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Big 12 Power Poll: September 30, 2012

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Big 12 Power Poll: September 30, 2012

Big 12
Jerome Miron: US Presswire

Seven Big 12 teams were in action this weekend, with six of them opening conference play against Big 12 foes.

Offense would be the story of the day as the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Baylor Bears posted an astounding 1,500 yards of total offense and 133 total points. The Mountaineers held on to win their first Big 12 match-up by a final score of 70-63.

Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith may have jumped to the front of the Heisman Trophy race after completing 88% of his passes for 656 yards and 8 touchdowns, all new school records.

While they didn't quite match the offensive output of that game, the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma State Cowboys had some offensive fireworks of their own in Stillwater, scoring 77 total points and racking up over 1,000 total yards. The Longhorns held on to win the game in dramatic fashion, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just 29 seconds left in the game to make the final score 41-36.

Sophomore quarterback David Ash had another solid performance on the night, completing 81% of his passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns, three of which were to receiver Jaxon Shipley.

Meanwhile, the Texas Tech Red Raiders scored 10 4th quarter points to defeat the Iowa State Cyclones by a score of 24-13 thanks to 3 touchdown passes by Seth Doege and a Tech defense that held Iowa State to just 189 yards and forced 4 timely turnovers.

Despite being held to just a little over 150 yards of offense in a sloppy, rain-soaked game, the TCU Horned Frogs won the Battle for the Iron Skillet over long-time rivals, the SMU Mustangs by a final score of 24-13, thanks primarily to 6 Mustang turnovers.

The Oklahoma Sooners, Kansas State Wildcats, and Kansas Jayhawks all had a bye weekend.

With so many teams matching up against one another in conference-play there was a bit of movement in the Rant Sports Big 12 rankings over the weekend, with a new team taking over the top spot.

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No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats

Matthew Emmons: US Presswire

Last week: No. 2

Despite having a bye week the Saturday after their upset win over the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, the Kansas State Wildcats have taken over the top spot in the Rant Sports Big 12 Power Poll.

At this point, the Wildcats are the most complete team in the Big 12 conference, dominating on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. They are likely the best coached team under Bill Snyder, and may be in the driver's seat to win the conference.

Up next, the Wildcats host in-state rival, the Kansas Jayhawks.

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No. 2 West Virginia Mountaineers

Rob Christy: US Presswire

Last week: No. 1

In their Big 12 debut, the West Virginia Mountaineers defeated the Baylor Bears in an absolute barn-burner, with the Wildcats posting over 800 yards of offense.

Geno Smith propelled his way to the top of the Heisman Trophy race in the process behind his 656 yards passing and 8 touchdowns. Their offense is simply amazing--likely the best in the country.

So why, you ask, have they dropped to the No. 2 spot in the Power Polls? It's easy. Their defense gave up 700 total yards and 63 points. That's not bad defense; that's no defense.

If West Virginia hopes to win the conference, they need to figure out a way to get their defense going.

Up next the Mountaineers head to Austin to take on the No. 9 Texas Longhorns in what should be their toughest test of the season so far and their first Big 12 road test.

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No. 3 Texas Longhorns

Mark D. Smith: US Presswire

Last week: No. 3

The Texas Longhorns traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on the upset-minded Oklahoma State Cowboys and their explosive offense. Texas would prove to outlast the Cowboys, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with less than 30 seconds in the game.

Once again it was the Longhorns offense, led by David Ash, that would carry the team. The sophomore quarterback once again showed a tremendous amount of poise throughout the game, and proved that he could lead his Horns to victory during clutch time, marching the team down the field to score on the final drive of the game.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns defense continued to struggle, giving up huge plays and missing tackles. If they hope to keep their winning streak alive, they have to get better defensively, particularly with the Mountaineers headed to town next weekend.

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No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners

Richard Rowe: US Presswire

Last week: 4

The Oklahoma Sooners had the weekend off after their loss to the Kansas State Wildcats last weekend. Next week, they will head to Lubbock to take on the red-hot Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Sooners have too much talent to count them out of the Big 12 race, but next week will prove to be a crucial one for the No. 17 Sooners.

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No. 5 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Mark D. Smith: US Presswire

Last week: No. 5

Despite their last minute loss to the Longhorns, the Oklahoma State Cowboys looked very good. Their offense, led by back-up J.W. Walsh (who may not be a back-up for long) is one of the most dangerous in the country. Their defense did well at slowing down the Longhorns' run game as well. Despite their 2-2 record, the Cowboys are an explosive, talented, and well-coached team that could make some noise in the Big 12 and play the spoiler role for some teams. Don't count them out just yet.

Up next, the Cowboys travel to Lawrence in two weeks to take on the struggling Kansas Jayhawks, which should give them a chance to right the ship.

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No. 6 Texas Tech Red Raiders

Reese Strickland: US Presswire

Last week: No. 7

The Texas Tech Red Raiders have moved up a spot in the Power Poll after they traveled to Aimes to take on the Iowa State Cylones. The Tech offense is impressive as usual, but it's their defense that is really raising eyebrows this season. Despite their solid play so far this year, they have been flying under the radar due primarily to weaker competition.

Up next, they host the Oklahoma Sooners, and a win over them could really force people to take notice.

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No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs

Jim Cowsert: US Presswire

Last week: No. 6

The TCU Horned Frogs dropped a spot in Big 12 Power Poll this week. Although they defeated the SMU Mustangs, their offense looked stagnant and could only muster 150 total yards. In their defense, the weather wasn't great for racking up yards, but regardless, they never found a rhythm against a mediocre-to-bad Mustang defense. On the other hand, the Horned Frogs defense did manage to force 6 turnovers.

Up next, the Horned Frogs host the Iowa State Cyclones, which should give them another chance to state their case.

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No. 8 Baylor Bears

Rob Chrisy: US Presswire

Last week: No. 8

Once again, the Baylor Bears offense was on fire. They torched the Mountaineers for 700 yards and 63 points. The reason they are not ranked higher is the same reason that West Virginia dropped a spot: defense.

In this league, where all the teams have good offenses, you cannot afford to fake it on defense. There will come a time that teams must be able to make big stops, and the Bears need to prove that they can do that.

Next week, Baylor has a bye weekend before the TCU Horned Frogs come to town. That game could be huge for the Bears, and will give them a chance to make a statement against the best defense they've seen this season.

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No. 9 Iowa State Cyclones

Reese Strickland: US Presswire

Last week: No. 9

The Iowa State Cyclones couldn't hold on against the Red Raiders this weekend, giving up 10 4th quarter points to fall 24-13. This Iowa State team, however, shouldn't give up yet. They are a solid, well-coached team that could pull some upsets this year.

Up next they travel to Ft. Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs. A win over a top-20 team could get their season back on track.

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No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks

John Rieger: US Presswire

Last week: No. 10

The 1-4 Jayhawks had the weekend off. Next Saturday they will head to Manhattan to take on their rivals, the Kansas State Wildcats. It could be a long season for Kansas, but head-coach Charlie Weiss is hoping to rebuild the team in his first year in Lawrence.