Heading into the last weekend in October, the Big 12 race is still wide open although as the week's go by, Kansas State continues to strengthen their grip on the top spot.
If Kansas State knocks off the Red Raiders this weekend, they would seemingly have a clear path to an undefeated a season, but there are simply no gimme games as Oklahoma State found out all too well last season. The league might be as deep from top to bottom as it has ever been
Here's how things look heading into week number eight. The top three remain unchanged while West Virginia dropped another two spots following their second straight loss. West Virginia's fall allowed Oklahoma State to creep into the top four for the first time all season.
What do you say?
1. (-) Kansas State (7-0): If there was still anyone left that didn't think Kansas State was the best team in the Big 12 through the first half of the season, Saturday night's clubbing of West Virginia should have left no doubt. The Wildcats put on a clinic on both sides of the ball scoring 55 points while holding the Mountaineer offense to just 243 yards. Kansas State has plenty of reasons to field good about themselves but they can't afford a letdown this week. Up next: Texas Tech.
2. (-) Oklahoma (5-1): The Sooners had no problem in dispensing of Kansas Saturday night. It's become clear over the past three weeks that OU has put their slow start in the rear view mirror looking like one of the most complete teams in the country in dispensing of Texas Tech, Texas, and KU. They have chance to make another statement under the lights this weekend against an undefeated Fighting Irish squad. Up next: Notre Dame.
3. (-) Texas Tech (6-1): It took three overtimes, but the Red Raiders continued their strong start by surviving in Fort Worth in the best game of the weekend. Texas Tech can create a logjam at the top of the Big 12 standings by winning in Manhattan this week. Do they have what it takes to pull off the upset? Absolutely, but it will take their best effort of the season to get it done. Up next: @ Kansas State.
4. (↑2) Oklahoma State (4-2): The Cowboys had no trouble handling Iowa State although they lost another quarterback in the process. Oklahoma State fans have their fingers crossed that Wes Lunt is healthy enough to play this weekend, but how the rest of the season goes is largely going to be decided by how the defense plays. They've looked good against Kansas and Iowa State, but the real tests are yet to come. Up next: TCU.
5. (-) Texas (5-2): The Longhorns got back in the win column following back-to-back losses. It wasn't a thing of beauty, but a win is a win. The Texas defense continued to struggle but they have the best medicine possible coming up this week; a matchup with Kansas. That being said, the Jayhawks can run the ball which means Texas can't expect to just show up and win on Saturday. The Longhorns have given up a Big 12 worst 266 yards per game on the ground this season (conference games only). Up next: @ Kansas.
6. (↓2) West Virginia (5-2): The free-fall from the top picked up some serious steam Saturday night in Morgantown. The Mountaineers were beat every way imaginable for the second straight week. Not only did the defense struggle for the fourth consecutive week, but the offense had their second straight poor showing, as well.
Looking at the bright side, their opponents the past two weeks were a combined 13-1 on the year so it wasn't like there were losing to the sister of the poor, but even so, you would have expected WVU to be much more competitive. They have a week off to try and find some answers. Up next: bye.
7. (↑1) TCU (5-2): The Horned Frogs dropped a heartbreaker to Texas Tech, but there are still plenty of positives to build on. This is a young team that is going to continue to get better each week, although you have to wonder how their depth is going to hold up with a brutal stretch of games yet to come. This week's game with the Cowboys is critical with games with West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma still ahead. Up next: @ Oklahoma State.
8. (↓1) Iowa State (4-3): This year's Cyclone team is the anti-Big 12: strong defense and no offense. Iowa State managed just 10 points against Oklahoma State and as Paul Rhoad's said on this week's teleconference, that's simply not enough in the Big 12. The quarterback competition will be open this week, once again, and whoever earns the start might actually be able to put up some points with the league's worst defense coming to town. Up next: Baylor.
9. (-) Baylor (3-3): It was the same story for the Bears this weekend, plenty of offense and absolutely no defense. Baylor gave up 40 points for the fourth consecutive week. The Bear's offense scored 50 points or more for the second time in Big 12 play but don't yet have a win to show for their efforts. If Baylor hope to qualify for a third straight bowl game, the next two weeks are must wins. Up next: @ Iowa State.10. (-) Kansas (1-6): For really the first time this season, Kansas wasn't competitive from the get-go. The Jayhawks were down to OU 38-0 at the half and then gave up a 99 kickoff return to start the second half and that was that. James Sims did manage to top 100 yards with KU's running game continuing to be the lone bright spot in an otherwise dreadful season. As bad as it's been, I'm still on board with Kansas picking up a Big 12 win somewhere over their final five games. Who will be the victim? Up next: Texas.