1. Kansas State: Collin Klein is Vince Young with a brain--he’s a tough, physical, yardage-gulping
strider with an awkward but effective throwing motion. He’s also got Bill Snyder’s offense down to the point where it’s second nature, and he rarely
makes mistakes. Klein’s got my Heisman vote. Now if only Art Kaufman can create
the blueprint for stopping him as he did for Geno
2. Oklahoma: The
Sooners have finally matured into the juggernaut people expected them to be
before the season started. Now they’ve got a strange, midseason date with No. 5
Notre Dame. An impressive win here could vault them up the BCS standings and
back into national title contention. The guess here is that OU will do just
3. Texas Tech: The
Red Raiders may be the turnaround story of the year in college football. The
2011 incarnation of the Red Raiders would have gotten floored in Fort Worth and
would get manhandled in Manhattan. Instead, Tech beat the Horned Frogs on a bad
day and has at least a puncher’s chance against Kansas State. But it will take
a herculean effort from the Red Raider defensive front seven to keep this game
in reach going into the fourth quarter.
4. TCU: Begrudgingly,
one must admit that the Horned Frogs were pretty impressive, even in defeat.
Gary Patterson’s outfit is tougher to defend with freshman Trevone Boykin than
it was with junior Casey Pachall. And TCU is flat out
tough to score on.
5. Texas: Here is
where the quality drops off somewhat in the Big 12. Despite sporting a forest
of high school All Americans, golden boy Manny Diaz’s defense is ranked No. 110
nationally. That’s like going out with Natalie Portman and returning home with
Rosie O’Donnell. Still, Texas’ offense is potent enough to keep them in the
game against all but legitimate top 10 teams.
6. Oklahoma State: The
Cowboys are No. 1 in total offense, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. In their
last three outings they scored 36 against the sponge-like Texas defense, 20
against the squid-like Kansas defense, and 31 against a barracuda-like Iowa State defense. Now starting QB J. W. Walsh is out for the TCU game and will be
replaced by former starter and freshman Wes Lunt. That could bode ill for the Day-glo goat-ropers as they take on the Purple Passion.
7. Iowa State: If
the Cyclones weren’t so doggone sorry at the quarterback position, they could
threaten just about anybody. Then again, it’s not like ISU’s running backs and
receivers are the last word in dynamism either. What Paul Rhoads wouldn’t give
for Michael Brewer, SaDale Foster and Austin Zouzalik.
8. West Virginia: And
so it turns out that the Mountaineers were a fraud and a basket case. And it
all starts with quarterback Geno Smith and his mouthy
receivers. Art Kaufman figured out how to clamp these guys off, and Dana Holgorsen hasn’t figured out how to remove the clamp. One
gets the feeling he could easily lose control of this goon squad and then
things might really get ugly. Will the bye week allow for wounds to be salved
or will they simply fester?
9. Baylor: The
Bears are basically a carbon copy of the Texas Longhorns, but their defense is
even worse. Art Briles’ boys are dead last nationally
in total defense some 33 yards per game worse than next to last Louisiana Tech.
Could Phil Bennett be Chad Glasgow’s long, lost daddy?
10. Kansas: The
Jayhawk offense is so hapless that the Longhorns may be able to hold them under
40 this weekend.