There are six teams that have very clearly defined their place in the Big 12 and four that could go in any order any week.
There's a clear line between the contenders, pretenders and flat out awful teams in the Big 12 as we approach the home stretch of the 2012 season.
With only five weeks left of the regular season we have a few teams hoping to pounce if Kansas State stumbles, a few who are already looking forward to basketball season, and a group of want-to-bes in the middle trying to stay relevant.
Hookem.com's Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 9
(1) 1. Kansas State (8-0, 5-0 Big 12)
It's time to start looking down the stretch to see if K-State can actually pull off a perfect regular season. After easily dispatching Texas Tech thanks to four second-half touchdowns by Collin Klein that helped the Wildcats score 42 after the break, turning a 13-10 game in to a laugher in Manhattan. Oklahoma State and Texas at home, and TCU and Baylor on the road separates Bill Snyder from a perfect season.
This week: 55-24 win over Texas Tech
Next week: vs. Oklahoma State
(2) 2. Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1)
Credit the Sooners for scheduling a non-conference game against Notre Dame. Oklahoma invited the Irish into Norman and were treated to a loss by a team making serious BCS noise. Even with the loss, OU stays firmly at No. 2 in our power rankings, though the gap between Kansas State and everybody else appears to be widening.
This week: 13-30 loss to Notre Dame
Next week: at Iowa State
(3) 3. Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2)
Tech joins a growing list of teams Kansas State has dominated on both sides of the football. A fumble early in the second half and a Seth Doege pick-six in the fourth led to Kansas State's 42-point onslaught. Doege still threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns on 35-of-50 passing, but the Red Raider defense - with little help from the turnovers - couldn't do enough to keep Tech in the ball game. They'll now have to regroup in time for Saturday's home tilt with the Longhorns.
This week: 24-55 loss to Kansas State
Next week: vs. Texas
(5) 4. West Virginia (5-2, 2-2)
West Virginia was the only school in the conference on a bye this week. Despite spending the weekend on the couch, the Mountaineers move up a spot after TCU's big loss to Oklahoma State.
This week: Off
Next week: vs. TCU
(6) 5. Texas (6-2, 3-2)
After their performances in three of the last four games, it's hard to think the Longhorns deserve to be this high. The bottom half of this league is just not strong. As ugly as it was, Texas picked up a win over the weekend. Texas failed to answer any questions about its play against the Jayhawks and is set to enter a four-game stretch that will not only define this season, but very likely the short and long-term future of the university's football program.
This week: 21-17 win over Kansas
Next week: at Texas Tech
(7) 6. Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1)
Who's got a true freshman quarterback and is the only team left in the Big 12 outside of Kansas State that controls its own fate? This guy. The Pokes won their third straight since losing to Texas in their conference opener with a 22-point win over TCU. Wes Lunt is back at quarterback for OSU after J.W. Walsh's injury, and the freshman passed for 324 yards and a touchdown in his return. Don't expect Oklahoma State to surprise everybody and win the conference, though. Its three wins have come against teams Nos. 7, 8 and 10. Its next four games are against teams Nos. 1-4.
This week: 36-14 win over TCU
Next week: at Kansas State
(4) 7. TCU (5-3, 2-3)
TCU drops to 1-3 since the loss of Casey Pachall after Saturday's loss. After a win over Baylor and a triple-overtime loss to Tech last week, TCU allowed Oklahoma State to score 36 unanswered points in a loss over the weekend. Trevone Boykin - who left with an injury late in the game - threw it 40 times, completing 21 for 185 yards, a score and an interception. The defense doesn't get a break with a trip to Morgantown coming this weekend.
This week: 14-36 loss to Oklahoma State
Next week: at West Virginia
(8) 8. Iowa State (5-3, 2-3)
Iowa State kept Baylor winless in conference with a solid defensive performance and a career day for quarterback Steele Jantz. The senior JUCO transfer threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns and also added 54 yards on ten carries against one of the worst defenses in all the FBS. The Cyclones have a good enough defense to play with anybody in the conference - as evident by their close losses to Tech and Kansas State - and if they can get solid production from their offense they could pull off some upsets down the stretch.
This week: 35-21 win over Baylor
Next week: vs. Oklahoma
(9) 9. Baylor (3-4, 0-4)
The bottom two are last by a mile. Baylor has shown its offense is only average when playing teams that can play defense - 21.0 points against ISU and KSU, 56.5 points against Texas and West Virginia - and its defense is horrible no matter who its playing - 122nd in the FBS with 42.7 points against. Nick Florence threw for 426 yards, but if the Bears can't get into the endzone often every week they'll lose every time with the defense they're playing.
This week: 21-35 loss to Iowa State
Next week: vs. Kansas
(10) 10. Kansas (1-7, 0-5)
Soooooooo close. Kansas almost won its first Big 12 game in nearly two years before the Longhorns pulled out the win in Lawrence. Kansas has the potential to play decent football on a given week, but it's also very capable of losing by 40-plus. There will be a battle for last place Saturday afternoon in Waco when the Jayhawks and Bears meet up. Could Kansas get its first conference win just three days before the two-year anniversary of its last?
This week: 17-21 loss to Texas
Next week: at Baylor