After a weekend that saw the Big 12 take a collective step forward on the national scene, despite Kansas, another huge showcase is in store for Thursday, if you haven't already heard once or 15 times by now ...
1. Oklahoma Sooners (3-0) - The Sooners lost Keith Ford late in the Tennessee win, and he'll be out for a while. Despite that loss and Joe Mixon gone, OU still has plenty of offensive firepower, and I know I keep saying this, but that defense ... It held the Volunteers to 313 total yards and forced three turnovers, and it's giving up 11 points per game so far this year.
2. Baylor Bears (3-0) - You know things are going well when people have to dig into the second half of a 63-21 win to find fault with the defense. Bryce Petty looked fine, and it's making me reconsider everything I thought I knew about back injuries. I hear "broken bones in back," and I don't think starting a game 9-of-9 for 197 yards to go with two carries for 11 yards, but that's what Petty did. Also, there's no way to confirm the Washington Redskins were inquiring about wanting to trade in their current Baylor QB model for this one.
3. Kansas State Wildcats (2-0, 1-0) - Can we just play the darn thing already? Lots of build up for this one, and deservedly so, but let's get with it after what will be a week-plus of conversation. Auburn swears it is taking this game seriously. K-State conceivably could jump 3, 5 or even 10 spots in the polls if it were to handle a Top 5 team in convincing fashion on a big stage.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-1) - Talk about being your own worst critic ... OSU head coach Mike Gundy told reporters "We are a very average football team, I think everybody is aware of that." That's after his team broke into the Top 25 rankings for the first time this season following a 43-13 win against UTSA - a game many predicted would be much tighter. Gundy has a bye week to improve his guys before hosting Texas Tech a week from Thursday.
5. TCU Horned Frogs (2-0) - TCU did the Big 12 a solid last weekend in throttling Minnesota. It helped improve national respect for the league, and it was a statement game of sorts for the purple defense, which held Minnesota's leading rushers to 41 and 33 yards, respectively. It was another good, self-affirming step for a program trying to regain its form after last year's listless malaise.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1) - Don't ask me what WVU's crazy win against Maryland means for the rest of the season. I have no idea, but it was fun to watch. I questioned Clint Trickett's sample size last week, and the guy went 37-of-49 for 511 yards and 4 TD against the Terps. Is Maryland that great? No. Still, where I called out Towson's competitive level, Maryland was certainly a step up, and Trickett got the job done again.
7. Texas Longhorns (1-2) - The coin toss? Really, Texas? You're about one more funny thing happening from being thrown in the LOL bin for the rest of this season. Still, on the surface, the Longhorns were competitive against a highly ranked UCLA bunch. That's the good news. The bad news is the Bruins had a backup QB controlling an already suspect offense on the road, and UCLA likely won't be anywhere near No. 12 by the end of the season unless the rest of the Pac-12 lays down and dies.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-1) - It might be worse than we thought. I've danced around calling Kliff's Krew fraudulent this year, but Arkansas dumped a whole truckload of pig sooie on the Red Raiders' ride, Back to the Future style. The Razorbacks tallied 438 rushing yards and won back-to-back games for the first time in a year. This doesn't seem to bode well for Kliff.
9. Iowa St. Cyclones (1-2, 0-1) - Did you watch the CyHawk game? If so, feel free to tell me how ISU did what it did in winning that game. Moving forward, two more major injuries came out of the contest, which will temper some of the win's positive vibe in a season where those vibes will likely be few and far between.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (1-1) - Recap from Duke: punt, INT, punt, FG, punt, INT, punt, punt, missed FG, punt, punt, punt, downs, downs. And now for the bad news: KU has been outscored 69-13 in its last 6 quarters -- against Southeast Missouri St. and Duke. Blue Devils freshman running back Shaun Wilson set a school record with 245 rushing yards, and in the third quarter, the Jayhawks ran 14 plays for 35 yards in three drives. Yikes.