What a weekend.
Teams 1, 3, and 4 in the Big 12 standings all suffered agonizing upsets this weekend. KU finally won a conference game. Up is down, left is right, and now...Baylor is at the top of the Big 12. Even with all that, the Big 12 standings did not actually change all that much from last week.
But standings are not power rankings, so lets take a look at how each team looks after nine weeks of action.
1. Baylor Bears
I was extremely tempted to put the Wildcats here. That whole “who have you beaten” thing takes on a new meaning when you knock off the Anointed Ones, but at the end of the day, there is one undefeated team remaining in the conference, and that team is the Baylor Bears. Yes, Baylor is likely still undefeated this week because they had one advantage the other teams around them did not — they had a bye week this week and were therefore incapable of losing a football game. So the Bears avoided the Weekend of Upsets, and thus get to claim the top spot in the power rankings (and Big 12 standings) this week. Next week the Bears welcome the Mountaineers to Waco, in what should be a good post-bye-week tune up game for Baylor.
2. Kansas State Wildcats
Yeah, that’s right. The Wildcats took this spot after beating Mississippi State in week three, but then fell all the way to the basement once conference play started. But here the are, back in the penultimate spot after an impressive victory over the Sooners in Manhattan. And it wasn’t a fluke either, the Wildcats lined up and beat the snot out of the Sooners for 48 minutes, and did enough at the end to hold off the furious Sooner comeback at the end of the game. This just proves how wildly fluid things are in college football. Next week the Wildcats travel to Lawrence, in what just became a much more interesting game. More on that later.
3. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners weren’t going to fall far. Not after so many teams below them also got beaten. Plus the Sooners are still the odds-on favorite to win the conference, and will very likely win out — unless Baylor is actually legit. It’s going to take a lot to push the Sooners out of contention, they still control their own fate for both the conference crown and a potential College Football Playoff berth. The Sooners get a bye week next, so the path to redemption starts in two weeks with a visit from the Cyclones, who will get the face the brunt of the Sooners post-loss wrath that’s been stewing for two weeks. Prayers to Cyclone nation.
4. TCU Horned Frogs
Oh yeah, I went there. The Longhorns and the Cyclones both fell this weekend, and the Horned Frogs were the team that beat the Longhorns and put a serious hole in the Horns Big 12 title hopes. The Frogs are still in rough shape regarding bowl hopes, but beating the Longhorns was a huge step in the right direction. Next week the Frogs head to Stillwater to take on a confusing Cowboys squad, who picked up their own huge win this weekend.
5. Texas Longhorns
Texas is still tied for third in the Big 12 standings, but things are starting to look very troubling in Austin. TCU showed that the problems Kansas exposed in the Longhorn defense are very real, and whether is scheme, injuries, or some combination, the Horns are having lots of trouble on defense right now. They fought back at the end of the loss to TCU, but like their Red River rivals, just didn’t quite have enough time or luck to complete the comeback. Texas has a week off before welcoming the Wildcats to Austin. UT fans better hope that defense gets figured out, or it could be another bad weekend in Austin.
6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
After two straight losses, and their best win a home game against the Wildcats that wasn’t all that impressive, the Cowboys were reeling. But after a road trip to Ames that resulted in a Cowboy victory, things are looking back up in Stillwater. This was supposed to be the last rough game for the Pokes before the road eased up a bit, but now the Cowboys could easily head into Bedlam looking for a 9th-overall win and poised for a big upset. Of course, TCU and KU now look more dangerous than they did a week ago, but the Cowboys likely won’t be looking past anyone on their schedule any more.
7. Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State’s two visits to the Top 25 have been extremely short lived. After reeling off three straight wins, the Cyclones had worked themselves back towards the top, giving them a real shot at the Big 12 title. But you can’t lose games at home to lower-ranked teams if you want to win the title, not when the conference looks so loaded. The Clones still sit in a tie with the Longhorns for 3rd in the Big 12 standings, but Iowa State needs to figure out if they are legit or not during the upcoming bye week. Because the Sooners are waiting in Norman, and if the Cyclones want another shot at the title they’re going to have to leave Oklahoma with a big upset.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers joined the Bears in taking the weekend off. So by virtue of not losing, they don’t get passed by either of the teams below them. The Bears and the ‘Eers square off this week in a Thursday night game in Waco, and it’s likely that WVU isn’t moving out of the bottom three this week.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
Even after winning their first conference game this season, I can’t push the Jayhawks up to ninth. That game was gifted to them by one of the dumbest things I’ve seen happen on a football field, and I’ve seen a lot of dumb things. And a win over a fellow bottom-dweller doesn’t move the needle much either, even if I’ve been impressed with some of the things that have been happening in Lubbock. Kansas is still very one-dimensional on offense, and still struggles against the run (which is not a strength of the Red Raiders), bu they are still going to be a problem. The Wildcats are visiting next weekend, and this win may give KU just enough momentum to make a game of it.
12. Texas Tech Red Raiders
LOL TECH WYD?????
But seriously, what a bizarre sequence to end that game. They blocked the kick, and all senior safety Douglas Coleman had to do was fall on the ball and give the Raiders a chance to finish the game in overtime. But he tried to make a play, then tried to make a pitch to a player that was never expecting it, and so fumbled the ball into better field position for a KU field goal. Tech may have a conference win, and may still be tied for 9th in the Big 12 standings, but for the sheer absurdity of how they lost that game — to KANSAS — they get the ignominy of the 12th-place ranking this week. Do better Red Raiders.