Big 12 action is underway! All things considered, the games went about as expected across the board; K-State and TCU rolled over weak opponents, Texas beat Kansas, and the Xerox schools got weird on Thursday night. So, how did this past weekend affect the rankings? Let's take a look.
-∞ Kansas Jayhawks (+0)
Kansas are awful. Using "awful" to describe them is an insult to the word "awful". We'll see how Kansas does now that they've fired the man they never should have hired, but his first game will be against the Mountaineers in Morgantown. If the sorry excuse for an offense that Texas puts on the field can get 23 on the 'Hawks, the 'Eers might just break the scoreboard. There's not much else to say about this team.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (-1)
I considered putting Texas here, but I think the Horns are a tiny bit better than Tech. That being said, I would not be surprised to see the Bros pull out a victory in Lubbock on November 1st. Now, about that game Thursday...
It was ugly. Just ugly all around. Neither team really dominated, but it also never appeared that Okie State would lose. Tech might have a pretty decent offense, but they have no defense to speak of. Coach Gosling may be the cool cat in town, but he needs to learn how to put a defense on the field if the Techsters want to be a legitimate threat in the Big 12.
8. Texas Longhorns (-1)
Texas went to Kansas and won. That's not surprising. But, and this is a big but, they looked a solid "meh" the entire game. Naturally, Coach Strong's defense is impressive, but their offense can't seem to put up anything of substance; they needed four interceptions to put up 23. Yes, they are decimated at OL and their QB is out, but this is supposed to be the flagship program in the state of Texas. Strong looks to be content with forfeiting this season in favor of installing "his way" for the future. Will it work? That remains to be seen. For now, the Longhorns are easily outside of contention for the Big 12 crown. With Baylor coming to town next week, things will get worse before they get better.
7. Iowa St. Cyclones (+2)
Yup. I'm putting the Cyclones ahead of two teams from Texas. Sure, the 'Clones couldn't compete with the talent and speed of Baylor, but they did put up a very good fight against Kansas State. I'm not saying that Iowa State will be making waves in the Big 12 just yet, but they have the capability to pull off the upset, especially if Sam Richardson keeps playing as well as he has. It may be controversial, but I'd put him as the fourth or fifth starting quarterback in the league after Petty, Knight, Trickett, and maybe Waters.
6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (+0)
The 6-4 spots really could be in any order right now, to be honest, but I'm placing Oklahoma State sixth because of their performance against Tech. Gundy's boys looked as sloppy as Tech's uniforms in the ten point victory. OSU is doing better than many expected this season, but don't look good enough to be in that top tier.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers (-1)
The 'Eers didn't play this week, but they have looked good in games against Bama and OU. As Shehan said on Twitter, this team would be ranked if they played OU later in the season.
4. TCU Horned Frogs (+1)
The Froggies took the Iron Skillet and smacked SMU upside the head with it. Patterson's team boasts, once again, one of the best defenses in the country, but I'm still not convinced that the offense will be able to hold up against better defenses. That being said, the turn around on that side of the ball is certainly real, so props to Coach Patterson for effecting that change. The Frogs host the Sooners this upcoming weekend in a game that should be a good barometer of where both teams stand.
3. Kansas State Wildcats (+0)
The Snydercats took care of business against a feisty UTEP team that took Tech to the wire a few weeks ago. The Cats are in a tier of their own, in my opinion. Not as good as Baylor and OU, but better than TCU/WVU/OSU. ISU, Texas, and Tech make up the fourth tier and then there's Kansas.
1b. Oklahoma Sooners (+0)
The Sooners really took it to BYE this week. They've been impressive all year and are deservedly ranked above Baylor in the polls based on who they've played, but neither team has shown a reason yet to be ranked beneath the other in terms of these rankings. I guess, in a way, I'm comparing hypothetical match-ups in this feature and I still think Baylor-OU is a toss-up. If OU goes to TCU and blows them out, then I can't really keep them out of that top spot, but I might keep it tied anyway because I'm a homer and this is a Baylor blog.
1a. Baylor Bears (+0)
Four after four. Baylor went on the road to Jack Trice in a night game and came out unscathed. Sure, the second half was a bit sloppy, but it was garbage time and everyone knew it. Had Baylor kept it's foot on the gas, I have no doubt we could have put up 60. Kicking and cornerback play could potentially be a problem as Baylor gets into the meat of their schedule, but there isn't an offense in the Big 12 that can keep up with Bryce Petty and his "toys". The defensive line is utterly dominating and will be a handful for every team it lines up against. Swoopes best watch out this weekend; Baylor doesn't take too kindly to a team that talks smack about them. For now, Baylor and Oklahoma are the best in the league.
New Feature: Final Four and Top Ten!
Everyone else is doing them, so why shouldn't I? Here's how it'll go. The first set of four is the four that would make the playoffs right now and the next set of four if my prediction for the end of the season, which will be the teams I think are most likely to make the playoffs, but not necessarily the most deserving (looking at you, Florida State).
1. Oklahoma Sooners - The Sooners have looked as good as or better than any team in the country.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide- The Tide struggled early with a good West Virginia outfit, but they've torn through everyone else on their schedule. Granted, FAU, Southern Miss, and UF are nowhere near challenging, but the Tide have rolled. It's not about who you play, but how you've played.
3. Baylor Bears - See the last sentence. Baylor has crushed their opponents into the ground.
4. Auburn Tigers - They didn't deserve a win at Kansas State, but they won. War Eagle also took it to a tough Arkansas team. No reason to not put them in.
End of the Season:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide - Barring an upset, the Tide should win the SEC West. No one from the SEC East will provide a challenge in the SEC title game and to the victor of the SEC goes a playoff spot.
2. Florida State Seminoles - They do not deserve this, but no one on their schedule is good enough to beat them. Expect whomever they play to run over FSU.
3. Baylor Bears - Yup. We beat Oklahoma, win the Big 12, and get FSU in the Rose Bowl.
4. Michigan State Spartans - It's a bit of a bold pick, but hear me out. Oregon does not look good enough to finish out the season undefeated; they'll likely slip up against Stanford. The SEC West could easily have another team in the Final Four, but I don't think there is a team outside of Bama good enough to make it through the schedule without two losses. A two-loss team might make the playoffs over a one-loss MSU, but I'm not sure they should.
1. Oklahoma Sooners
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Oregon Ducks
4. Auburn Tigers
5. Baylor Bears
6. Florida State Seminoles
7. Texas A&M Aggies
8. Michigan State Spartans
9. UCLA Bruins
10. Mississippi State Bulldogs