Baylor, Texas Tech Climb into the Top 10 After a Tumultuous Week 8

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 20, 2013

Oct 19, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders runner Kenny Williams (34) runs for a first down  during the fourth quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Texas Tech won West Virginia 37 - 27 Mandatory Credit: Dan Friend-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Friend-USA TODAY Sports

The first BCS rankings of the 2013 season will be released Sunday night. After a chaotic Week 8 in college football, it's anyone's guess as to what they'll look like outside the top four or five teams (though B/R's own BCS guru, Samuel Chi, has a good preview). 

The Big 12's undefeated teams, Baylor and Texas Tech, should benefit from the upsets that took place on Saturday. Both have cracked the Top 10 in the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls. 

So how did the four Big 12 teams in Bleacher Report Top 25 fare in the national polls this week?

Ben Kercheval's B/R rank for each team is listed in italics.

Baylor (6-0): No. 6 (AP); No. 5 (USA Today

With all the Top 10 upsets over the weekend, there was nowhere for Baylor to go but up—way up—after dismantling Iowa State 71-7. Yeah, we're still waiting for the Bears to play somebody, but it was a heck of a show by the Bears. 

Baylor didn't begin the year in either preseason poll. That's turning into one of the most egregious gaffes of the season. This team is too talented and explosive. Baylor may not win every game on its schedule, but it should be the Big 12 title favorite and an outside contender for a BCS title if it does run the table. 

B/R rank: No. 5

Texas Tech (7-0): No. 10 (AP); No. 9 (USA Today

Texas Tech showed it can dig deep and grind out a win in a tough environment by beating West Virginia, 37-27. The Red Raiders didn't play well or disciplined for about half the game, but coach Kliff Kingsbury's composure in the face of adversity has rubbed off on his players. This team is as cool as the other side of the pillow. 

Like Baylor, Tech has a tough final five games of the year beginning with a road trip to Oklahoma in Week 9. That will show if Texas Tech really is a Top-10 team. 

B/R rank: No. 9

Oklahoma (6-1): No. 17 (AP); No. 12 (USA Today)

Opinions begin to differ about the Big 12's top teams after Baylor and Texas Tech. Look no further than Oklahoma as an example. The Sooners are just outside the Top 10 in the coaches poll, but five spots lower at No. 17 in the media's eyes. 

The losses of linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips have made OU's run defense vulnerable. Add in that Oklahoma finally scored more than 20 points in a Big 12 game this season, and there are some glaring problems for this Sooners team. Back-to-back games against Texas Tech (Oct. 26) and Baylor (Nov. 7) could magnify those problems, or prove they were much ado about nothing. 

B/R rank: No. 15

Oklahoma State (5-1): No. 19 (AP); No. 13—tied (USA Today)

Oklahoma State keeps winning, but there are some major problems offensively that seem like they will catch up to the Cowboys sooner or later. Neither J.W. Walsh nor Clint Chelf played well against TCU, and both started a year ago. 

The running game isn't helping, either. Running Back Jeremy Smith is having one giant disappointment of a season. 

The Pokes have road games at Texas Tech and Texas, and finish the season with back-to-back games against Baylor and Oklahoma. OSU's defense has forced nine turnovers in the past two games against Kansas State and TCU. Can the Pokes expect the same kind of result in the second half of the season?

B/R rank: No. 19