|Kansas State was picked sixth by the media in the preseason, but the Wildcats proved everyone wrong by finishing atop our Big 12 power ranking. (US Presswire)|
The top two spots were pretty easy to pick for most of the season but three through nine made our heads spin. At one point, Texas Tech was thought to be a top-3 team and Baylor a bottom-2. A lot has changed in the final five weeks of the season.
Here's CBSSports.com's Rapid Reports Big 12 power ranking:
1. Kansas State (11-1, 8-1 Big 12): The Wildcats that we watched most of the season returned in the second half on Saturday against Texas to win the Big 12. They will finish off their historic season in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon, a team that runs a similar up-tempo offense to Baylor, which was K-State's one loss. Last week's power ranking: 1. Next up: vs. Oregon (Fiesta Bowl), Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN).
2. Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1 Big 12): It wasn't the prettiest offensive effort, but the Sooners at least had their defense return against TCU after giving up 97 points the previous two weeks. Playing TCU apparently takes a lot out of a team, as every Big 12 opponent has lost its next game after playing the Horned Frogs. The Sooners should be OK with a month of rest as they try to go for their fourth straight bowl win. Last week's power ranking: 2. Next up: vs. Texas A&M (Cotton Bowl), Jan. 4, 8 p.m. ET (Fox).
3. Baylor (7-5, 4-5 Big 12): So how did Baylor start 1-4 in the Big 12 and then win four of its last five games? Turnovers were one key. In the Bears' first four conference games, they were minus-11 in turnover ratio. In the last five, they were plus-11. Last week's power ranking: 6. Next up: vs. UCLA (Holiday Bowl), Dec. 27, 9:45 p.m. ET (ESPN).
4. Oklahoma State (8-4, 5-4 Big 12): The Cowboys had a tough finish to the season, losing their last two, but it's likely that just about any team in the conference would have dropped those two games. Oklahoma was playing at home, looking for revenge and trying to stay in the Big 12 title hunt. Baylor is one of the hottest teams in the country, and OSU had to play in Waco. No shame in losing those two games. Last week's power ranking: 3. Next up: vs. Purdue (Heart of Dallas Bowl), Jan. 1, noon ET (ESPNU).
5. TCU (7-5, 4-5 Big 12): TCU finished off a respectable first year in the Big 12 with a hard-fought loss against Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs were a tough team to play -- again, look at what happened to opponents the week following a game against TCU. Considering all the drama that preceded the season and then went on when Casey Pachall left the team, Gary Patterson did a fine coaching job. Last week's power ranking: 4. Next up: vs. Michigan State (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl), Dec. 29, 10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN).
6. Texas (8-4, 5-4 Big 12): No team was as up and down and up and down as Texas this season. Two weeks ago, the Longhorns faithful were beginning to feel OK about this season. The last two weeks probably changed that, although winning at Kansas State on Saturday would have been extremely difficult considering the stakes for the Wildcats. Last week's power ranking: 4. Next up: vs. Oregon State (Alamo Bowl), Dec. 29, 6:45 p.m. ET (ESPN).
7. West Virginia (7-5, 4-5 Big 12): The offense is clicking again now that RB Shawne Alston is back and Tavon Austin is doing ridiculous things from multiple positions. The Mountaineers may not have reached their expectations, but they now know how difficult it is to play a full conference schedule and that should help them down the road. Last week's power ranking: 7. Next up: vs. Syracuse (Pinstripe Bowl), Dec. 29, 3:15 p.m. ET.
8. Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5 Big 12): No Big 12 team could use a win in its bowl game more so than the Red Raiders. Losing four of their last five games left the Red Raiders with a sour taste in their mouths. Last week's power ranking: 7. Next up: vs. Minnesota, Dec. 29, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN).
9. Iowa State (6-6, 3-6 Big 12): Iowa State opened the season with a win against Tulsa and will finish against Tulsa as well, which means the Cyclones have a good shot at finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2009. Last week's power ranking: 9. Next up: vs. Tulsa (Liberty Bowl), Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN).
10. Kansas (1-11, 0-9 Big 12): Kansas never left the bottom spot this year and lost 11 straight, but the season wasn't a complete disaster. The Jayhawks were competitive most weeks, and that's more than you could say about Turner Gill's Jayhawks. With BYU transfer Jake Heaps likely to start at quarterback next season, there is some hope in Lawrence. It's not going to be easy, however, to climb out of the Big 12 cellar. Last week's power ranking: 10.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12 on Twitter. You can also follow C.J. (@cjmoore4) and Patrick (@patricksouthern).