With Clemson’s come-from-behind victory at the literal last second, football as we know it is now over. Sure there’s some rinky-dink thing called the Super Bowel left, but let’s be honest here: all eyes are now on the National Association of Amateur Athletes Men’s Basketball.
Since we last left off at the Smoking Musket Power Rankings division, conference play has gotten underway and we’ve learned considerably more about some teams that had, well, light resumes in the non-conference.
- Baylor Bears: The last undefeated among the Premier 7, Baylor has a dizzying assortment of talent and depth. They also have notched four wins versus the top 25, and two against top 10 opponents. They will try to get another and solidify themselves as not only the top team in the league, but the nation, when they face WVU later today.
- Kansas Jayhawks: If you’re a betting type of person, Kansas is still the odds on favorite to win the conference, but the Jayhawks have been less than impressive in conference play with narrow escapes against TCU and Kansas State, but did pound Texas Tech at home. They should cruise until later this month when they face WVU, Kentucky and Baylor in a seven day span.
- West Virginia Mountaineers: Wins on the road come at a premium, and the difference between Kansas, WVU and Baylor at the end of the season could come down to the fateful OT loss in Lubbock for the Mountaineers. If WVU wants to stay in the hunt for a regular season conference title, they’ll need to hold serve tonight against Baylor. They could also use continued development from big-man Sagaba Konate, who provides a much needed presence in the low-post.
- Kansas State Wildcats: Don’t look now, but Bruce Webber has put together a very solid club that could make some noise in the Big XII.
- Iowa State Cyclones: Steve Prohm’s squad has rebounded nicely from a somewhat disappointing start to the season, following losses to Cincinnati and Iowa, just missing an opportunity to upset Baylor on the road. Though the Cyclones lack a heart player in the departed Georges Niang, whose plying his trade in the D-League, they still have the talent to compete in this league.
- TCU Horned Frogs: The Horned Frogs are much improved under first-year coach Jamie Dixon, and currently have a spot in ESPN’s Bracketology, but will need to pick up a win against the upper half of the league to really solidify the resume.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders: It’s tempting to rank this team higher based on their strong RPI/BPI numbers and upset of WVU, but look deeper and you see a team that is a couple of missed free throws from being 0-3 in the league. But then, I’d rather be lucky than good.
- Texas Longhorns: They still suck, but they did find a way to beat Oklahoma State, and well, we won’t talk about Oklahoma’s season so far....
- Oklahoma State Cowboys: Brad Underwood, like Jamie Dixon, has made an immediate impact, but three straight losses to open conference play have shown there’s still a lot of work to do in this rebuilding project. Those three losses, by the way, are more than he had in his three years coaching Stephen F. Austin.
- Oklahoma Sooners: Yikes.