The Big 12 Conference, where half the league resides in the Top 25 this week, has become the Land of All Three Phases.
Offense: Five teams are in the Top 25 in total offense.
Defense: Four teams are ranked in the Top 24 in total yards, including three in the top 18.
Special Teams: Tyler Lockett.
Really, there isn't anything this glorious Conference of ours can't do.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0, 1-0) -- The Sooners had a week off to sit back and watch the messy week that was college football unfold around them. While Jameis Winston was getting yelled at by Jimbo Fisher, Brady Hoke was failing basic humanity as the Michigan Wolverines head coach; and the Texas A&M Aggies were derping along against Arkansas, OU rested up for what has reasonable potential to be a dogfight against newly-ranked TCU.
2. Baylor Bears (4-0, 1-0) -- Art Briles' offense is ranked first in the nation in points per game (56.8), while Phil Bennett's defense is ranked eighth in points against (13.8). The only reason Baylor isn't among the nation's top five at this point is a missing marquee win. That chance comes later in the year and might get multiplied in importance as other top teams fall along the way.
3. Kansas State Wildcats (3-1, 1-0) -- Most figured UTEP wouldn't be a challenge, but to watch what the Wildcats defense did in the first half to the Miners was witnessing a crime. UTEP had the ball for nearly 16 minutes in the first half, and it amassed 30 (yes, 30) yards of offense. Danzel McDaniel and Travis Green are quickly forming one of the most fearsome secondary duos in the Big 12 for sure and maybe the country with their penchant for crushing hits.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-1, 1-0) -- I've been on the OSU train since the first week's showing against Florida State, but it's a little nuts to see just how much love this team has gotten in the AP Poll the last few weeks without having really done anything spectacular. (No, beating Texas Tech by 10 is not spectacular.) If that voting trend continues, look for OSU to rocket over the next four weeks if it handles business against the likes of: Iowa State, Kansas, TCU and West Virginia.
5. TCU Horned Frogs (3-0) -- The benefactor of a quiet early slate that saw only three games in five weeks against milquetoast opponents, TCU won over enough votes to edge into the national conscious. The next two weeks, however, are like jumping from driver's ed. to sitting pole for the Indianapolis 500 as the Frogs get Oklahoma and then Baylor. We've been teased that TCU's defense -- ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense (218.7 ypg) -- is back to its high-caliber self. Here's the first real chance to prove it with the Sooners coming to town.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1) -- Little did ya know for you: At. 551.5 ypg, the Mountaineers have the second-best total yards offense in the Big 12 behind Baylor and are 11th in the country; and, that's after playing Alabama and Oklahoma. Kansas might be able to move the ball a little against a suspect WVU defense, but it won't be nearly enough to hang over the long haul. The couches may as well set themselves on fire now just to get it over with.
7. Texas Longhorns (2-2, 1-0) -- Some coach (or SID) voted for the Longhorns for the Top 25 this week after the Longhorns shut out a team that fired its head coach less than 24 hours later. God, I hate polls sometimes. The Longhorns weren't any better than they were prior to beating Kansas; and, what Baylor is about to do in Austin on Saturday night should come with an R-rating.
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-2, 0-1) -- Ol' Kliffy was frustrated following the Red Raiders following the team's 45-35 loss to Oklahoma St., saying TTU shot itself in the foot. If this team is limping following two losses to Arkansas and OSU, it'll be interesting to see what kind of strut this group takes to Manhattan on Saturday against a stout K-State defense.
9. Iowa St. Cyclones (1-3, 0-2) -- The Cyclones should be competitive against Toledo ... the only problem with that is that the game doesn't happen until after this week's contest in Stillwater. We're at that point of the year where you look up and see things like 1-4, which starts to illustrate another season gone awry. This team is barreling toward the fifth-straight season of sub-.500 football under Paul Rhoads, whose best year was 7-6 in his first campaign in 2009. ISU likely has to beat Toledo and KU to match last year's 3-9 mark.
12. Kansas Jayhawks (2-2, 0-1) -- While their newest former coach figures out how he's going to spend $4.6 million next year - the amount Notre Dame and KU will pay Charlie Weis NOT to coach in 2015 - KU has to hit the road to Morgantown, where West Virginia was more than a little competitive against the Sooners. The woodshed awaits.