Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baylor, Texas Tech Lead Topsy-Turvy Big 12

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baylor, Texas Tech Lead Topsy-Turvy Big 12

Article excerpt

It has been tougher than ever to figure out the Big 12 this year.

Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0 Big 12), which was picked to finish seventh in the league's preseason poll, is now ranked 10th in the country and alone in first place.

Baylor (6-0, 3-0) is tied for second with Texas (4-2, 3-0), ranked No. 6 nationally and the Big 12's highest team in the BCS standings at No. 8.

The bottom half of the Big 12 might be just as surprising.

Just one year after landing nine bowl bids, half of the league is below .500 overall. That includes defending league champion Kansas State and TCU, which was picked to finish third behind Oklahoma State and Oklahoma before play began.

First-year Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is happy to be on the right end of a topsy-turvy season in the Big 12.

"We were basically picked 10th in our conference to start the year, so if we would have believed that, we wouldn't be where we're at right now," Kingsbury said.

Texas Tech has surged to the top of the league with strong, balanced play on both sides of the ball. It's not surprising that the Red Raiders are scoring points in bunches, given their history. But Texas Tech's defense, which is allowing just 18.7 points per game, is perhaps the biggest reason for that undefeated record.

"Texas Tech is a good defensive football team. A lot of guys coming back. Well coached, they were in position. They played hard," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen after the Red Raiders held his team scoreless in the fourth quarter and hung on for a 37- 27 win Saturday.

Still, the Red Raiders have only beaten one team that's currently over .500 and that's Texas State of the Sun Belt.

The Red Raiders will get a chance to silence their doubters on Saturday at No. 17 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1), which Kingsbury acknowledged will be his team's toughest test to date.

"Going on the road in that type of environment against that type of opponent, it's going to be a huge challenge for our guys," Kingsbury said.

Baylor has made quite a splash nationally with an offense that's threatening to become the most prolific in the history of the Big 12 - or any league, for that matter. …

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