Rant Sports Big 12 Power Poll: October 22-27

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Big 12 Power Poll

Big 12
Jerome Miron: US Presswire

Here we are, halfway through the college football season, and the race for the Big 12 conference crown is narrowing down. Each week, another team seems to drop out of the race while others secure their paths.

Who will be standing when it’s all said and done?

Many thought that the West Virginia Mountaineers’ match-up with the Kansas State Wildcats over the weekend in Morgantown very well could determine the ultimate conference champion.

But the game that many thought would be among the best in the country proved to be yet another blowout. With the Wildcats dismantling the Mountaineers on the road, they are clearly the team to beat in the conference. At least for the time being.

We all know how quickly things can change. If you don’t, just ask the Mountaineers who two weeks ago were a top five team and in the driver’s seat to win the Big 12. Now, that seems like a long shot.

Are there any teams that will compete with the Wildcats?

The Oklahoma Sooners sole loss of the season came at the hands of KSU and Heisman contender Collin Klein.

What about the Texas Tech Red Raiders? With their new-found defensive game, what are their chances to win the Big 12?

Many could argue that, top-to-bottom the Big 12 is one of the best conferences in football this season (as many believe they were last season as well).

As of right now, the battle for the conference crown is wide open, but the gap is closing quickly as the season goes on.

Here is a look at this week’s Rant Sports Big 12 Power Poll.

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No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks

Matthew Emmons: US Presswire

Last week: No. 10

The Kansas Jayhawks remain winless in the conference so far this season, but the good news for Jayhawks fans is that basketball isn't far away. It will be interesting to see if head-coach Charlie Wies can ever turn things around in Lawrence, but he certainly has his work cut out for him.

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No. 9 Baylor Bears

Brendan Maloney: US Presswire

Last week: No. 9

The Baylor Bears nearly knocked off the Texas Longhorns in Austin this weekend, but once again, their defense (or lack thereof) proved to be their achilles heal. Until Art Briles decides to make that side of the ball a priority, the Bears will never earn their way to the upper echelon of the Big 12 conference. He has done some great things in Waco, including developing one of the best offenses in the country, but the Bears have proven time and again that without a defense, offense doesn't really matter-even in this pass-happy conference.

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No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones

Richard Rowe: US Presswire

Last week: No. 8

The Iowa State Cyclones traveled to Stillwater this weekend where they fell to the Oklahoma State Cowboys by 3 touchdowns. Though this ISU team isn't the push-over Cyclones team from recent years, they still have a long way to go in conference play if they want to compete. They are certainly a team that will sneak up and pull some upsets, but they aren't yet a title contender.

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No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs

Shanna Lockwood: US Presswire

Last week: No. 7

The TCU Horned Frogs lost a heart-breaker in triple over-time to the Red Raiders over the weekend. Though new starting QB Trevone Boykin is playing very well and this is a solid football team, they are still a very young and inexperienced team. Nevertheless, they will have many chances to move up the conference rankings over the next several weeks, and this team is proving that they should be even stronger over the next couple of seasons.

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No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Richard Rowe: US Presswire

Last week: No. 6

Before I begin, let me preface this by saying that I was prepared to move the Cowboys up two spot from last week to the No. 4 spot in this week's Power Poll, jumping Texas and West Virginia, until bad news came out of Stillwater after their 31-10 victory over the Cyclones this weekend.

The Cowboys are a good football team and they have been playing extremely well. However, reports that starting quarterback J.W. Walsh is now out for the season and Wes Lunt may or may not be 100% make them a big question mark. Though Lunt was the starter and did well before his injury, who knows how effective he will be, and he still has not faced much competition. If Lunt can play, and play well, I expect the Cowboys to make a jump in the polls next week.

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No. 5 Texas Longhorns

Brendan Maloney: US Presswire

Last week: No. 5

The Texas Longhorns are probably ranked too high in the Power Poll this week, but they benefit from Oklahoma State's uncertainty. However, they did show that they were able to bounce back from their devastating loss at the hands of the arch-rival Sooners two weekends ago, so they deserve a bit of credit for that.

Though the Horns defeated the Baylor Bears in Austin in a shoot-out last Saturday, they are still not playing defense whatsoever. It appears that this season will be the third straight disappointing one for fans, but there are some bright spots. The offense is doing well, particularly the ground game, and David Ash is doing a great job of managing the team, but again, the lack of defense despite great talent is perplexing. The Longhorns will not get back to what they feel is their rightful place on the landscape of college football until their defensive issues are fixed, and there is no indication of when that will be.

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No. 4 West Virginia Mountaineers

Charles LeClaire: US Presswire

Last week: No. 4

West Virginia appears to be in a freefall, losing by a total of 76 points over the last two weeks while being held to 14 per game. To be honest, they too are likely ranked too high in this week's Power Poll, but like Texas benefit from OSU's misfortune. I kept the Mountaineers ahead of Texas, because of their head-to-head win over the Horns, but they are not playing well whatsoever-on either side of the ball.

If they are going to turn the ship around, it needs to be done quickly.

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No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders

Shanna Lockwood: US Presswire

Last week: No. 3

What a difference a strong defense makes. Under Tommy Tubberville, the Texas Tech Red Raiders are still fielding the explosive offense for which they have long been known, but now they are playing solid defense as well. As a result Tech is one of the most well-rounded teams in the Big 12. On Saturday night, they defeated the TCU Horned Frogs in triple overtime in Ft. Worth, and have proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Big 12 play.

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No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners

Matthew Emmons: US Presswire

Last week: No. 2

The Oklahoma Sooners are still clearly in the hunt for yet another conference title, though it is going to take some help from other teams. Over the weekend, they manhandled the Kansas Jayhawks, which is to be expected, but they have been looking strong since falling to the Wildcats earlier this season. Up next, they get a conference break and will face a big test as they host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Norman this weekend. We will know a lot more about the Sooners (or perhaps more so about the Irish) after the weekend.

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No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats

Charles LeClaire: US Presswire

Last week: No. 1

There is no doubt who that the Kansas State Wildcats are the best team in the Big 12 conference. They've done all that has been asked of them, including winning on the road at both Norman and Morgantown. This weekend, they again humbled the West Virginia Mountaineers to the tune of 55-14. While many thought KSU would escape with a victory, much like they did in Norman, I doubt many thought they would win so decisively. Clearly, they are the team to beat in this conference and honestly may be one of the top two or three teams in the country.

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