The Bears somehow escaped a matchup with TCU unscathed, but it wasn’t pretty. So much for their defense being much improved; the Horned Frogs burned Baylor for 58 points. Baylor’s struggles against TCU proved it won’t coast to a Big 12 title and that Oklahoma isn’t the only team that can challenge it. But Bryce Petty is still really good — he had 510 passing yards and six touchdowns — and Baylor is still the favorite to represent the conference in the playoff.
The Horned Frogs’ fourth-quarter meltdown prevented them from taking a commanding lead in the Big 12. However, after stunning Oklahoma and nearly knocking off Baylor, TCU showed it is for real. The Horned Frogs are balanced on offense, and their defense has been making big plays. They simply ran out of gas against Baylor.
Sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight has not been good this year. He is completing just 55 percent of his passes and has thrown just one more touchdown than interceptions. Once again, he struggled en route to a victory against Texas. The Sooners have relied on their defense and run game so far, which, fortunately for head coach Bob Stoops, have been solid.
4) Kansas State
The Wildcats haven’t faced any of the Big 12 powers yet, but they are playing steady football. They have quietly worked their way up to No. 14 in the nation, thanks in large part to a surprisingly potent offense. They have their toughest test thus far against No. 11 Oklahoma this week, but you can’t sleep on head coach Bill Snyder and his Wildcats.
5) Oklahoma State
The Cowboys, like Kansas State, had a close loss to a top-five team early in the season. Since then, they have been winning and working their way up to No. 15 in the nation. They had a bit of a scare against Kansas on the road but were able to pull off the win. They travel to TCU on Saturday where we’ll learn the true strength of this team.
The Longhorns are slowly getting better. Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is beginning to look more comfortable, and the defense continues to shut down some of the best offenses in the country. They just need to limit mistakes and find ways to generate the occasional big play.
7) West Virginia
The Mountaineers are 4-2, but that includes wins over Towson and Kansas and three-point victories against Texas Tech and Maryland. Behind senior quarterback Clint Trickett, the offense will put up points. But their defense is full of holes and that may keep them from moving their way to the top of this list.
8) Texas Tech
Remember when head coach Kliff Kingsbury was the savior? The Red Raiders tanked at the end of last year and have lost four straight this year. Their defense is ranked No. 122 in the nation, allowing just below 40 points a game. Even for an offense as good as Tech’s, that terrible defense is too much to overcome.
9) Iowa State
The Cyclones just aren’t good enough at any position to compete in the Big 12 right now. They can hang and play teams toughly, but they won’t pull anything out against a team in the top half of the conference. On the bright side, they still have Kansas on the schedule.
The Jayhawks came close to winning Saturday against Oklahoma State, which should be considered a great showing. With four ranked Big 12 teams still on their schedule, Kansas may go without a win in the Big 12 once again.