Oh, Big 12 Conference play, you tricky devil. You almost tripped up one of the league's nationally ranked teams, but it was just a scare, and those Bears and Sooners again proved they could and probably should be a player on the national scene by season's end.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) -- We mentioned how good the defense might be this year, and the Sooners backed up that point by allowing 95 yards, including nine yards rushing on 14 carries, to Tulsa in the first half last Saturday. Mix that in with Trevor Knight's growing confidence and Sterling Shepard 's emergence at wideout, and things appear quite healthy in Norman. Now, the nation will watch OU represent the Big 12 against SEC Tennessee.
2. Baylor Bears (2-0) -- Dinged up starting QB & WRs? No problem. Backup QB Seth Russell had 438 yards and 5 TDs in two quarters against FCS Northwestern St. -- a nice treat for his SIDs who won't have to dream up creative ways to say Russell contributed to the team's success this year. We know the Waco talent riches are layers deep at this point, and Saturday was a great chance for some of those guys to build their bios. Interesting: the opponents aren't great, but Baylor plays four of its next five on the road (@Buffalo, @Iowa St., @Texas, TCU, @West Virginia).
3. Kansas State Wildcats (2-0, 1-0) -- Penalties, uncharacteristic poor tackling and missed assignments, and silly red zone play-calling -- K-State did it all during one of the worst 15-minute stretches you'll see in all of college football this season. Fortunately, the freakout ended with enough time left in the game for KSU to recover. Senior quarterback Jake Waters flooded the stat sheet, and KSU got a conference road game gut-check win that should never have been close. Plenty to work on before Auburn comes to Manhattan a week from Thursday.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-1) -- OSU cruised past Missouri St. and did it despite losing J.W. Walsh, who wore a boot and leaned on crutches after leaving in the first quarter. Daxx Garman has a cannon arm, but next to zero experience. Interesting couple of weeks coming up with that dynamic in play, even if OSU won't have serious trouble with UTSA.
5. TCU Horned Frogs (1-0) -- The Frogs were idle this week -- the last time they'll have a week off until mid-November. They get to move up in the rankings this week because Bevo bit it hard against BYU. First road test of the season against SMU this week.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (1-1) -- You want to say things like, "Man, Clint Trickett was AWESOME!", but when a guy who completed 52.8 percent of his passes last year goes 35-of-40, it's hard to put full trust in the small sample size against an inferior opponent. In other words: WVU's practices are more competitive than Towson was, and it is on to Maryland.
7. Texas Longhorns (1-1) -- If you signed up for Charlie Strong cleaning up the program's culture, then you just have to sit quiet for now as the roster has been gutted by suspensions and injuries so much that the Longhorns appear to have hit a competitive breaking point. Still, was it supposed to hurt this bad? Strong used "embarrassing" so much afterward I thought he was referencing a new formation. Charlie's offense was "Ground Chuck" and managed a dismal 249 total yards. Wouldn't you love to have access to Texas donors' weekend text and email histories about now?
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0) -- The Red Raiders can make a strong case for most unconvincing 2-0 major D-I team in the country. Following a scare from Central Arkansas, Kliff Kingsbury's guys had to survive UTEP, which held the ball for 39 minutes -- 18 minutes longer that TTU -- and had 23 first downs. Yeah, the team is undefeated, but it feels about as good as when the tubby guy leans on you in a pickup basketball game and leaves the slug slime trail on your arm.
9. Iowa St. Cyclones (0-2, 0-1) -- The Cyclones put up a heck of a fight after falling behind 13-0 early to K-State. Once KSU kicked it back into gear, however, ISU couldn't come up with key plays it needed to complete the upset bid, which is just kind of how it goes with subpar teams. If Cy can find a way to be a little more consistent, maybe things won't turn out as dire as it appeared they would through the season's first five quarters.
10. Kansas Jayhawks 1-0) -- By no means will the unit be mistaken for potent anytime soon, but Montell Cozart and the rest of the KU offense had enough success at least to be considered reasonable for a week. The defense tried to give away what might be one of only two or three wins this season, but KU survived and has the early lead in the Ohio Valley Conference.