Editors note: Sometimes copy and paste bites you in the rear.
TCU’s win this weekend solidified their place atop this week’s rankings. And with the schedule they’ve got left, it’s their spot to lose. But as always, it’s the Big 12, and we’re pretty good at cannibalizing our own.
Overall, our top five remains cohesive this week, just with some places swapped. Except for Cincinnati, who just really loves that #5 spot. Texas has become the leader of the second tier — a group Oklahoma would really like to join this week. BYU has really fallen on hard times this season, and KU is making their way down after a strong start to the season.
Really the only question now is why have we still not invited Tulane to join the Big 12??
The Horned Frogs remain the unquestioned number one team after storming back to topple K-State on Saturday. Of course, they spotted K-State a lead that was once 28-10 before reeling off 28 unanswered to win 38-28. But good teams rally, and the Horned Frogs did just that. At this point, the Frogs are playing like a team that has playoff aspirations, but without the “name” of Oklahoma or Texas, they’ll need to stay unbeaten to keep that dream alive. Next up, they’ll need to avoid the trap game in Morgantown, as they head north and east to face the Mountaineers.
(11:00am CT, ESPN)
2. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys moved back up to number two this week thanks to K-State’s loss and their own come-from-behind win over Texas in Stillwater this past weekend. The Pokes did take an early 10-7, but then the Longhorns pulled ahead 21-10 before the Pokes woke back up. But like K-State, Texas did pretty much all their scoring in the first half, nabbing just a field goal in the third quarter to push their lead back to 10 at 34-24. It was all Pokes from there, as they rattled off 17 unanswered to take the 41-34 victory. The Cowboys have their third-straight ranked foe this week as they head north to Manhattan to face K-State in the Battle for Second Place.
The Green Wave are still on a roll, now running their win streak to four games after their own 38-28 win. Though they did it in reverse fashion to TCU, putting up 35 unanswered to open the game, then giving 28 points in the second half with just a field goal in the 4th as an answer. But in the end, it was enough, and the Green Wave sit atop the American conference at 4-0 in conference and 6-1 overall. They likely won’t be alone for long, as they take a week off this week while fellow American unbeaten Cincinnati gets a chance to catch back up.
4. Kansas State
When completely healthy, the Wildcats might be the best team in the conference. But even in the face of mounting injuries, the Wildcats still hung with another really good team and nearly pulled things out in Fort Worth. But it wasn’t meant to be, and the Cats limp home to Manhattan with their first loss in Big 12 play. But not all is lost, as there are still plenty of games left and second place (and a spot in the Big 12 CCG) is still very much available. And this weekend may well decide that with fellow number two team Oklahoma State in town for Homecoming.
(2:30pm CT, FOX)
The Bearcats have now reeled off six straight wins after their season-opening loss to Arkansas in Fayetteville. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but Cincy held off a late charge from SMU to hang on to a 29-27 victory to remain unbeaten in American play. The Bearcats actually struggled on offense, but a school record five field goal makes was enough to make the difference for the visitors. Cincy stays on the road this week, and will head down to Florida to face a UCF team that is much better in Florida than it is outside Florida.
(2:30pm CT, ESPN)
The Longhorns are currently leading the second tier of teams in the Big 12. They aren’t quite good enough right now to contend for a spot in the conference championship game, but they are good enough to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. But they weren’t supposed to beat the Cowboys on Saturday, despite holding a lead for a decent chunk of the game. But they’ll have a chance to think about things this week as they take their bye week, and they’ll need the break with a trip to Manhattan and a visit from TCU coming up in consecutive weeks.
7. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders have struggled away from Lubbock this season, but at home they are world beaters. Well, that’s hyperbole, but they are winless away from home and undefeated out in west Texas. And they romped after their week off, pummeling West Virginia 48-10 in a game that wasn’t even really that close. Tech is a good team, and will win a few more games this season (heck, with three more home games they should get to at least seven wins). They’ll put their home winning streak on the line this weekend as Baylor visits for a prime-time game.
(6:30pm CT, ESPN2)
The Bears ended their losing streak with a solid win over KU in Waco this past weekend, despite Blake Shapen throwing two interceptions and the defense giving up 20 points after halftime to let the Jayhawks back in the game. But a win is a win, and the Bears got back to .500 in conference play. But that’s not likely to last long, as they make the trip out to west Texas this week to the stronghold of the Red Raiders.
Just a few weeks ago I had written off Houston. They couldn’t beat anyone with a pulse, and struggled even against bad teams. But two straight wins, over Memphis and Navy, have the Cougars showing some life again, and get to move up again this week because of it. And credit to them for getting things turned around, when it would’ve been easy to shut down after having their dream of the playoff smashed to pieces. After two straight road trips, Houston is back at home this week to face South Florida.
(11:00am CT, ESPN2)
As I expected, the Knights struggled in their first trip outside the Sunshine State this season. What I didn’t expect was just how badly they were going to struggle. John Rhys Plumlee threw three interceptions to double his season total, and the Knights just couldn’t handle the East Carolina rushing attack. The Pirates were up 17-0 until a last second field goal gave the Knights points before halftime, but even a touchdown after halftime wasn’t enough to get them back into the game. The Knights are pretty low on this list for being 5-2 overall, but they really haven’t beaten anyone of note, and failed two key tests that would have pushed them higher. They’ve got another huge test this week with Cincinnati in town.
This is probably too high yet for the Sooners, but they didn’t lose this week (thanks BYE for not helping us out there) while teams around them continued to fall. Their best win is still the victory at home against KU two weeks ago, and they won’t get a chance for a better one this week as they head north to face an Iowa State squad that is also coming off a bye week. It could be an interesting game with one of the Big 12’s worst defenses facing off against the Big 12’s worst offense. Can OU help the Cyclones score??
After opening the season at 5-0, the Jayhawks how now lost three straight. Shades of 2009 indeed. Of course this losing streak started with the incredibly close loss to TCU at home, followed by two straight road trips with the backup quarterback. And they’ve been competitive, but they still have a ways (but, surprisingly, not miles) to go before they are deep enough for the Big 12 slog. The Jayhawks have a bye week this week, and will need to pray that Jalon Daniels can get healthy before they get back to action, because next up is the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
13. West Virginia
The Mountaineers are still on the struggle bus this season, but to be fair they did just have to fly across half the country for a football game. It was, however, the first time they’ve been noncompetitive this season and they suffered their lowest points output of the season. But that just gives them a chance for a massive upset this week as they host TCU. But JT Daniels, who threw three INTs against the Red Raiders, had better be ready to take some punishment. The Horned Frogs have injured, to at least some extent, the starting QB of their opponent in four straight weeks.
14. Iowa State
The Cyclones don’t maintain their spot at the bottom despite being the first team in this list to lose four straight and being the sole winless team in the conference, because they took the week off to hopefully figure out their issues on offense and didn’t lose to BYE. And they’re going to need some semblance of offense when they face Oklahoma this weekend. The Sooners have made just about everyone look good on offense this year, but the Cyclones will still have to actually score points consistently on offense if they want to pull the upset in Ames.
(11:00am CT, FS1)
The Cougars have now lost three straight, and just got smashed by Liberty 41-14...as a 6.5-point favorite. Woof. The Cougars have struggled on defense all season, and that was on full display this Saturday against the Flames. And no rest for the weary either, as a tough ECU team is headed out to Provo for a Friday night contest. At this rate, the Cougars may miss a bowl game for the first time since 2004, sitting at just 4-4 and with only one “sure” victory left on the schedule.
(10/28 7:00pm CT, ESPN2)
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