*Caution: the contents of this article are hot and may cause skin or general irritation*
When you take a look at this week's AP poll a few Big XII names jump out at you. At the top there's the usual suspects Baylor and TCU. Then you scroll a little ways and see Oklahoma State. You scratch your goatee for a moment, then see they're undefeated and you know who they are so I guess that's fine. Scroll a little further and HA!
Hey there OU! BUT if you scroll all the way down to the all important Others receiving votes section you will find Texas Tech. Tech has not been ranked at any point this season. Not even after beating then-ranked Arkansas on the road by double digits. Though six weeks Texas Tech has a more impressive resume than every other school in the Big XII not named Baylor or TCU.
Iowa State: I don't think I have to go into much detail about this after Saturday's game. Usually 35 point victories where the team decides that the back up quarterback's back up is doing too much damage tell the whole story. Yeah I'd say this is the case.
Kansas: Don't worry Kansas fans you don't have to worry about football anymore. It's basketball season!
Kansas State: Now this team is the most perplexing of all in the conference. After scraping by Louisiana Tech at home by six points, the Wildcats hung around and lost a close one in Stillwater on a last minute field goal. The week after that painful loss the purple cats jumped on TCU early and took an 18 point lead into halftime against a top five team in the country. The second half was much more cruel to KSU as they were outscored 35-10 in the second half. What was most amazing about this game was that KANSAS STATE WAS STARTING A WIDE RECEIVER AT QUARTERBACK! Since there were no other QBs on the depth chart, Bill Snyder was forced to go with Kody Cook under center. Though he couldn't throw terribly well, Cook rushed for over 100 yards against the premier defense in the conference.
They rank 58 in the nation in rushing yards per game, and 115 in passing yards per game. In defensive efficiency the Wildcats rank 64 with 55.3 (from 1-100). TTU is 112 with 24.9, but you can do that when your offense is the second most efficient in the country.
Oklahoma: Now this is the section where I'm going to get lots of hate mail from Sooner fans so why not add more fuel to their fires? I like this gif quite a bit.
I'm betting that loss will sting for a while. Oklahoma has a couple of impressive wins, West Virginia more so than Tennessee. Against West Virginia OU laid down the law by stomping the Mountaineers in a 20 point home victory against a team who was ranked at the time. Stoops' defense held a potent pass offense under 200 yards and forced three interceptions. However the Sooner defense was gouged on the ground fro 196 rushing yards. In both of those impressive victories Baker Mayfield has posted a raw QBR under 51.
The Tennessee win wasn't as impressive seeing what the team did in the first three quarters. OU looked lost for the majority of the game both offensively and defensively but to their credit completely turned it around in the fourth quarter and two overtime periods. OU's run defense was eviscerated last week by Texas' running backs and by their mobile quarterback; OU's pass defense was exposed by Tulsa's 427 yards in week 3. Their passing game on offense has been boom(er) or bust(er) but when he's on Mayfield is hard to stop.
Oklahoma's ground game isn't nearly as successful as we have seen from them in past years. Currently ranked 98 in rushing yards per game, the Sooners also average under four yards per carry. While the Texas game isn't an accurate picture on its own of OU, it helps paint a clearer picture of Oklahoma being rated a bit higher than they should have been.
Oklahoma State: This is one of the most enigmatic ranked teams in recent memory. OSU is currently ranked 16 in the most recent Associated Press poll. Their signature wins include an overtime victory in Morgantown against WVU, a last minute game winning field goal against Kansas State, and a very strange win over Texas with some questionable officiating.
Nobody is sure quite what to make of this team including me. Mason Rudolph, like many other Big XII Qbs, has been highly inconsistent. For a team that ranks lower than 100 in rushing yards per game, a consistent quarterback is a must have. OSU's strength of schedule grades out as 57th hardest in the nation, which makes sense as they have yet to reach the meat of their schedule. The Cowboys have yet to find an identity this season and it has to make you wonder if they will be able to keep up their winning ways against better teams without a go to player.
Texas: For the Texas Longhorns last week's victory over OU could not have come at a better time. Texas' lone win before Oklahoma was against Rice. That's it. To open the Charlie Strong's second season the Longhorns in South Bend to face a tough Notre Dame team. On national TV UT was utterly embarrassed. Tyrone Swoopes couldn't complete any pass more than 10 yards downfield. Their running game was null and void, and the hyped defense stopped the Irish as well as a a wet tissue paper.
Since the Quarterback change from Swoopes to Heard Texas' offense has taken a big step forward. Heard's quickness in the pocket and on runs adds a more effective wrinkle to the offense that tried to use that wrinkle with Swoopes. However neither QB can pass effectively with a combined 52.9 completion percentage and sitting at 113th in the nation in total passing yards. Longhorn QBs have been sacked 19 times, tied for fifth most in the nation, which shouldn't be the case when your team has such mobile quarterbacks. Texas won't be competing for anything this year with an offense this inept, no matter how good their defense might be.
West Virginia: Though it's early in conference play, what we've seen from West Virginia so far hasn't been great. After dominating three lesser programs at home the Mountaineers have lost their first two conference games against the schools in Oklahoma. It appears as though West Virginia was misleading the nation with play against weaker programs and can't hang as well with tougher competition.
Texas Tech is better than all of these teams. None of the ranked teams have played either of the two conference power houses and their ranking will drop once they are exposed by those teams. TTU lost a close game against an albeit weakened TCU team at the hands of a tipped pass. In only one game this season has Texas Tech looked outmatched. That game was against the second best team in the nation. Even then Texas Tech hung with them until halftime.
The Red Raiders have already played the two toughest games of the year and have the ability to finish the highest they have in the non divisional Big XII. Texas Tech plays OSU at home but goes on the road to Norman. Hopefully in two weeks Texas Tech will prove me right and play like the third best team in the Big XII. Where would you rank them?