By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 5 Big 12 Power Rankings
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1. Oklahoma (4-0) – The final tuneup before Texas was an easy one for the Sooners. The offense posted 655 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Landry Jones and his 425 yards through the air. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half and held the Cardinals to only 214 yards of total offense. Linebacker/safety Tony Jefferson turned in one of the top defensive performances of the week in the Big 12, picking off three Ball State passes. The Sooners appear to be hitting on all cylinders as the Red River Rivalry approaches in Week 6.
2. Oklahoma State (4-0) – Thanks to a bye week, the Cowboys had some extra time to enjoy their 30-29 win against Texas A&M. Oklahoma State is back in action this Saturday, as Kansas visits Stillwater. The Cowboys have won six out of the last seven in this series, including a dominating 48-14 effort last season. Considering the Jayhawks’ struggles on defense, Oklahoma State’s offense should post big numbers on Saturday.
3. Texas (4-0) – After losing 28-21 to Iowa State last year, the Longhorns had revenge on their mind on Saturday. Texas got a solid effort from all three phases of the game to cruise to a 37-14 victory over the Cyclones. Quarterbacks Case McCoy and David Ash combined to complete 14 of 24 throws for 255 yards and two scores. The defense forced three Iowa State turnovers, while a blocked punt resulted in a special teams’ touchdown. Even though the Longhorns were down last season, they still played Oklahoma tough and will bring a much-improved team to the Cotton Bowl this year.
4. Kansas State (4-0) – The Wildcats are easily the biggest surprise in the Big 12. One week after winning at Miami, Kansas State opened up conference play with a 36-35 win over Baylor. The defense entered the season as a question mark, but has made key stops in back-to-back games to secure victories. Linebacker Arthur Brown is finally living up to the hype surrounding him out of high school. Quarterback Collin Klein isn’t flashy, but continues to make plays. Can Kansas State keep up the momentum? The Wildcats host Missouri in a key Big 12 contest this Saturday.
5. Texas A&M (2-2) – Go ahead and throw out those preseason hopes of making a BCS bowl. The Aggies have tumbled in the power rankings over the last two weeks, after watching big leads slip away in the second half. Texas A&M held a 35-17 advantage at halftime over Arkansas, but was unable to hold on and lost 42-38. The Aggies have had success getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but the secondary has been torched and ranks last nationally in pass defense. Texas A&M’s defensive backfield will be tested once again this Saturday, as the Aggies travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.
6. Baylor (3-1) – Three costly turnovers in Saturday’s 36-35 defeat to Kansas State doomed the Bears’ chances of beginning the year 4-0. Baylor got another stellar effort from quarterback Robert Griffin, throwing for 346 yards and five touchdowns. However, it was Griffin’s first interception of the 2011 season in the fourth quarter that allowed Kansas State to kick the winning field goal. Baylor should have a chance to rebound back into the win column with Iowa State visiting Waco this Saturday.
7. Missouri (2-2) – The Tigers did not play in Week 5 and will return to action this Saturday against Kansas State. Missouri has dominated the recent series, as it has won the last five games against the Wildcats. The Tigers need to pickup wins in the next two weeks, especially with a difficult stretch – Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech – waiting later in the season.
8. Iowa State (3-1) – After beating Texas last season, the Cyclones had hopes of knocking off the Longhorns once again. However, Iowa State’s battle with the turnover bug this year was showcased again, and Texas rolled to an easy 37-14 victory. Quarterback Steele Jantz threw for 251 yards and one touchdown in the loss, but tossed another pick, which gives him four in the last two games. Iowa State has a difficult road trip ahead this week, as they travel to Waco to play Baylor.
9. Texas Tech (4-0) – The Red Raiders are 4-0, but they are still the Big 12’s mystery team. Wins over Texas State, New Mexico, Nevada and Kansas haven’t provided much insight into how good this team is. However, Texas Tech will get a showcase to make a jump in the power rankings the next two weeks, as Texas A&M and Kansas State visit Lubbock. Wide receiver Darrin Moore did not play against Kansas due to leg injuries he suffered against Nevada. Moore’s health will be critical to Texas Tech’s chances of beating Texas A&M this week.
10. Kansas (2-2) – After four weeks, it’s clear the Jayhawks are an improved team. However, they aren’t quite ready to challenge for a bowl game. Kansas jumped out to a 20-0 lead over Texas Tech, but its defense was unable to keep the Red Raiders’ offense silent for the rest of the game. A positive for the Jayhawks offense has been the rushing attack, which ranks 11th nationally after four games. Kansas travels to Oklahoma State this Saturday.