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Texas A&M is riding a three-game winning streak.
By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 8 Big 12 Power Rankings
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1. Oklahoma State (7-0) – Thanks to the loss by rival Oklahoma, the Pokes rise to the No. 1 spot in the power rankings for the first time this year. Many expected Saturday’s contest against Missouri to be a trap game, but Oklahoma State won easily 45-24. The Cowboys are in control of their destiny in the BCS with the Big 12 title, but there are a lot of games to be played. Oklahoma State hosts Baylor this Saturday.
2. Kansas State (7-0) – The Wildcats remained unbeaten with a 59-21 blowout win over rival Kansas on Saturday. Kansas State is 7-0 for the first time since 1999, but the competition gets a lot tougher the next few weeks. The Wildcats host Oklahoma this Saturday, before playing Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas the next three weeks. Even if Kansas State loses its next four games, Bill Snyder should still earn national coach of the year honors for the job he has done with this team in 2011.
3. Oklahoma (6-1) – Most wrote off the Sooners’ sluggish performance against Kansas as a post-Texas hangover. Apparently, that wasn’t the case. Oklahoma watched its national title hopes take a big hit, as it was upset 41-38 by Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have had success beating the Sooners in Lubbock, but the victory in Norman snapped Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak. The Sooners can still win the Big 12 title, but have to quickly regroup with Kansas State ahead this Saturday. Cornerback Jamell Fleming was a key absence in the loss to Texas Tech and is unlikely to play this week against the Wildcats.
4. Texas A&M (5-2) – After back-to-back disappointing losses to Arkansas and Oklahoma State in early October, the Aggies have quietly put together a solid three-game winning streak. Texas A&M defeated Iowa State 33-17 on Saturday, which moved the Aggies to 5-2 overall. The one-two punch of running backs Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray has been difficult to stop, as Texas A&M has at least 200 rushing yards in each of its last four contests. The Aggies host Missouri this Saturday.
5. Texas Tech (5-2) – The Red Raiders scored one of the biggest upsets of 2011, defeating Oklahoma 41-38 in Norman. Quarterback Seth Doege had a huge game, throwing for 441 yards and four scores, while the defense held Oklahoma to only seven points in the first half. With a difficult upcoming schedule, it was important for Texas Tech to pickup a little bit of momentum. The victory over Oklahoma was also a key notch in coach Tommy Tuberville's coaching tenure at Texas Tech. How close are the Red Raiders’ from being undefeated? Their two losses this year have been by a combined 12 points (Kansas State and Texas A&M). Texas Tech hosts Iowa State on Saturday.
6. Texas (4-2) – With the season halfway finished, the bye week came at a good time for the Longhorns. The coaching staff should be able to correct some of the mistakes, particularly on offense, that the young players are making. Co-offensive coordinators Major Applewhite and Bryan Harsin would like to get quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy off to a good start this week and figure out whether both will play each game or if one can assume the job full-time. Texas looks to snap a two-game losing streak this Saturday, as it hosts Kansas. Although the Jayhawks are unlikely to pose much of a threat to Texas, a solid performance would help boost the confidence of the young players before a difficult stretch of upcoming games – Texas Tech, at Missouri, Kansas State, at Texas A&M and at Baylor.
7. Baylor (5-2) – The Bears had a bye in Week 8 and will return to action on Saturday at Oklahoma State. Baylor has had very little success against the Cowboys in recent years, with its last win in this series coming in 2005. The Bears last victory in Stillwater was in 1939. Expect plenty of points in Saturday’s game, as neither team has been very good at stopping the pass.
8. Missouri (3-4) – The Tigers were a trendy upset pick going into Week 8, but Oklahoma State left Columbia with an easy win. Missouri didn’t have an answer for Cowboys’ quarterback Brandon Weeden and a deep group of receivers. Tigers’ quarterback James Franklin didn’t have his best game, tossing three picks and completing 14 of 27 throws. Missouri’s bowl hopes are hanging in the balance with five games remaining. The Tigers travel to College Station to play Texas A&M this Saturday, and the schedule won’t get any easier with Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech its next three opponents.
9. Iowa State (3-4) – The Cyclones dropped their fourth game in a row, losing 33-17 to Texas A&M in Ames. Quarterback Steele Jantz hasn’t been 100 percent since suffering a foot injury against Connecticut in Week 3, and his play has suffered. After an early interception against the Aggies, Iowa State turned to Jared Barnett under center. The redshirt freshman finished with 180 passing yards and 66 on the ground, and is expected to start in Iowa State’s Week 9 game at Texas Tech.
10. Kansas (2-5) – The Jayhawks’ 2011 season took another ugly turn with Saturday’s 59-21 loss to rival Kansas State. Kansas appeared to be on the right track after starting 2-0, but has lost five in a row and weren't competitive in four of those losses. Coach Turner Gill turned around an awful Buffalo team, and knew he had a lot of work to do when he came to Lawrence. However, Gill didn’t exactly get a ringing endorsement from the athletic director after Saturday’s game, and the pressure is on Kansas’ coaching staff to find some answers over the next couple of weeks.