Despite not having a team in the top eight, the Big 12 seems very strong in this week's USA Today poll.
That's thanks to some remarkable depth: five Big 12 teams are ranked in the USA Today coaches poll for Week 14, and all five are ranked between ninth and 18th, including three consecutive Big 12 teams from 13th to 15th.
That does require some logical contortion — Texas A&M and Missouri, teams that handed Oklahoma losses, are nowhere near the Sooners in this week's poll — but it establishes the Big 12 as no worse than the nation's second-deepest conference (only the SEC has more ranked teams) and as perhaps the most competitive conference this year.
That's a nice distinction to have in the last season before the Big 12 becomes The Conference That Might Still Be Called The Big 12 Despite Having 10 Teams, even though Nebraska, bolting to the Big Ten in 2011, could win the Big 12 title this week with a win over the Big 12 South representative in the Big 12 Championship Game.
That Big 12 South representative is likely to be Oklahoma; though the Sooners are tied with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M atop the Big 12 South standings, Oklahoma should win the tiebreaker easily by being the highest-ranked team in this week's BCS standings.
Full Big 12 rankings are as follows:
- No. 9 Oklahoma
- No. 13 Nebraska
- No. 14 Missouri
- No. 15 Oklahoma State
- No. 18 Texas A&M