Big 12 Power Rankings Week 6: Red River Rivalry 2011 Back in Business
As the renowned Red River Rivalry kicks off this weekend, reports of the Big 12's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The conference has exonerated itself by posting the No. 1 team in the nation early in the season and some impressive wins over non-conference foes.
The results could be reviewed as being mixed if you consider Texas A&M's somewhat disappointing start. They are scurrying to the SEC in the very near future. Oklahoma State handed them their walking papers and so did future rival Arkansas.
Jerry Jones' Arkansas and Dallas connections notwithstanding, the Big 12 comes to Dallas, Texas on Saturday in the persons of OU and UT. The Sooners were ranked No. 1 through the first five weeks of the season but were bumped by LSU and Alabama in the AP Poll.
Texas was hiked to No. 11 in the AP whether their Longhorn Network haters liked it or not. Where did the Sooners and Horns end up on my list? I'm sure I'll surprise most of you whether you like it or not. Roll the drums...
10. Kansas Jayhawks: Opening Some Eyes
I'm liking the fact KU is an eye-popping No. 10 in the nation for rushing yards per game (FBS). They've opened some eyes with the progress Turner Gill is making turning the program from a negative to a positive.
If Kansas (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) can keep it going in the conference, then they could make their first bowl appearance in the Gill era. He joined the team last season for his first go around in the Big 12 as head coach.
There is reason to believe he can improve the team's No. 71 ranking in FBS passing (219 yards per contest). Now, about the 120th ranked FBS defense...
9. Iowa State Cyclones: Whirlwinds Winning
In defense of ISU, the Cyclones (3-1, 0-1) have faced pretty good competition in UConn, Iowa and Texas. Losing only to Texas, they won two of those three.
They are just now getting into the tougher than expected, maybe underestimated, Big 12 schedule. If the Whirlwinds can scrape out three more wins, then they could be looking at a major bowl.
8. Texas Tech: Technically Air Raiding and Winning Easily Early This Season
Bowl hopeful Texas Tech is undefeated and coming off an easy win against improved KU. The Red Raiders will look for a KO against Texas A&M this Saturday night while the Aggies are on the ropes.
Typical of the Big 12 this season, Tech is ranked No. 9 in passing yards per game (FBS). Posting 346 air raid yards per matchup, the Pirates average 47 ppg.
They haven't been tested by great competition, but Tech's offense is for real. If they beat A&M, then the nation will start to take notice...maybe.
7. Baylor Bears: Competing to be No. 1 in a Quarterback Conference
Not maybe. The Big 12 is one of the best, if not the best quarterbacking conferences across America. Baylor (3-1, 0-1) and Robert Griffin III to Kendall Wright is one of the most explosive combinations in college football.
Griffin came into Kansas State game with more touchdown passes than interceptions. Yes, you heard me right. Griff was right and exact while leading the Bears to a 35-26 lead in the fourth quarter.
His first interception thrown in almost 200 passes, 171 to be exact, opened the door for KSU to pull off the upset at home. RG3 is still one of America's best quarterbacks—ask Bill Snyder.
6. Kansas State Wildcats: Bill Snyder's Boys Making a Bold Move
Snyder is one of those rare coaches who has a chance to work in a place named after him. The Wildcats upset Baylor last weekend at Bill Snyder Stadium and have an impressive win over Miami in Florida on their resume.
I'm still not sold on the Wildcats. They'll face Mizzou this weekend after the Tigers come off a bye week. I'll see what's really going on after the Big Cats claw each other apart in the beautiful city of Manhattan, Kansas.
5. Texas Longhorns: Livin a Major College Football Program's Good Life Again
The Longhorns are ranked No. 12 in the division when it comes to defense in the FBS (scoring points against), but they haven't been tested in 2011.
Their previous competition this season—Rice, Brigham Young, UCLA and Iowa State—haven't been powerhouse programs in the last few years. The Longhorns will face powerhouses in Oklahoma this weekend followed by OSU next.
I'll be watching to see if and how far the Longhorns defense falls in the FBS rankings, and I'll relay my observations to you live and direct.
4. Texas A&M Aggies: Leaning Backwards
Can't be more live and direct than I am when yelling the Aggies have taken a step back so far this season. Taking steps back to move forward isn't the formula for building a powerhouse program.
The Aggies will need to improve by leaps and bounds with a talented roster and recruits coming in if they want to make any type of impact in the SEC next season. For now, the Big 12 is staring them in the face and teams have incentive to kick them while down.
3. Missouri Tigers: Putting on Smiling Faces
Mizzou was down but smiling last week having an open date on their schedule. They had time to peruse the Baylor-Kansas State game and take notes.
They'll face the Wildcats in a road game for the Tigers who are hoping to scratch back from the loss at Oklahoma. Mizzou had the Sooners through the first quarter, but the tide soon changed and OU showed why they have legitimate national championship aspirations. Aspiring sophomore quarterback James Franklin will be a key against the Cats.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys: All That Glitters is Orange, Black and Gray
Former Oklahoma State quarterback turned the school's head coach, Mike Gundy has one of the nation's best quarterback-receiver tandems again this season in Oklahoma natives Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.
Ranked No. 2 in passing yards per game among FBS schools, the Cowboys average 415 yards in the air per contest. Their rushing attack is a respectable No. 53. Running and passing combined, OSU averages 47 points per game—No. 6 in the FBS this week.
1. Oklahoma Sooners: Soon Will Be Done With the Troubles of the AP Poll
The Sooners also have a top 10 FBS offense averaging 43 points per game. Their defense is giving up a stingy average of 15 points.
The Sooners are undefeated and on point, but they still dropped to No. 3 in the AP Poll behind LSU and Alabama. It could be viewed as a case of SEC bias, but Oklahoma doesn't seem too concerned. They are still on pace to play in the BCS National Championship Game if they handle their business. I'm handling my mine. Make it yours to catch me next week on Lake's Big 12 List Live and Direct.
Contact Lake Cruise if you know what's good for you: LakeCruise@att.net
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