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Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Big 12 power rankings: Week 1

By Brandon Chatmon

The season's first weekend is behind us and we know more about these teams than we did a week ago. There's been some moment in the power rankings, which will likely become a weekly occurrence with the Big 12 race so wide open this season.

1. Oklahoma State (1-0, last week 1): The Cowboys' defense was impressive in the season-opening 21-3 win against Mississippi State, recording three sacks and grabbing two interceptions. Defense has always been the question mark in Stillwater. If OSU’s defense continues to rise under new defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, the Cowboys will be tough to beat.

2. Oklahoma (1-0, last week 3): As impressive as OSU’s defense was, the Sooners’ D might have been even more eye-opening. The Sooners looked fast, physical and aggressive as they shut out a quality Louisiana-Monroe team. Add a solid debut from redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight, and OU continues to make a case to sit atop this list. West Virginia comes to town this week to start the Sooners’ Big 12 schedule.

3. Texas (1-0, last week 4): The Longhorns scored 42 points and gained 459 yards in the second half, averaging 10.67 yards per play, after a relatively slow start against New Mexico State. It was a pretty dominating performance in the game’s final 30 minutes. All the skill-position talent on the roster was on full display against the Aggies. This week’s trip to Provo, Utah will be a stern test for the Longhorns.

4.  Baylor (1-0, last week 5): Easily the Big 12’s most impressive team in Week 1 -- against Wofford. Nonetheless, the Bears looked to be in midseason form offensively and had a strong defensive showing against their FCS opponent. Quarterback Bryce Petty looks as good as advertised, and Lache Seastrunk continued to make game-altering plays. They looked every bit like a Big 12 title contender.

5. TCU (0-1, last week 2): Is it fair to drop TCU three spots after a hard-fought loss to SEC power LSU? No, not really, but a loss is a loss. Nonetheless, there’s no major difference between OSU, OU, UT, BU and TCU. All five squads could win this league without it being considered a big surprise. The Horned Frogs lost, but there were some reasons to be encouraged, particularly the explosive performance from running back B.J. Catalon.

6. Texas Tech (1-0, last week 8): The Red Raiders ride the arm of Baker Mayfield to sixth on this list after the walk-on true freshman passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns (and added a rushing TD) to earn Big 12 offensive player of the week honors. It's clear Kliff Kingsbury has brought enthusiasm and excitement to his alma mater.

7. West Virginia (1-0, last week 7): The Mountaineers escaped with a 24-17 win against William & Mary but were far from impressive. But a win is a win, and WVU has the chance to impress when they visit Norman, Okla. this Saturday to face the Sooners. Win against OU and all is forgotten.

8. Kansas State (0-1, last week 6): Everyone knows what happened to the Wildcats on Friday. Nobody seems to know why. KSU’s loss to North Dakota State was the story of the weekend, and it’s become clear the Wildcats aren’t on the level of last year’s squad. Anyone believing KSU should be higher on this list need only to watch NDSU’s final drive to secure the upset.

9. Iowa State (0-1, last week 9): The other Big 12 team to start with a loss to an FCS team, the Cyclones will have to regroup quickly. ISU’s defense was nonexistent in allowing 457 yards in a 28-20 loss to Northern Iowa. A bye week comes at a good time for the Cyclones, who need to shore up a defense that was solid in 2012.

10. Kansas (0-0, last week 10): The Jayhawks will finally kick off their 2013 season against South Dakota on Saturday as the Jake Heaps era begins in Lawrence, Kan.