By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 12 Big 12 Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. Oklahoma State (10-1) – The Cowboys watched their national title hopes likely end with a 37-31 overtime loss to Iowa State. However, thanks to Oklahoma’s loss to Baylor, the Pokes keep the top spot in Athlon’s Big 12 power rankings. Quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 476 yards and three scores against the Cyclones, but also tossed three picks, including a costly one in the second overtime. The rushing attack was virtually invisible, as Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith combined for just 60 yards. With losses by several teams in the top 10 in Week 12, the Cowboys can’t be counted out of the race for the national championship. However, they no longer control their destiny and will need a lot of help.
2. Oklahoma (8-2) – Coming into Week 12, the Sooners still held slim national title hopes. However, any dreams of getting to New Orleans ended on Saturday night with a 45-38 loss to Baylor. The Sooners recorded 605 yards of offense against the Bears, but three turnovers proved to be costly. Also, after scoring to pull within one (38-37) with less than a minute remaining, Oklahoma planned on going for two and the win, but a false start forced coach Bob Stoops to kick the extra point. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin was a handful for the Sooners’ defense all night, as he tossed the game-winning score with less than 30 seconds left. Oklahoma hosts Iowa State next Saturday.
3. Kansas State (9-2) – The Wildcats won their fourth straight game over Texas, holding on for a 17-13 victory on Saturday night. Quarterback Collin Klein has been a one-man machine on offense this season, but he was held mostly in check by the Longhorns’ defense. Klein threw for only 72 yards and one touchdown, while mustering only three yards on 26 rushing attempts. With the offense struggling, it was up to Kansas State’s defense to deliver. The Wildcats forced two turnovers and never allowed Texas’ rushing game to get on track. Kansas State still has a shot to earn a BCS bowl, but will need a victory against Iowa State in the season finale to keep those hopes alive.
4. Baylor (7-3) – Behind quarterback Robert Griffin and coach Art Briles, the Bears continue to elevate the program. Saturday’s 45-38 win over Oklahoma was the first in school history against the Sooners and with games against Texas Tech and Texas remaining, the Bears could finish the year 9-3. Baylor's defense gave up 605 yards to Oklahoma, but forced three turnovers. Griffin’s Heisman hopes are on the rise after the victory, as he posted 551 overall yards and four scores. The Bears take on Texas Tech in a neutral site affair in Cowboys Stadium this Saturday.
5. Missouri (6-5) – A late defensive stand kept Texas Tech out of the endzone and preserved the Tigers’ 31-27 victory for an all-important sixth win for bowl eligibility. With running back Henry Josey out for the year due to a knee injury, Kendial Lawrence has to pickup the slack on the ground and he finished with 94 yards on 15 attempts. Quarterback James Franklin also pitched in, rushing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Missouri played Saturday’s game without coach Gary Pinkel, who was suspended due to an arrest earlier in the week. Pinkel will rejoin the team for next week’s game against Kansas.
6. Texas (6-4) – Mack Brown made significant staff changes after a disappointing 2010 season, largely designed to help spark a struggling offense. Although the Longhorns will go bowling, question marks still exist about the offense. In Saturday’s 17-13 loss to Kansas State, quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy combined to complete 15 of 32 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown, while also tossing two picks. Also, Texas has managed only 18 points in its last two games. There’s a lot of youth, so there is reason to expect more production in 2012. However, with games against Texas A&M and Baylor remaining, the Longhorns are going to need to find some production to prevent a 6-6 finish.
7. Texas A&M (6-5) – The Aggies snapped a three-game losing streak, blasting Kansas 61-7 to get bowl eligible with a 6-5 record with one game remaining. Running back Cyrus Gray had a short afternoon of work (94 yards and three scores), but suffered a shoulder injury and his status for Thursday night’s game against Texas is uncertain. Texas A&M has been one of the most disappointing teams in college football, beginning the year with preseason top 10 expectations. However, the Aggies are going to limp into the postseason with a 6-6 or 7-5 record. With the move to the SEC, Thursday night’s Thanksgiving matchup against Texas could be the final game between these two schools for a while.
8. Iowa State (6-4) – An unpredictable college football weekend kicked off with the Cyclones’ 37-31 upset over Oklahoma State. Iowa State was a heavy underdog, but battled back after a 24-7 deficit early in the third quarter. Jared Barnett is 3-0 as the Cyclones’ starting quarterback and was the star of the game for the offense, throwing for 376 yards and two scores, while adding 84 on the ground. The victory over the Cowboys should allow Iowa State to make its second bowl appearance in the last three seasons. The Cyclones play at Oklahoma next Saturday.
9. Texas Tech (5-6) – The Red Raiders continued their slide with a 31-27 loss to Missouri. Texas Tech had a chance to score the winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining, but quarterback Seth Doege’s pass was tipped and intercepted. The 27 points scored by the Red Raiders were the most since the Oct. 22 upset win over Oklahoma. However, the defense was unable to find an answer for Missouri quarterback James Franklin, who finished with 312 overall yards and four touchdowns. Texas Tech has to win next week against Baylor to get bowl eligible.
10. Kansas (2-9) – A week after a near upset against Baylor, the Jayhawks are headed back in the wrong direction. Saturday’s 61-7 loss to Texas A&M extended Kansas’ losing streak to nine games and was easily the most lopsided defeat of the season. The Jayhawks collected only 197 yards, turned the ball over three times and allowed six sacks of quarterback Jordan Webb. Kansas closes out the 2011 season next Saturday against Missouri. With the Tigers moving to the SEC, this could be the final meeting between these two schools for the foreseeable future. There’s also a lot of uncertainty surrounding coach Turner Gill. The Jayhawks have been awful this season and while there’s some promising young talent, they may not be much better in 2012.