Big 12 football coaches like to tout top-to-bottom balance in the league, but here we are, about to enter November, and the league is divided into the haves and have-nots.
The top five teams are a combined 19-3 in conference play and 32-5 overall; the bottom five, 3-19 and 12-25. And that means the Big 12 will have big trouble filling its seven bowl commitments — eight if the league receives a second BCS bid. The Big 12 is on track to field only five or six bowl teams.
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BIG 12 POWER POLL
1. (1) Baylor;7-0 (4-0);vs. Oklahoma (7-1), Nov. 7;Facing Bears is scarier than taking on Michael Myers and seven Halloween sequels all wrapped into one.
2. (3) Texas;5-2 (4-0);vs. Kansas (2-5), Sat.;Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson, Longhorn Nation turns its grateful eyes to you, woo, woo, woo.
3. (5) Oklahoma;7-1 (4-1);at Baylor (7-0), Nov. 7;Sooners won’t go gently into the night, even with three top performers out for the year.
4. (2) Texas Tech;7-1 (4-1);vs. Oklahoma State (6-1), Sat.;Red Raiders show grit, desire in narrow road loss at OU but now must hold serve at home.
5. (4) Oklahoma State;6-1 (3-1);at Texas Tech (7-1), Sat.;Rollin’, rollin’, Roland. Cowboys find new horse to ride in 219-yard rusher Desmond Roland.
6. (8) Kansas State;3-4 (1-3);vs. Iowa State (1-6), Sat.;Turned around season by unexpectedly hopping aboard Air Wildcat and taking one smooth ride.
7. (7) TCU;3-5 (1-4);vs. West Virginia (3-5), Sat.;Frogs unravel behind line that can’t block, receivers who can’t catch and QBs who can’t throw well.
8. (6) West Virginia;3-5 (1-4);at TCU (3-5), Sat.; No finishing touch. In losses, Mountaineers haven’t scored single point in fourth quarter vs. first-stringers.
9. (9) Iowa State;1-6 (0-4);at Kansas State (3-4), Sat.;Cyclones probably should be last, but they’re not ones with 25-game Big 12 losing streak.
10. (10) Kansas;2-5 (0-4);at Texas (5-2), Sat.;In case you want to make plans, that Jayhawks-Cyclones blockbuster is Nov. 23 in Ames.
BIG 12 BOWLS
The Big 12 champion plays in the Fiesta Bowl unless it qualifies for the BCS title game. The bowls below are listed in the order of their choice of bowl-eligible Big 12 teams.
Fiesta;Glendale, Ariz.;Jan. 1
Alamo;San Antonio;Dec. 30
Buffalo Wild Wings;Tempe, Ariz.;Dec. 28
Holiday;San Diego;Dec. 30
Pinstripe;New York;Dec. 28