The updated Big 12 Power Rankings following Week 9:
1. TCU (previous ranking: 2): The Horned Frogs jump back to the top spot for one simple reason. The rest of the way, at quarterback, Baylor will be rolling with a true freshman, who, while talented, has yet to take a meaningful snap in his college career. TCU, meanwhile, will be rolling with maybe the best player in the country in Trevone Boykin.
2. Baylor (1): The Bears no longer have Seth Russell. But last I checked, they still have Corey Coleman, Shock Linwood and Spencer Drango. In other words, this offense is still loaded. Jarrett Stidham is bound to endure growing pains, but he was also the No. 3 QB recruit in the country for a reason. The Bears -- that includes Stidham -- are talented enough to overcome Russell's absence and Stidham's inexperience down the stretch.
3. Oklahoma State (3): Once again, Oklahoma State found a way to prevail in the fourth quarter on the road. J.W. Walsh stole the show off the bench and reeled off a 64-yard run and a 73-yard touchdown pass to cap a flurry of a finish in a 70-53 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday. The Cowboys, 8-0 for just the third time in school history, now have road victories in Austin, Morgantown and Lubbock, which is no small feat. They have a chance to win the Big 12 title in Stillwater, where TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all must travel in November.
4. Oklahoma (4): Since falling to Texas, the Sooners have outscored the opposition 180-34, including a 62-7 victory over the Jayhawks on Saturday. Although the Texas loss looks even worse and more inexplicable after the Longhorns laid an egg in Ames, Oklahoma remains in the playoff picture with games against Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State ahead.
5. Texas Tech (6): The Red Raiders had every opportunity to nab the biggest Big 12 win of the Kliff Kingsbury era, after being up 38-28 at halftime. Instead, Oklahoma State scored touchdowns on four straight possessions in the second half of another Red Raider defensive capitulation. Patrick Mahomes, Jakeem Grant and DeAndre Washington are fabulous playmakers, but Tech is never going to be a factor in the Big 12 until it can figure out how to get stops, especially in critical moments.
6. West Virginia (7): The sky is always darkest before the dawn -- even in Morgantown. The Mountaineers might be 0-4 in the conference, but they just completed the most difficult four-game gauntlet anyone has had to endure in college football so far this season. The Mountaineers have five very winnable games coming up. But after four straight losses, mentally, can they get off the mat in time?
7. Iowa State (9): What a big night it was for Paul Rhoads, who finally beat Texas after back-to-back gut-wrenching losses to the Longhorns. The Cyclones didn't just beat the Horns; they beat them down in a resounding, 24-0 shutout. QB Joel Lanning played a clean game in his first career start, while Mike Warren piled up another 157 yards on the ground. Given the remaining schedule, Iowa State is still a long-shot to become bowl eligible. But this performance could be the one that ultimately gives Rhoads a shot at another season.
8. Texas (5): Last year, Charlie Strong declared that Texas would never again lose five games; all it took was one year for that proclamation to fall short. Texas looked completely dreadful in Ames, with an offensive game plan that basically unraveled into snapping the ball to either Jerrod Heard or Tyrone Swoopes and hoping for a first-down scramble. The goodwill Strong had built up with the fan base after the win over Oklahoma could begin to diminish -- if it hasn't already -- unless the Longhorns rally down the stretch to sneak into a bowl game. Given the way they played at Iowa State, that outcome seems dubious.
9. Kansas State (8): National pundits have been speculating as to whether this could be Bill Snyder's final year, as if Snyder had lost his coaching mojo during this four-game losing streak. After 38 wins over the past four years, this was always going to be a rebuilding year for Snyder -- and that was before K-State lost starting QB Jesse Ertz and secondary stalwarts Dante Barnett and Danzel McDaniel to season-ending injuries. The Wildcats can still grind their way to a bowl, and they can begin to change the conversation about them by circling the wagons Thursday against Baylor.
10. Kansas (10): The Jayhawks' first men's basketball exhibition game is Wednesday against Pittsburgh State. Winter is coming -- and not a day too soon in Lawrence.