Rising: Iowa State linebackers
The Cyclones Jesse Smith led the Big 12 in tackles last season. You might want to count on a player from Iowa State duplicating the feat this year. The Big 12's top two tacklers are both on the second line of the Iowa State defense. A.J. Klein (52 tackles) is the conference leader and the only player in the Big 12 over 50 stops. Jake Knott made 13 tackles against Texas Tech to assume second place, with 48. Granted, for Iowa State's run defense, coach Paul Rhoads might want to have the defensive line snatch a few of those tackles. The Cyclones have allowed 970 rushing yards through five games, more than any team in the Big 12.
Falling: Kansas State penalties
You know all that garbage about Bill Snyder-coached teams being well-disciplined and not prone to mistakes? What a crock that is. Kansas State has committed fewer penalties than any team in the Big 12 so far in Snyder's second-year return to Kansas State. The Wildcats ranked fifth last season after a fourth-place finish in 2008, but in 2007, they were the Big 12's most penalized team.
So far, Kansas State has just 19 penalties, an average of 4.8 per game. The next-best team in the conference, Texas A&M, averages six per game. Kansas State's penalties have accounted for just 41 yards per game, almost a full five yards fewer than the second-place team.
Rising: Big 12 South receivers not named Ryan Broyles
Texas Tech's Lyle Leong had his second three-touchdown game of the season against Iowa State and tied Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon for the national lead in touchdown catches, with nine. Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller has the next-most touchdowns, with five, including two against Oklahoma State last Thursday.
But nationally, behind Blackmon, Leong and Hawaii's Kealoha Pilares, no receiver has more than six touchdowns through five weeks.
Falling: Ryan Broyles' streaks
Credit Texas' secondary. Broyles had 100 yards receiving in seven consecutive games and had caught at least nine passes in his past six games. Texas held him to just five catches and 36 yards, with no touchdowns. Despite Saturday's game, Broyles still has the national lead in receptions, with 46, but Missouri's T.J. Moe leads the nation in receptions per game, with 9.3.
Rising: Texas A&M rush defense
The Aggies ranked 91st nationally in rush defense last year, giving up 4.6 yards per carry and allowing opponents to score 29 touchdowns on the ground, which ranked 106th.
No such case this year. Texas A&M, even after giving up 101 yards and two touchdowns to Kendall Hunter on Thursday, ranks third nationally in rush defense, and is giving up just 2.25 yards per carry. The 274 total rushing yards allowed by Tim DeRuyter's defense is second nationally only to Kent State.
Falling: Texas' first downs
Texas' offense was rolling last year, collecting 330 first downs, less than only Texas A&M and Texas Tech in the Big 12 and fifth-most nationally. The loss of Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley hurt, but Texas has fallen off the map in the stat, ranking dead last in the Big 12 in first downs per game, with just over 18. That's five fewer per game than they averaged in 2009. Texas now ranks 86th nationally in first downs.
Five first downs may not sound like a lot, but add five more per game, and the Longhorns would rank in the national top 25.