Athlon reviews the first half of the Big 12 season.
The first half of the Big 12 season is in the books. It’s been a strong first seven weeks for the conference, as four teams are ranked in the Associated Press poll and only one team is out of bowl contention (Kansas). The Big 12 still has a legitimate national title contender, along with two players who could get into the Heisman mix (Geno Smith and Collin Klein). It’s still a wide-open battle to win the conference, but Kansas State, West Virginia and Oklahoma appear to be the frontrunners. However, Texas Tech cannot be ignored after last week’s win over the Mountaineers.
Landry Jones hopes to maintain momentum against Texas
Once a kingmaker in the Big 12, Texas-Oklahoma this week almost seems to be an undercard for other matchups in the league in the coming weeks. While the Red River Rivalry is the top game in the Big 12 this week, Kansas State-West Virginia next week may do more to determine the conference champion.
Thanks to Saturday's 48-45 win in Austin, it's clear West Virginia is ready to challenge for a national title. The Mountaineers are in the thick of the BCS title discussion, while quarterback Geno Smith is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy. Not far behind West Virginia is Kansas State, who easily beat Kansas in Week 6. Oklahoma rebounded from losing to the Wildcats with a key road win over Texas Tech, while Iowa State knocked off TCU.
Week 5 provided plenty of excitement in the Big 12. West Virginia and Baylor met for a 70-63 shootout in Morgantown, while Texas and Oklahoma State matched up for a thriller in Stillwater. The Longhorns rank as Athlon's No. 1 team, but the top three aren't separated by much.
Week 4 provided a few surprises in Big 12 play. Kansas State shocked Oklahoma in Norman, allowing the Wildcats to jump from No. 5 in Athlon's power rankings to No. 2. Kansas State is one of the least flashy teams in the nation but always finds a way to win. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State had a bye week, while West Virginia knocked off Maryland and TCU beat Virginia.
Non-conference play highlights the majority of the college football action this Saturday in the Big 12. Two teams take on opponents from the ACC (Virginia vs. TCU and Maryland vs. West Virginia), while Kansas travels to Northern Illinois and Baylor takes on Louisiana-Monroe. The biggest game of the Week 4 slate in the Big 12 is Oklahoma hosting Kansas State.
Week 3 featured a pedestrian slate of games in the Big 12. TCU-Kansas was the only conference game, while Texas easily handled Ole Miss on the road and Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma State cruised to victories. The Horned Frogs were victorious in their first Big 12 game, but the Jayhawks showed signs of progress in defeat.
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
Week 3 is not the most glamorous slate of action in the Big 12. TCU-Kansas is the only conference game, while Texas-Ole Miss is the only other matchup featuring two BCS teams. Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas Tech play teams from non-AQ conferences, while West Virginia, Baylor and Iowa State have games against FCS foes. It's a light week of action, but there are still plenty of storylines and matchups to watch this Saturday.
After going undefeated in Week 1, the Big 12 wasn't so lucky in Week 2. Oklahoma State fell on the road to Arizona, while Kansas suffered a surprising defeat to Rice. Oklahoma and Texas had easy victories over bad competition, and TCU opened a renovated stadium with an easy victory over Grambling. Iowa State moved to 2-0 with an ugly, but crucial 9-6 victory over Iowa.
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
The competition wasn't particularly impressive, but Big 12 teams finished Week 1 with a 9-0 record. Eight Big 12 teams are in action this Saturday, with Baylor and West Virginia on a bye week. Non-conference play continues in Week 2, but Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State have key tests against BCS foes.