Kansas State and Oklahoma stay at the top with Texas climbing with its third straight win

Wes Maulsby

1. Kansas State: The Wildcats remain at the top of the list and don’t appear to be going anywhere. Collin Klein left the game against Oklahoma State in the third quarter after an injury and the Wildcats still finished with a three touchdown win. The severity of this injury could have major implications on both the Big 12 championship as well as the national title. With Kansas State in the driver seat at No.2 in the country, all it has to do is win out to be in the BCS Championship game. While not impossible, that will be much more difficult to do if Klein is out of commission for a while. If he returns at anything near 100 percent this week, then the Wildcats should have no problems with TCU.

2. Oklahoma: The Sooners got the win, but Iowa State did not make it easy. The Cyclones hung around nearly the whole game. Oklahoma continues to trail Kansas State by a game and would need a monumental collapse in order to win the conference. Kansas State only has three games left, and it would have to lose two of them to two of the worst defenses in the conference. Kansas State also has a week off before facing Texas in the final game of the season. With that, it appears that the Sooner are playing to hold onto second place in the conference. Additionally, they are still in the hunt for a BCS selection. Unfortunately, the once-daunting Big 12 is thinning out. All of Oklahoma’s remaining opponents are unranked after being in the Top 25 at one point this season.

3. Texas: It looked as though the Longhorns were going to get run out of Lubbock leading up to the game. The defense couldn’t stop anyone from rushing for a career high against them and the offense, which had been bailing it out all season, looked pedestrian against Kansas. It turns out that Texas may have just been looking ahead to its game against the Red Raiders and it was ready to play. The defense still gave up too many big plays, but there were no game-breaking plays it had made a habit of giving up. With the defense starting to turn the corner, winning out could put Texas in contention for a BCS berth at the end of the season.

4. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are an improving and looked like a dark horse in the Big 12 after blowing West Virginia out of the water. But the Mountaineers have lost two straight after that big win, and Texas Tech has lost two of its last three games with the only win coming in triple overtime. Now it gets lowly Kansas this week with only a road trip to Stillwater and a neutral battle against Baylor separating Tech from a nine-win season. This season may not be as bright as it once looked, but the Red Raiders are already bowl eligible after a five-win campaign in 2011.

5. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are currently sitting fourth on the Big 12 with four games left to play, and like many teams before it, are coming off a loss to Kansas State.Former offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen comes back to Stillwater guiding a floundering West Virginia team looking to avoid dropping its fourth straight game. Bedlam against Oklahoma seems to be the only daunting game left on the schedule with Texas Tech visiting the Cowboys and a season finale against Baylor who seems to have forgotten what defense is. The Cowboys offense was able to move the ball on Kansas State more than any other team this season, it just couldn’t hold onto it. Five turnovers doomed the Cowboys, even with Klein out for much of the second half.

6. TCU: The Horned Frogs shook off a slump that saw them drop three of their past four games with a double overtime win against West Virginia in Morgantown. The win got TCU bowl eligible with games against the top three teams in the conference. First it has to take Kansas State this week and try to become the first team since Oklahoma to even be within a single score of the Wildcats. TCU has made a habit of forcing turnovers this season, but it has also coughed the ball up a few times itself. The Horned Frogs gave the ball away three times to West Virginia and was able to get away with a win. It won’t be able to skid by like that against Kansas state.

7. West Virginia: What happened? It was not too long ago that West Virginia was on track to be in the national championship game and Geno Smith’s name was already being etched onto the Heisman Trophy. It’s amazing how much three straight losses can derail a season. West Virginia is now trying just to get eligible for a bowl. Road trips to Iowa State and Oklahoma State will be tough, and a home match against Oklahoma will be tougher. Outside of the finale against Kansas, there is no easy game left for the struggling Mountaineers.

8. Iowa State: The good news for the Cyclones: they still have a game against Kansas. The bad news: their other two games are against West Virginia and Texas. West Virginia may be struggling, but it is still explosive and bound to get off the schneid at some point. Texas is starting to look like the team it was supposed to be a month ago, and Kansas … well, Texas and West Virginia will be tough. One more win may not be enough to ensure the Cyclones a bowl berth.

9. Baylor:  For the first time this season, the Bears limited a team to under 20 points. Now Baylor gets to celebrate is accomplishment with four straight games against some of the most explosive offenses in the conference. Conference opponents are now only scoring 44 points a game against the Bears, so they have clearly turned the corner and are ready to take on Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State and limit those teams to only around a paltry 44 points a game.

10. Kansas: The Jayhawks lost the battle of the basement to Baylor. They are only scoring 17 points a game. They haven’t scored 20 points in a conference game. Further analysis has determined that Kansas is not very good. But everyone already knew that, so let’s go ahead and wrap this up. Kansas’ last hope is a home game against Iowa State next week.