By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 11 Big 12 Power Rankings
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1. Oklahoma State (10-0) – Two to go. That’s the motto coach Mike Gundy has to keep pushing, as the Cowboys are knocking on the doorstep for an appearance in the national title game. Oklahoma State demolished Texas Tech 66-6 on Saturday, earning its 10 win of 2011. Quarterback Brandon Weeden tossed five touchdowns against the Red Raiders, giving him 31 on the season. The Cowboys have now recorded back-to-back double-digit win seasons since 1987-88. Oklahoma State is back in action this Friday against Iowa State.
2. Oklahoma (8-1) – The bye week came at a good time for the Sooners. With receiver Ryan Broyles and running back Dominique Whaley sidelined for the remainder of the year with injuries, the open date gave Oklahoma a chance to rework its lineup. Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds will have to pickup more of the slack at receiver, while Roy Finch and quarterback Blake Bell will see more action on the ground. The Sooners still have national title hopes, but have to win their final three games, including a date at Oklahoma State on Dec. 3. Oklahoma plays at Baylor this Saturday.
3. Kansas State (8-2) – The Wildcats have been no stranger to close games this season. Kansas State used four overtimes to knock off Texas A&M 53-50, which was its eighth victory of the year and the most since winning 11 in 2003. Six of the Wildcats’ eight wins have been decided by seven points or less. Quarterback Collin Klein is having a solid season – and not getting enough credit nationally – throwing only 10 touchdowns, but adding 24 scores on the ground. The Wildcats are out of the mix for the Big 12 title, but still have a chance to play for a solid bowl game (likely Cotton), by beating Texas and Iowa State in the next two weeks.
4. Baylor (6-3) – The Bears have been trending up in the power rankings over the last two weeks. Thanks to losses by Texas and Texas A&M, along with a victory over Missouri, Baylor has jumped to No. 4. The Bears surprisingly needed overtime to beat Kansas on Saturday, eventually pulling out a 31-30 victory. Quarterback Robert Griffin kept his Heisman hopes alive, recording 415 yards and four total scores to knock off the Jayhawks. Baylor has a difficult finish to the season, hosting Oklahoma and Texas, while playing Texas Tech at Cowboys Stadium.
5. Missouri (5-5) – Considering what transpired with conference realignment, beating Texas has be a little special for Missouri this year. The Tigers knocked off the Longhorns 17-5 on Saturday, which was their first win over the Texas since 1997. The victory over the Longhorns didn't provide all good news for coach Gary Pinkel, as running back Henry Josey suffered a knee injury and will miss the remainder of the year. The Tigers are back in action this Saturday against Texas Tech and close out the year with Kansas on Nov. 26.
6. Texas (6-3) – One week after getting bowl eligible, the Longhorns suffered a 17-5 defeat to Missouri. The Longhorns turned in an awful performance on offense, but that was largely due to injuries to receiver Jaxon Shipley and running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. Quarterback David Ash completed only 13 of 29 passes for 158 yards and one interception. The Longhorns host Kansas State this Saturday, before closing the year with two Texas rivals – Texas A&M and Baylor.
7. Texas A&M (5-5) – The Aggies are one of the most disappointing teams in college football. Texas A&M was ranked among the top 10 teams in preseason polls, but have slumped to a 5-5 record. The Aggies suffered their fifth defeat of the year on Saturday, losing 53-50 to Kansas State in four overtimes. Texas A&M still needs one more victory to get bowl eligible, but that should happen this Saturday against Kansas. Considering the disappointing record, it’s no surprise head coach Mike Sherman is on the hot seat.
8. Iowa State (5-4) – The Cyclones had a bye in Week 11 and return to action this Saturday against Oklahoma State. Iowa State needs one more win to get bowl eligible, but it’s not going to be an easy road with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas State remaining. The Cyclones’ pass defense is going to be under fire on Friday night against the Cowboys, but it has held up relatively well this season, ranking 55th nationally.
9. Texas Tech (5-5) – Since beating Oklahoma on Oct. 22, the Red Raiders are 0-3 and have scored only 33 points. The defense has been a concern all year for Texas Tech and it ranks 114th nationally in scoring defense and 113th in yards allowed. With three straight losses, the Red Raiders are in jeopardy of missing a bowl game for the first time since 1999. Texas Tech plays at Missouri this Saturday.
10. Kansas (2-8) – Oh so close. The Jayhawks led Baylor 24-3 going into the fourth quarter, but was unable to hold onto the lead. The Bears stormed back with 21 points in the final quarter, and stopped Kansas’ two-point try to win in overtime. One bright spot for the Jayhawks was the play of running back Darrian Miller. He rushed for 147 yards on 24 attempts, while teammate James Sims added 64. Kansas is running out of time to record its first Big 12 victory this year, with Texas A&M and Missouri the only two remaining games.