1. Kansas State: The
Wildcats have officially separated from the pack. They are the best team in the
Big 12 and there’s not even a close second. Barring catastrophic injuries,
there is nothing standing between KSU and a Big 12 championship. Nothing except a rapidly developing Oklahoma State squad this
2. Oklahoma: Following
an old fashioned bun toasting administered by Notre Dame in Norman, there is real doubt whether the Sooners are BCS bowl material. OU
doesn’t have a running game and Landry Jones is not good enough to carry the
team against a top-flight defense. That bodes ill for the Sooners as they
travel to Ames to face a rock-ribbed and opportunistic Iowa State stop unit.
3. Oklahoma State: Barring
a bogus official’s call that gave Texas a win over the Cowboys, Mike Gundy’s
team would be riding a five-game winning streak and would be undefeated in
conference play at this point. OSU is a complete and balanced team, and they
have sustained their program’s momentum far better than Baylor after similar
4. Texas Tech: Kansas
State introduced the Red Raiders to reality this past Saturday. And the reality
is that Tech cannot yet hang with the big boys when the offense commits
turnovers as it frequently does against quality competition. Still, if the Red
Raiders can get past Texas they should finish the regular season with a 9-3
mark and there are few Tech fans who wouldn’t have snatched that and taken it
to the bank back in August.
5. Texas: The
Longhorns remain the most charmed program in college football. The refs handed
them a victory in Norman and a grease-fingered Kansas defensive back did the
same in Lawrence. But whether Texas’ luck is the intersection of preparation of
opportunity or Mack Brown has sold his soul to a burnt orange Beelzebub, the
Horns are 6-2 and are still good enough to worry all but the best teams in the
6. Iowa State: Steele
Jantz threw five touchdowns against Baylor. Jim Nantz would probably do the same. Still, if the ISU
quarterback can parlay that performance into another solid game, and if
Oklahoma is down in the mouth about a season gone sour, the Cyclones could
spring an upset this weekend.
7. West Virginia: The
Mountaineers have had two weeks to lick their wounds following back-to-back stompings compliments of Texas Tech and Kansas State. Now
they draw a TCU team that has dropped three out of their last four. Somebody
gets a dead-cat bounce in this tete-a-tete between Big 12 newcomers.
8. TCU: Following
the loss to Texas Tech, Gary Patterson made the odd remark that the defeat
proved the Horned Frogs could play in the Big 12. Following a 22-point loss to
Oklahoma State, Patterson’s insecure assertion is cast into doubt. The
adjustment to the big leagues has proved more difficult than most Fort Worthies
9. Baylor: TCU
and Baylor bringing up the hindmost. All Big 12 commish
Bowlsby needs to do is invite Rice to the league and
it’ll be just like old times in the Southwest Conference again.
10. Kansas: The
Jayhawks tackle the Bears this weekend in the Big 12 Septic Bowl. At least
Kansas can actually tackle, so that may hand them the edge.