclones covered the spread for the second week in a row, but they also gave up what might be the longest onside kick ever. The Cyclones would end up holding the Cowboys in a goal-line stand on the following drive from prime field position - wait, you say the Big 12 refs screwed over Iowa State again? You don't say!
Looks good to us. pic.twitter.com/7drgJMZ4il— Big 12 Refs (@Big12Refs) October 4, 2014
Iowa St. is a decent team, probably the best 1-4 team in the country, but they need to finish out games in order to move up the list.
7. Texas Longhorns (+1)
Coach Strong has put together one heck of a feisty defense. Then there's the offense... Under the pressure from Baylor's DL, Swoop-ees went full #YOLO mode and didn't do a terrible job, but he is clearly not an elite quarterback by any metrics. Special teams, which Texas supposedly had an advantage in, looked really poor as well. All credit to the Texas D, y'all got Petty all out of sorts, but Baylor's offense will put up 35* points. Texas has the defense to compete with the big boys, but they can't win without scoring points.
6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (+0)
The Cowpokes looked pedestrian against the Cyclones on Saturday. Sure, they came out with the win, but their quarterback play was a solid "meh" through much of the game. Tyreek Hill saved the team with an impressive kickoff return for a touchdown, which gave OSU a lead that the Cyclones couldn't overcome. This game was close through three quarters, but the 'Pokes better athletes ultimately wore down the 'Clones. Gundy and co are not a bad side, but I don't see them competing with the top tier of the Big 12.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers (+0)
West Virginia took care of business against Kansas. There really isn't much to say about that game. The 'Eers need to clean up their play to really compete with the next four teams on the list, but they certainly have the offense to scare some teams.
4. Kansas State Wildcats (-1)
The Snydercats continue to quietly dominate. I feel confident in putting them in the dark horse slot for the Big 12 title, though they do play OU, Baylor, and TCU all on the road.
3. Oklahoma Sooner (-2)
Oklahoma lost at TCU. Trevor Knight looked like the average quarterback he is as TCU's defense wreaked shop on OU's offense. Knight had some great plays, but he also had some awful ones and that isn't good enough to win against what might be the best defense in the country. OU did battle back after going down two scores to tie it up and could have won the game had the Hail Mary not been thrown way out of bounds. Oklahoma still has a very good chance at winning the Big 12 title, but it is, for the time being, no longer in their hands.
2. TCU Horned Frogs (+2)
Alright, TCU, your offense is legit. I'm convinced. We knew the defense would be dominant, but putting up 37 on Oklahoma is downright impressive. There is also a legitimate argument for putting TCU above Baylor right now, but I will hold off doing that and let Saturday dictate who is the best in the conference and in Texas. Saturday is going to be one heck of a game.
1. Baylor Bears (+0)
The Bears looked horrible on offense and still put up 35* points on the third best defense in the conference. Petty was off all day, but the running game was able to pick up the slack pound out a victory over the Horns. The defense was the real story though. Sure, Texas doesn't have much of an offense, but Gang Green took Swoop-ees and his offense behind the woodshed for a good ol' fashioned whoopin'. Were it not for a patently made-up PI call, the boys would have held Texas to their first shutout at home in about 50 years.
The Final Four and the Top Ten
Final Four Right Now:
1. Auburn Tigers - The Tigers have a very impressive, if lucky, win at Kansas State and stomped a poor LSU team and a feisty Arkansas team. They're the front-runners right now for the SEC West title.
2. Mississippi State Bulldogs - CLANGA hasn't played the toughest schedule and the opponents from their signature against LSU and A&M aren't as impressive as one might have expected, but the Bulldogs have looked really good in their five wins.
3. Baylor Bears - The class of the Big 12 gets their spot in the playoffs.
4. TCU Horned Frogs - You could easily put Ole Miss here as well. Both teams have dominated relatively weak competition and have a signature win against a big-time opponent. TCU's win over OU is a tad more impressive than Ole Miss' win over Bama because OU is a better team than Bama.
Final Four at the End of the Season:
1. Auburn Tigers - Whoever wins the SEC West is going to be the number one pick here. I have no idea if that team deserves to be number one, but that's how the national media is going to rank 'em.
2. Baylor Bears - The winner of the Big 12 should end up in the top two and right now, Baylor is in the leader's slot.
3. Florida State - Ew. Unless ND beats them, I don't see the Seminoles losing. Put ND in here if they win next week.
4. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - Oklahoma, TCU, Miss State, Ole Miss, Bammer, Michigan State, and Arizona all have valid claims for the fourth spot right now. If I had to guess, I'd say the second-place team in the SEC West gets the spot because sEcSPN wouldn't have it any other way.
Oh boy, did we see some shake-ups in the Top 10 this week. Oregon, OU, Bama, A&M, and UCLA all lost while Notre Dame and Michigan State nearly lost to teams in the teens.
1. Auburn Tigers - Not much to say here.
2. Mississippi State - CLANGA has looked really good.
3. Baylor Bears - Yeah, we're best in Texas and the Big 12 and we deserve this ranking.
4. TCU Horned Frogs - If you put Ole Miss and TCU in an arena and had them play a game right now, I'd take TCU.
5. Ole Miss Rebels - Dr. Bo and co. spent a month preparing for Bama and it showed. Props to you, Ole Miss.
6. Notre Dame - I guess they'll go here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
7. Oklahoma Sooners - I think this team is better than Bama, so they stay top 10.
8. Alabama Crimson Tide - Despite the loss, Bama is still very much in the race for the SEC West.
9. Arizona Wildcats - Not entirely convinced they belong here, especially since they barely beat UTSA. But winning at Oregon is huge and I'll give the 'Cats.
10. Oregon Ducks - This one is kind of a toss-up between UO and MSU, but Oregon won the head-to-head, so they get the nod.
Thoughts? Am I crazy? Am I spot on? Post 'em in the comments below!