The Kansas State Wildcats shook up the college football rankings quite well on Saturday evening.
With a 24-19 win over the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, the Wildcats are a force to be reckoned with in 2012.
Entering the game Oklahoma ranked No. 5 in the coaches' poll, so the Wildcats are sure to slide closer or into the Top 10. This upset obviously changes some things in the Big 12 as well as the BCS, so let's check out what chaos we get from Bill Snyder and the Wildcats.
Right now Oklahoma is only one of two teams with a conference loss in the Big 12 (Kansas being the other).
It's most definitely a conference that has upgraded with the additions of West Virginia and TCU, so the Sooners' schedule isn't going to get any easier. Include Notre Dame on Oklahoma's lineup outside the conference and Bob Stoops may not get 10 wins.
The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs are both undefeated and Texas is back on the rise as well. Considering that this is only a 10-team conference, the Big 12 is stacked because five schools are ranked inside the AP Top 25.
Solely from a gauntlet schedule perspective, it's highly unlikely that any one team runs the table in the Big 12. However, because Kansas State got the upset win over Oklahoma, that tiebreaker will pay extreme dividends for the Wildcats later on.
In turn, what we now must watch for are the key matchups featured next month and November.
West Virginia plays at Texas in October but hosts Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma thereafter. By comparison, the Wildcats and Horned Frogs have a rather favorable outlook. That said, TCU doesn't play a ranked school until November.
This is a big factor because the Horned Frogs will likely last longer than the West Virginia-Texas loser. So, that winner will become next in line, as TCU and the Longhorns don't square off until late November.
Unsurprisingly, the Big 12 still has a lot to clear up, but Kansas State is the current front-runner after their latest win.
This is where the real fun begins, because so much can happen atop the rankings between now and December.
As for Kansas State, knocking off the Sooners just helps their BCS cause. Even if a team goes undefeated, a national title shot is never guaranteed, and one loss basically kills any chances outside of the SEC.
The good news for Big 12 fans, however, is the conference is much stronger versus last year. Provided that Kansas State or West Virginia finishes 12-0, the only schools in the way are Florida State and Oregon.
There has to be a loser between Alabama and LSU, as well as the SEC title game. So, check off another obvious loss for someone else in the hunt.
Unfortunately, there's no one outside of the Florida Gators who have a legit shot to upset the Seminoles, and the Ducks' schedule isn't overly difficult either. In the end, strength of schedule does favor the Big 12 over the ACC and Pac-12.
If we see the Wildcats or Mountaineers undefeated by season's end, a No. 3 or 4 ranking is realistic. At that point, everything will come down to the conference title games and how convincing the wins were by comparison.
After Oklahoma State was left out last season, you can just feel the tenacity of the Big 12 this season. And perhaps the year coinciding with the conference's name is an omen, because the BCS is looking deep for national title contenders early this season.
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