Just a few weeks ago, it looked as though the Big 12 may have as many as four top-ten-worthy teams.
Oklahoma was one of the preseason favorites to make the National Championship game. Kansas State was able to beat the Sooners, though, and moved themselves into the top ten. Meanwhile, West Virginia and Texas were each moving up in the polls.
After week nine, it looks like Kansas State (8-0, 5-0) is the only truly elite team in the conference. The Wildcats had just defeated West Virginia in Morgantown, and some were worried that their game against Texas Tech on Saturday would be a letdown spot. Instead, Bill Snyder's team put up 55 points for the second week in a row, routing the Red Raiders, 55-24.
With Geno Smith's struggles as of late, Collin Klein has become the Heisman favorite, and he had another huge game against Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2). He had two rushing and passing touchdowns each. He helped take what was a close game, and turned it into a comfortable win for Kansas State.
This defense has proven to be one of the best in the league, too. The Big 12 has become notorious for being pretty bad on that side of the ball, but the Wildcat defense held an explosive Texas Tech offense to just 24 points, while forcing three turnovers. The toughest part of the schedule is over with now, too. It's going to take an upset for this team to lose a game now.
And it all started with that win in Norman. Kansas State had to be really good, because nobody just walks into Norman and comes away with a win. That was, apparently, until this year. Not only did Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1) lose that game, but the Sooners hosted Notre Dame on Saturday, and were handed a 30-13 loss.
Any doubt about whether or not Notre Dame (8-0) was a BCS Title contender has been silenced, but any hope that Oklahoma was part of that group has also been erased.
The Sooners tied the game at 13 in the second half, but the Fighting Irish scored a touchdown on the next drive and would never relinquish that lead. Oklahoma's two losses have now come to two top five teams. There won't be anymore of those left on the schedule, so this team may still be better than the record indicates. Next week, the team will travel to take on Iowa State.
The Cyclones (5-3, 2-3) played Baylor (3-4, 0-4) this past week. The Bears were still looking for their first Big 12 win, but they wouldn't get it in Ames.
Steele Jantz played the game of his career for Iowa State, throwing for 381 yards and five touchdowns, while adding 54 yards rushing. The Baylor defense has looked terrible all season, but it still has to be encouraging for Cyclone fans to see the offense look as good as it did on Saturday.
The schedule won't be easy for Iowa State for here on out, but there are still two more home games on it, plus a road matchup with Kansas. The Cyclones just need to win one of those games to become bowl eligible. Baylor will play Kansas in week ten, and that should provide the best opportunity to get that first conference win.
The Jayhawks have been terrible all year, but they almost handed Mack Brown one of the worst losses in his tenure at Texas. Kansas (1-7, 0-5) kicked a field goal with under three minutes remaining to take a 17-14 lead. However, Case McCoy would take the field for David Ash and lead a touchdown drive with seconds remaining to give Texas (6-2, 3-2) the 21-17 win.
There probably won't be a lot of celebrating in Austin over this one. The Longhorns have won two games in a row, but they haven't exactly looked good doing it. With road games against Texas Tech and Kansas State coming up, this team has a lot of work to do down the stretch.
The only other game took place in Stillwater, where Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1) scored the game's last 36 points against TCU (5-3, 2-3) to win, 36-14.
Things looked good for the Horned Frogs early, as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead. From that point on, though, the Cowboy defense shut them out. Wes Lunt returned to the field for this one, replacing the injured J.W. Walsh. He threw for 324 yards and led an offense that put up 471 yards.
The Cowboys quietly have just one loss in the conference so far. They also get to play Kansas State and Oklahoma yet. It's certainly a long shot, as both games are on the road, but this is a team that can still win this conference if it wins out. That's not likely to happen, but the other teams in this league won't want to take Oklahoma State lightly.
That game against Kansas State will come next weekend. The Wildcats are in the home stretch and need just four more wins to finish undefeated. Nobody has done that in the Big 12 since 2009, when Texas went to the National Championship Game.
Kansas State has the same goal in mind right now, but needs to avoid upsets to prove itself as an elite team.