Well, well, well... the lowly Big 12 Conference now has five teams in the most recent edition of the AP Top 25. How about that? That’s more than any other conference. Do I actually think that this is the best conference in the country? Hell no, but this is clearly a better conference than certain members of the national media would have you believe.
As far as the conference race is concerned, things are still pretty murky after a weird week of football. Here’s how I’d rank the teams going into Week 9:
- TCU (7-0, 4-0) - When going over Iowa State’s shutout of Kansas last week, I said something about how Kansas’ offense was bad, but not bad enough to gain just over 100 yards of total offense against an average defense (in an attempt to compliment Iowa State). Well... TCU just held the Jayhawks to 21 yards, the lowest output for a P5 school in years. The Frogs are the real deal, and Kansas’ offense really is that bad, I guess.
- Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) - The Sooners were terrible on defense and sloppy on offense in the first half in Manhattan, but the Sooners deserve some credit for the way they responded after halftime. Honestly, even though the defense is wildly inconsistent, unreliable and sometimes downright bad, Baker Mayfield gives this team a fighter’s chance against pretty much anyone in college football.
- Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1) - Like their Bedlam rivals, the Cowboys looked unimpressive but were able to grab a win on the road nonetheless, which can’t completely be taken for granted. I was definitely shocked at the conservative approach taken by the offense. The Cowboys were playing not to lose and it nearly got them beat. In fact, it probably should have.
- Iowa State (5-2, 3-1) - Alright, it’s probably long past time to stop underestimating Iowa State. The Cyclones held a high-caliber Texas Tech offense to 13 points and 336 total yards, which is just downright impressive — especially on the road. If Matt Campbell’s team keeps this up, he won’t be coaching in Ames for long.
- West Virginia (5-2, 3-1) - I still like West Virginia, but this team has been outgained by Texas Tech and Baylor in consecutive weeks. The luck is going to run out eventually, but will it happen on Saturday in Morgantown against Oklahoma State? For the sake of Bedlam hype, I sort of hope so.
- Texas (3-4, 2-2) - Sam Ehlinger has taken a few too many punishing hits as of late, and now it appears that he may miss some time because of it. If he’s out, it’ll be up to Shane Buechele to make sure they don’t slip up in Waco, where a loss would severely hinder their chances of making a bowl for the first time since 2014.
- Kansas State (3-4, 1-3) - Once this team gets Jesse Ertz back (probably fairly soon), the offense will become a bit less predictable. Once this happens, Bill Snyder’s team will be able to do what it does best — slow down the pace of the game and wait for the other team to make mistakes. That strategy has resulted in five wins in their last six tries against the next team on this list.
- Texas Tech (4-3, 1-3) - We were all furious about the loss to Iowa State when it happened, but imagine how mad you’d be if the Sooners were only able to manage 13 points against the Cyclones? Kliff Kingsbury’s teams have melted down in the latter stages of seasons, and it sort of looks like that’s what’s going on right now. Let’s just hope OU helps them continue that trend this Saturday.
- Baylor (0-7, 0-4) - I was pretty impressed by Charlie Brewer’s near-comeback against West Virginia this weekend. The win will come eventually for this team, and I kind of think there’s a chance it happens this weekend in Waco against Texas. I’d definitely pick the ‘Horns because of their defense (along with the fact that that defense is facing a freshman QB, as impressive as he may be), but Texas could be in for a major letdown after a pair of close losses in physical games.
- Kansas (1-6, 0-4) - 127 yards of total offense over a two-game span will just not do, Jaybirds.
Week 9 Schedule
Oklahoma State at West Virginia - 11 a.m. CT (ABC)
Texas at Baylor - 11 a.m. CT (ESPNU)
Kansas State at Kansas - 2:00 p.m. CT (FS1)
TCU at Iowa State - 2:30 CT (ABC)
Texas Tech at Oklahoma - 7:00 PM CT (ABC/ESPN2)
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!