This past weekend gave us plenty of insight into the teams in the Big 12. No team, save one, really damaged their chances either. A weekend without much chaos is the Big 12, surprisingly.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (+0)
Their defense isn't terrible and Cummings made a few nice throws. That's about all there is to say about Kansas. Basketball is coming.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (+0)
We know all about their defense, but now their offense is falling apart. Freshman Patrick Mahomes was playing decently well despite being thrust into the starting roll. Then this happened:
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According to the talking heads, that's a clean hit even though it is a clear head-to-head hit. Either way, Mahomes had to leave the game and in all likelihood had a wicked concussion after the hit. Enter Vincent Testaverde. Yes, son of that Testaverde. The poor kid really didn't have much of a chance and Tech limped to the end of the game in Lubbock. Having already played Kansas, Gosling and co. might not win another game this year.
Quandre Diggs remains an unlikable player:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Quandre Diggs, did you feel bad for Mahomes? "Nah, he signed up to play football. Sometimes that happens."</p>— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) <a href="https://twitter.com/mikefinger/status/528751755337949184">November 2, 2014</a></blockquote>
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8. Iowa St Cyclones (+0)
The Clones never had a chance in this game against Oklahoma. They really didn't have a chance when Oklahoma put on a near-record offensive performance of over 750 yards. Chin up, Cyclones, you get Kansas next week.
7. Oklahoma State Cowboys (-1)
I know they lost J.W. Walsh, but how on earth did this team hang with Florida State?! Bill Snyder's team did what they do and slowly but surely suffocated the life out of the Pokes. Gundy's team is in free-fall and it is only going to get worse.
6. Texas Longhorns (+1)
The Longhorns looked decently competent in their game against Tech. On the one hand, they limited an Air Raid team to just 14 points, which is always impressive. On the other, their offense only put up 34 on a Tech run D that is as sound as Manchester United's back four were yesterday against City. The Stronghorns have talent enough to compete with the big boys for a little while, but they simply aren't there yet, especially on offense. I don't think they can beat TCU at home, though they do possess a salty enough defense to give the Frogs fits.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers (-1)
Play not to lose and you will lose. Well, that, and commit five turnovers. A sloppy game in Morgantown (with, surprise, questionable officiating!) did not stop the West Virginia offense from picking apart the Frog D, even though their big play maker, Kevin White, was shut down by TCU's big play corner, Kevin White, for the majority of the game. The 'Eers are fully capable of beating the top teams in the league and in the nation, though not by committing five turnnovers and pulling a TCU in the fourth quarter. They also lost to Oklahoma, so they drop below them now that the teams have the same number of conference losses.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (+1)
Apparently, Sugar Bowl Trevor Knight came to play in Ames on Saturday. "Good, he got it out of his system." said Fank when alerted to the news. Ditto to that. The Sooners put up a gaudy 518 yards rushing against a meager Iowa State defense while Knight threw for three TDs and added another trio of rushing TDs in a truly dual-threat performance (146 rushing, 230 passing). The biggest story of the game was not that OU ran all over ISU, rather than the Sooners top offensive weapon (by far, for that matter), Sterling Shepard, suffered an apparent groin injury. According to CCM, Shepard might could have come back into the game Saturday, but Stoops wisely chose to rest his star in a game that was already essentially over. This injury will be a key talking point over the next week. If Shepard is out for Baylor, the Okies do not really have any receiver capable of putting up numbers like him and will be forced to rush the ball, which works in Baylor's favor. Dual-threat QBs have given Baylor's defense fits in the past, so it will be interesting to see if Sugar Bowl Knight can return against Baylor.
3. Baylor Bears (+0)
Baylor had one three and out to start the game and then rattled off 12 straight scoring drives. A couple of those drives started with very good field position and only resulted in field goals, which was disappointing. Petty looked off again to start as he focused solely on getting the ball to Goodley. Once Petty started spreading the ball around, the offense began to look like the early 2013 offense: unstoppable. Towards the end of the game, we FINALLY got to see some slant routes, which largely worked well. I know Kansas was stacking the box with at least seven players almost every down, but those slant routes are usually easy ways to pick up five yards and I fimly believe Baylor needs more of them in their offense. Also TE screens in short yardage situations. The running game was phenomenal. Having Chafin healthy again has done wonders for our ground game. I'm not entirely sure why he, as our big back, isn't in on short yardage plays more often, but we still got the yardage needed so I cannot complain too much. Chris Callahan has made ten straight field goals now despite doinking an extra point. He is, perhaps, the most improved player on the team from season's start.
The defense was ridiculous. Kansas could get absolutely nothing going on the ground and their lone big plays came from either a trick play or an incredible throw from Cummings. Didn't get the shutout, but I like what I saw. Penalties were soooooooooooooo much better this go-round too. Baylor was only penalized six times for 54 yards, though two of those penalties were utterly terrible pass interference calls. Be this disciplined against OU and the Bears will be in good shape.
All in all, Baylor did exactly what they needed to do in a game that was never in doubt. Bring this type of game to Norman on Saturday and the Bears will come out with a W.
2. Kansas State Wildcats (-1)
Syndercats did their thing against Oklahoma State. I think Kansas State will beat TCU next weekend, but I can't put them over TCU in the rankings based on their schedules to this point. Still, their only loss right now is to a very good Auburn in a game K-State really should have won. Saturday is huge.
1. TCU Horned Frogs (+1)
Big 12 Tiers:
I - TCU, KSU, BU
II - OU, WVU - Tier II is not that far behind Tier I
III - UT
IV - OSU, TTU, ISU
V - KU
The Final Four and the Top Ten:
Final Four Right Now:
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs - The 'Dogs looked very vulnerable against a stingy Arkansas defense in a game Arky probably should have won. Still, they've undefeated.
2. Oregon Ducks - The Ducks finally get the Stanford win they've been craving.
3. Auburn Tigers - They hung on to beat Ole Miss on a play that if you saw it, you immediately regretted it. Don't go look it up. Tigers get a bye week next week with aggy coming to town.
4. TCU Horned Frogs - Blech. Baylor beat them.
Final Four at the End of the Season:
1. SEC West winner - There's no way the West winner loses to the East winner because the SEC East is worse than the B1G right now. I'm putting Bammer in here right now because they get Miss State and Auburn at home. I am not confident in this pick.
2. Baylor - Baylor runs the table and wins the Big 12. Even if TCU also goes 11-1, there is absolutely, positively, 100 percent no way the committee ignores the fact that Baylor beat TCU head-to-head. Right? Regardless, they surely cannot keep out a one-loss Big 12 champion.
3. Oregon - The Ducks look good right now. A Pac-12 Championship Game could see them falling out of the playoff picture though.
4. Florida State - Enough people will lose that the undeserving Seminoles get put back in here.
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs
2. Oregon Ducks
3. Auburn Tigers
4. TCU Horned Frogs
5. Kansas State Wildcats - The national media is, I think, way underrating this team.
7. Florida State Seminoles - I am not a fan, can you tell? Louisville, like Clemson, should have beat them.
8. Michigan State Spartans - They don't really have any good wins, though they are still a very solid team.
9. Baylor Bears
10. Arizona State Sun Devils - Notre Dame barely escaped Navy, Ohio State lost to VT, and Ole Miss has two losses. Welcome to the top ten, ASU!