Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 9
UT stays atop weak Big 12
By John Razook,
12:30PM, Fri. Oct. 30, 2009
For Oklahoma State, playing Texas has been akin to a hellish trip through the kind of House of Horrors where things go so bad you have little recourse but to vomit first and then scream, later, when you've finally realized exactly what has happened.
Mack Brown is 11-0 against the other team from Oklahoma since his arrival in Austin, and while most people seem to agree that this has become one of the most interesting and entertaining series in the league, those people are probably not living in Stillwater, where just mentioning the Longhorns and football in the same sentence, even in February, can induce vomiting.
Saturday night in Stillwater was supposed to be an epic showdown, or at least as close to epic as the Big 12 conference could possibly hope for in this, the foulest year for the watered-down league in recent memory. Oklahoma State was supposed to have its best team ever. Texas was supposed to be, well, Texas. Now, with the game only a few days away, the luster has worn off, as OSU quite literally dropped the ball against Houston and followed with a subsequent fall from the national spotlight. In addition to losing national relevancy, OSU has also lost its two most explosive offensive playmakers, WR Dez Bryant, crucified by the NCAA, and RB Kendall Hunter, still ailing from a mysterious ankle injury. Every indication seems to point to a fairly routine Texas win.
Ah, but it's Halloween on the road for the Horns and we all know what can happen on a night like this, in hostile enemy territory, don't we?
Of course, there is that small matter of the 106th-ranked OSU pass defense, a nugget of inescapable truth that probably has the Colt chomping at the bit, ready to run & throw & buck & prance & … ye gods, I might be high on candied apples already. Hard to say. It could simply be the vat of pumpkin ale I've been sipping from while laboring over stats, trends, analysis, rampant speculation, and the odds coming out of Las Vegas.
Elsewhere in the league, some other teams are playing this week. But I don't care. They are all also-rans at this point and the game in Stillwater is the only one that matters. That is the reality of the situation, the essential fact of football in the Big 12 this week. The winner of this game most likely takes the South Division title and gets set up with a prom date from hell in the form of the sacrificial lamb from the North. Oklahoma State, even with an unlikely victory against Texas, still faces a daunting schedule with games at home against Tech and then a trip to Norman, where things usually get ugly early.
As ugly as, say, a sporting journalist and gentleman of leisure soused to the gills on pumpkin ale …
1) Texas [7-0; 4-0]: The Longhorns are in good shape. Heck, they're in great shape, and last I checked "great" was still better than "good," and Texas is still, sadly for some Okies, better than OSU.
2) Oklahoma State [6-1; 3-0]: Mike Gundy is getting serious consideration for Big 12 Coach of the Year for all the adversity his team has overcome. If he can somehow overcome Texas, it's a lock.
3) Oklahoma [4-3; 2-1]: Scariest 4-3 team in the country? With perhaps the most delusional fan base? There is plenty of talk north of the Red River about various scenarios that could see the Sooners somehow finding their way to the Big 12 title game.
4) Kansas State [5-3; 3-1]: Bill Snyder goes to Norman to take on disciple Bob Stoops. Good storyline, with the retired master taking on his most successful student. The student, though, has a loaded team, even with the injury problems.
5) Iowa State [5-3; 2-2]: Absolute stunner to get a win in Lincoln. Did Gene Chizik leave more for Paul Rhodes to work with than anyone realized? Or is Nebraska simply worse than anyone realized?
6) Kansas [5-2; 1-2]: That high-flying Jayhawk offense hit the ground like a dead turkey against the Sooners. Kansas was exposed as the over-ranked team a lot of people thought they were after beating up on a cream puff nonconference schedule. Mark Mangino, though, eats cream puffs like pizza. And nachos. And hot dogs. And doughnuts.
7) Texas A&M [4-3; 1-2]: Anyone see the thumping the Ags put on Tech coming? Not this sports sage. Tech was favored by 21 points and lost by 22. Not the kind of action the boys in Vegas like.
8) Texas Tech [5-3; 2-2]: The biggest story out of Lubbock this week is apparently the revelation that some Red Raider players are dating overweight girls. Shocking.
9) Nebraska [4-3; 1-2]: You know things are bad when you lose at home. To Iowa State. In football.
10) Colorado [2-5; 1-2]: The Buffaloes, thanks more to Missouri and Baylor's poor play than anything they've done on the field themselves, might have permanently moved out of the Big 12 cellar. Maybe.
11) Missouri [4-3; 0-3]: The Tigers were once 4-0 and ranked in the Top 25. That seems like last year now. Wait … was that last year?
12) Baylor [3-4; 0-3]: Reality sets in for the Bears. And that reality is a nasty one. No Robert Griffin, no bowl game.