BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS: Week 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
Despite a loss, Nick Florence and the Baylor Bears move up three spots to No. 6 with their offensive explosion against WVU.
The Big 12 season is officially underway with every team now having played one game in conference play.
Kansas State's Collin Klein and West Virginia's Geno Smith are the talk of the conference and are turning heads around the country after big wins in their 2012 conference debuts.
From the Department of Redundancy Department, offense is king in the conference. They still may be tabulating the totals in Saturday's Baylor-West Virginia shootout, and the vaunted Longhorn offense (?) is one of five Big 12 attacks ranked in the top 11 in the country (No. 1 Oklahoma State, 2 Baylor, 3 West Virginia, 9 Texas, 11 Texas Tech).
Last week we unveiled our initial 2012 Big 12 Power Ranking, and from here on out we'll take stock of the conference every Sunday to see where Texas stacks up with the rest of the high-flying teams in the Big 12.
Hookem.com's Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 5
1. Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
There's not much to say about the Wildcats this week. K-State was off after its big road win at Oklahoma last week, and has finally caught the attention of the national media after we proclaimed them the best team in the conference a week ago. They're 7th in the AP and 8th in the Coaches and should sail smoothly into Week 7 with a date against in-state doormat Kansas at home this coming Saturday. Quarterback Collin Klein has popped up on Heisman radars, ranking seventh in the conference in rushing with 72.3 yards per game and is completing an impressive 70 percent of his passes. Running back John Hubert is No. 2 in the Big 12 and 19 in the country with 106 yards per game on the ground.
Next game: vs. Kansas
2. West Virginia (4-0, 1-0)
Who needs a defense when your quarterback throws more touchdowns than incompletions? Geno Smith had a game EA Sports couldn't dream up with 656 yards and eight touchdowns on 45-of-51 passing in a 70-63 win over Baylor Saturday afternoon. Receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin have lived up to the hype so far in WVU's Big 12 debut season. The two are ranked second and third, respectively, in the country in yards per game (behind Baylor's Terrance Williams). Bailey leads the country with ten touchdown receptions, Austin is tied for second with seven. Defense will be a huge issue for the Mountaineers, and will be what likely prevents them from winning the conference in their first season, but Dana Holgorsen's offense is absolutely no joke.
Next game: at Texas
3. Texas (4-0, 1-0)
Here in bizzaro-world Austin the Longhorns are led by their dynamic offense while the defense just goes along for the ride. Texas needed every bit of David Ash's 304 yards and three touchdowns to pull out the 41-36 win over Oklahoma State Saturday night. Nobody thought Texas' offense would be the strength of the team back in August, but through four games that's exactly the case. The Horns were lucky to avoid the injury bug early on, but over the last week it's started to spread with Jordan Hicks, Malcolm Brown, Desmond Jackson and Brandon Moore among others getting dinged. The disappointing defense will get the biggest test of the year on Saturday against West Virginia. Texas' D is better than Baylor's, but there's no question Ash and the Texas offense are going to have to come ready to play Saturday night to keep up with the Mountaineers.
Next game: vs. West Virginia
David Ash and the Longhorns will play in the marquee conference game of the week against West Virginia on Saturday.
4. Oklahoma (2-1, 0-1)
The Sooners got a week off to lick their wounds after their home loss to Kansas State two weeks ago. Oklahoma was the darling of the conference before the season, but after the loss to the Wildcats there are a lot of questions in Norman. They still sit in the top 20 of the polls so a string of wins would put them right back in the thick of the Big 12 and national title picture, but the road won't be easy for Bob Stoops' bunch.
Next game: at Texas Tech
5. Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1)
The Cowboys looked good despite playing with their backup quarterback on Saturday against Texas. OK State still put up 36 points on the Longhorns with redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh under center. Defense remains the biggest question in Stillwater, allowing 31 points per game so far. They'll be a tough out for whoever they play throughout the Big 12 season, but without Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon - or a defense as adept at creating turnovers - it doesn't look like Oklahoma State will be able to repeat as conference champs right now.
Next game: at Kansas (Oct. 13)
6. Baylor (3-1, 0-1)
The Bears came up just a little bit short in Saturday's offensive frenzy. Nick Florence threw for the quietest 581 yards and five touchdowns you'll ever see thanks to Geno Smith. Still, Baylor showed it can still move the ball even with RG3 now playing for the Redskins. Defense is still a big issue for the Bears, but the offense is dangerous. Baylor has the firepower to upset a team or two this year, but without the ability to make stops on defense, the Bears are a long shot to end the year among the top teams in the conference.
Next game: vs TCU (Oct. 13)
7. TCU (4-0, 1-0)
The Horned Frogs forced five Garrett Gilbert interceptions this weekend against SMU en route to a 24-16 win over the Mustangs. Things are looking good so far in 2012 in Fort Worth, but TCU is yet to really face a tough test. To date they've played Grambling State, Kansas, Virginia and SMU. Junior quarterback Casey Pachall has thrown for ten touchdowns to just one interception and ranks fourth in the Big 12 with a 180.0 passer rating (good for fifth in the country). Look for the TCU train to keep rolling until Oct. 27 when they get their first test of the season, at Oklahoma State.
Next game: vs. Iowa State
8. Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0)
Tech is another Big 12 team that's looked solid so far, but is yet to face a true test. The Red Raiders passed their first Big 12 test with a 24-13 win at Iowa State, but we'll get to know a lot more about their team this weekend when they host the angry Sooners. Senior quarterback Seth Doege is averaging nearly 300 yards per game through the air, and his 15 passing touchdowns are third in the country to only WVU's Smith and Baylor's Florence. Sophomore running back Kenny Williams is off to a solid start with over 80 yards per game, and in a change of pace in Lubbock the Tech defense is actually playing very well. The question is whether or not that will remain the case staring this week when the Big 12's big boys start popping up on the schedule.
Next game: vs. Oklahoma
9. Iowa State (3-1, 0-1)
The Cyclones are, once again, struggling to move the ball. Steele Jantz has an even seven touchdowns to seven interceptions, and ranks only ahead of Kansas' Dayne Crist in quarterback rating in the conference. Iowa State is an oddity in the Big 12 as a team that will try to win games with its defense. It didn't work against Texas Tech last week, and it likely won't work against many this season.
Next game: vs. Kansas State
10. Kansas (1-3, 0-1)
Do we even really need to bother? The Jayhawks were off last week after losing to Northern Illinois the week before. The strategist Charlie Weis has two weeks to get his Kansas squad ready for their Big 12 slate to really get going, but considering the lack of talent on the Jayhawk roster, two months may not be enough time to devise a way to get this team in position to beat the better teams in the conference.
Next game: at Kansas State