1. Texas: The
last thing Big 12 teams want to see is the Longhorns develop a passing game.
But if David Ash’s performance against Ole Miss is any indication, that
unsettling development may be a reality. Everybody knew Texas’ defense would be
good, but when the offense hangs 66 on a SEC defense, eyebrows furrow and teeth
2. Kansas State: With
a drubbing of Miami and a road win over preseason Big 12 favorite Oklahoma in
their resume, the Wildcats may well be the conference’s strongest team. Lord
knows they certainly have the best coach. The only question is, does KSU have
enough offensive firepower to hang with the Horns?
3. West Virginia: Along
with Texas and Kansas State, West Virginia is the Big 12’s other serious BCS
bowl contender. But just as Texas did little against Wyoming and Kansas State
was threatened by North Texas, West Virginia struggled against a weak Maryland
team in Morgantown. And Geno Smith looked like a
borderline mediocre quarterback. WVU will receive their Big 12 baptism this
week from a capable Baylor team.
4. Oklahoma: Landry Jones peaked as a sophomore and has deteriorated over the last two years.
Consequently, the Sooners are not as good as their press clippings. Still, OU’s
defense is good enough to keep them in any game. But Big Game Bob’s boys were
supposed to be about so much more than just hanging around.
5. TCU: The
Horned Frogs rival Iowa State for the title of dullest Big 12 team, but heck,
all they do is win. Much like Oklahoma, TCU’s defense will ensure that the
Horned Frogs are a tough out for anybody, but Casey Pachall
is still a work in progress and the TCU backfield is depleted and pedestrian.
It won’t be long before the Frogs go down, but it won’t happen this week when
they play a sorry SMU squad.
6. Oklahoma State: With
Oregon destroying Arizona 49-0, the Cowboys’ loss to the Wildcats is looking
pretty bad. We will have a much better reading on OSU after they venture to
Austin this weekend for a night tilt with the Longhorns. It will be a track
meet. And if the Cowboys can somehow manage to get a few stops, this game could
prove to be the most entertaining Big 12 clash of the entire season.
7. Texas Tech: The
Red Raiders have no excuses whatsoever to prove to everybody that they are for
real. They are healthy, they are rested, they are hitting on all cylinders, and
they draw a beatable opponent in Iowa State. To earn some respect, Tech not
only needs to win this game, they need to win it by 16 points or more.
8. Baylor: The
Bears are once again ranked in the top 25, but this ranking will prove
fleeting. Look for the Mountaineer offense to score at will against Baylor’s
supine defense, and West Virginia to steamroll Art Briles’
team. This one will be over by halftime.
9. Iowa State: The
Cyclones have a very good defense. Perhaps one of the top
five in the Big 12. But quarterback Steele Jantz,
although improved, remains erratic, and ISU’s other skill position players
don’t scare anybody. Texas Tech’s defense might not still be ranked number one
after the battle in Ames, but I bet it will remain in the top five.
10. Kansas: When
you lose to Rice and Northern Illinois, you’ve got absolutely no shot in the
Big 12. The reconstruction job confronting Charlie Weis is even more formidable
than he imagined. And Charlie Weis is not a patient man.