|The steady play of quarterback David Ash has helped Texas look like a Big 12 title contender early this season. (Getty Images)|
Ranking the teams in the Big 12, particularly from 4-9, is a difficult task, as nine of the conference's 10 teams were receiving votes in this week's AP Top 25 poll. Only Oklahoma State and Kansas have lost games. But as conference play gets going in earnest in the next two weeks, some clear separations may finally begin to emerge.
Here's CBSSports.com's Rapid Reports Big 12 power ranking:
1. West Virginia (2-0): The Mountaineers rolled right out of the gates against FCS foe James Madison, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions. The defense, a bit shaky in the season opener, looked stronger as well, yielding only 300 yards of offense -- 93 of which came in the fourth quarter when backups were already in for mop-up duty. Last week's power ranking: 1. Next up: vs. Maryland, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (FX).
2. Oklahoma (2-0): The tenor of the Sooners' matchup with Kansas State this week took on a bit of a different tone when the Wildcats struggled against North Texas. Still, this weekend will give observers an idea of how much an off week helped OU address the issues that characterized its first two games. Last week's power ranking: 2. Next up: vs. Kansas State, Saturday, 7:50 p.m. ET (Fox).
3. Texas (3-0): Are the Longhorns back? If nonconference play is any indication, they may be, as both sides of the ball looked strong in a romp over Ole Miss this past weekend. At this point, Texas has a pair of stars at running back in Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. But David Ash has grown up in a hurry, giving this team a totally different feel from 2011. Last week's power ranking: 3. Next up: at Oklahoma State, Sept. 29, kickoff time to be announced later.
4. Kansas State (3-0): Through three weeks, the Wildcats win the award for the Big 12's biggest Jekyll-and-Hyde act in a runaway. K-State looked outstanding in thumping Miami (Fla.) a week ago, but struggled to put away lowly North Texas this past Saturday. Perhaps players were just looking ahead at this Saturday's matchup against the No. 6 Sooners. Last week's power ranking: 4. Next up: at Oklahoma, Saturday, 7:50 p.m. ET (Fox).
5. Oklahoma State (2-1): Yes, the Cowboys are responsible for the Big 12's only loss from a team other than Kansas, but good luck to anyone hoping to stop this offense if it doesn't stop itself. Oklahoma State seemed to hardly miss a beat when starting quarterback Wes Lunt left due to injury early in this past weekend's win over Louisiana-Lafayette, rolling up 65 points with backup J.W. Walsh (347 passing yards) at the controls. Last week's power ranking: 6. Next up: vs. Texas, Sept. 29, kickoff time to be announced later.
6. TCU (2-0, 1-0): The Horned Frogs' first-ever Big 12 game resulted in a win. But if TCU hadn't been playing Kansas, things may have been a bit more interesting, as the Jayhawks merely failed to take advantage of their opportunities. Against Kansas, TCU can get away with committing four turnovers. Against the rest of the conference? That's a recipe for disaster. Last week's power ranking: 6. Next up: vs. Virginia, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN).
7. (tie) Baylor (2-0): Perhaps it was the early off week that had the Bears a bit rusty when they faced the No. 1 team in the FCS, Sam Houston State. Still, a 20-10 halftime deficit was shocking to see considering how strong Baylor had looked in beating SMU in its season opener. The offense showed late in the game what it can do, slamming the door with 24 points in the fourth quarter. Last week's power ranking: 5. Next up: at Louisiana-Monroe, Friday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN).
7. (tie) Iowa State (3-0): The Cyclones finally had a game where they were a prohibitive favorite and looked like it in thumping Western Illinois 37-3 on Saturday. Iowa State finished up a perfect nonconference slate, and given quality wins over Tulsa and Iowa, players and coaches have to be feeling good about their prospects heading into Big 12 play. Last week's power ranking: 8. Next up: vs. Texas Tech, Sept. 29, kickoff time to be announced later.
9. Texas Tech (3-0): The Red Raiders closed out nonconference play in style, thumping New Mexico 49-14 on Saturday. The combined score of Texas Tech's three wins thus far has been 151-30. The opposition was weak, though. We'll find out much more about coach Tommy Tuberville's squad in the coming weeks. Last week's power ranking: 9. Next up: at Iowa State, Sept. 29, kickoff time to be announced later.
10. Kansas (1-2, 0-1): There's no doubt who should occupy this spot for the foreseeable future, but give KU a bit of credit for keeping Saturday's game against TCU closer than most would have expected. If not for a few untimely miscues -- Dayne Crist's fumble near the goal line immediately comes to mind -- the Jayhawks could have been in contention heading down the stretch. Last week's power ranking: 10. Next up: at Northern Illinois, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3).
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).