By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 4 Big 12 Power Rankings
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1. Oklahoma (3-0) – Coming off a huge win over Florida State, all eyes were on the Sooners to see if they could avoid a letdown against Missouri. Oklahoma fell behind early, but rallied for a 38-28 win over the Tigers. Despite missing receivers Kenny Stills and Trey Franks, quarterback Landry Jones managed to throw for 448 yards and three scores. The Sooners host Ball State this Saturday, but a date against Texas looms large on Oct. 8.
2. Oklahoma State (4-0) – The Cowboys rallied from a 20-3 halftime deficit to score a key conference win over Texas A&M. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden was huge in Saturday’s victory, throwing for 438 yards and two scores. Receiver Justin Blackmon also came up big, catching 11 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown. The Cowboys are off in Week 5 and return back to the field on Oct. 8 against Kansas.
3. Texas (3-0) – The Longhorns were off on Saturday, but remained in the spotlight due to conference realignment. Although Texas discussed heading to the Pac-12, it will stay in the Big 12 – for now. Texas hits the road to open up conference play against Iowa State this week. The Cyclones defeated the Longhorns 28-21 in Austin last season, so Texas will out for revenge, but has to be careful not to overlook Iowa State with Oklahoma ahead in Week 6.
4. Texas A&M (2-1) –For the third year in a row, the Aggies blew a halftime lead against Oklahoma State. Texas A&M held a commanding 20-3 lead after the first two quarters, but turnovers allowed Oklahoma State to jump back into the game. The Aggies also struggled to find an answer for Cowboys’ quarterback Brandon Weeden. There are several weeks remaining to sort out the Big 12 race, but this is a slight setback for a team that had hoped to make a BCS bowl trip this year.
5. Baylor (3-0) – The Bears completed the non-conference portion of their 2011 schedule with a 56-31 win over Rice. Quarterback Robert Griffin was stellar once again, throwing for 338 yards and five touchdowns. Griffin has thrown more touchdowns (13) than incompletions (12) through three games and has emerged as one of the frontrunners to win the Heisman. The Bears open Big 12 play with a road date at Kansas State. Baylor has never beat Kansas State in Manhattan.
6. Missouri (2-2) – The Tigers jumped out to an early lead, but couldn’t keep Oklahoma’s powerful offense down for long. Missouri quarterback James Franklin turned in a solid performance, completing 16 of 33 throws for 291 yards and one touchdown. He also notched 103 yards and two scores on the ground. The Tigers have two respectable losses (Arizona State and Oklahoma) and head into the bye week with plenty to build upon. Missouri will return to the Big 12 play on Oct. 8 at Kansas State.
7. Kansas State (3-0) – Thanks to a surprising victory in Miami, the Wildcats make the biggest jump in the power rankings, moving from last to seventh. After a sluggish performance in the opener against Eastern Kentucky, it appears Kansas State has made big progress over the last three weeks. Coach Bill Snyder continues to work miracles in Manhattan, and Saturday’s victory was one of the most surprising scores from Week 4. However, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for Kansas State, as Baylor and Missouri visit Manhattan the next two weeks.
8. Iowa State (3-0) – The Cyclones did not play in Week 4. Iowa State will be back on the gridiron this Saturday, hosting Texas in a battle of undefeated teams. The bye week came at a good time for Iowa State, as quarterback Steele Jantz was banged up in the victory over Connecticut. The Cyclones need Jantz at 100 percent if they want to make it two in a row over the Longhorns.
9. Texas Tech (3-0) – The Red Raiders take a bit of a dive in the power rankings this week, thanks to a 35-34 win over Nevada. Texas Tech needed a last-minute touchdown pass on fourth and goal from quarterback Seth Doege to beat the Wolf Pack. The good news is the Raiders are undefeated entering Big 12 play. However, receiver Darrin Moore suffered an ankle injury against Nevada and his status for Saturday’s game against Kansas is uncertain.
10. Kansas (2-1) – The Jayhawks had their only bye week of the season on Saturday and will be back in action against Texas Tech this week. The Kansas defense needs to find some answers, especially after allowing 66 points to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets are rolling on offense, the Jayhawks still need to be better on this side of the ball in conference play.