1. Baylor (7-0, 4-0 Big 12, last week: 1)
The honeymoon is over for the Bears, it’s time to prove how good they really are. Baylor, whose players have complained about a lack of national respect, got off to an impressive start with the blowout victory over Oklahoma. Texas Tech is next, and Oklahoma State and Texas aren’t far away.
2. Texas (6-2, 5-0 Big 12, last week: 2)
It was ugly, boring and statistically unimpressive, but the Longhorns posted their second consecutive 20-plus-point victory on Saturday. Texas will put its undefeated Big 12 record on the line this weekend in Morgantown, against a tricky Mountaineers squad that has already defeated Oklahoma State on their home soil.
3. Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1 Big 12, last week: 5)
Five weeks after suffering an upset loss to West Virginia and tumbling down these rankings, the Cowboys are back in the Big 12 championship hunt. The offense has now posted over 50 points in consecutive games and the defense held the high-powered Texas Tech offense to just three touchdowns last week. The Pokes are hitting their stride.
4. Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12, last week: 3)
The Sooners’ season was turned upside down when Texas knocked them off at the Cotton Bowl, despite being two-touchdown underdogs. Thursday’s loss to Baylor essentially knocks them out of the Big 12 hunt, but the big damage was done by Texas in Dallas last month.
5. Texas Tech (7-2, 4-2 Big 12, last week: 4)
Kliff Kingsbury has hit his first rough patch as a head coach. After opening the season 7-0, the Red Raiders have struggled against the Big 12’s elite. The defense has been weak and quarterback Davis Webb has looked like the freshman he is. While Texas Tech clearly won’t be contending for a conference championship, the season has to be considered a success, regardless of how they perform down the stretch.
6. Kansas State (4-4, 2-3 Big 12, last week: 6)
Coming off their most impressive victory of the season, the Wildcats continue to improve each week. Bill Snyder’s bunch have the Red Raiders on upset alert this week and if they can get a win, they will put themselves in great position to make a bowl game.
7. West Virginia (4-5, 2-4 Big 12, last week: 7)
The Mountaineers put an end to their losing skid with a comeback overtime victory over lowly TCU last weekend, keeping their bowl hopes alive in the process. West Virginia has a chance to play spoiler again this weekend against Texas but, even if they lose, they have a good shot at playing a 13th game this season.
8. TCU (3-6, 1-5 Big 12, last week: 8)
The Horned Frogs blew a 14-point lead against West Virginia and ruined any chance they had of making a bowl game. While they are favorites this weekend against Iowa State, wins against Kansas State and No. 6 Baylor to finish the season seem virtually impossible at this point.
9. Kansas (2-6, 0-5 Big 12, last week: 9)
The fact that the Jayhawks’ loss to Texas was incredibly boring to watch is a positive for Charlie Weis and Co. Kansas was within one score of the Longhorns midway through the third quarter, and the defense looked impressive throughout. Their matchup with Iowa State, and only real chance to get a Big 12 win, can’t come soon enough.
10. Iowa State (1-7, 0-5 Big 12, last week: 10)
Since their near upset of Texas, the Cyclones have struggled mightily, giving up at least 40 points in every game. Their inability to keep opponents off the scoreboard, combined with an even greater inability score points of their own, has made for several blowout losses.