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Big 12 rankings: Baylor rises after TCU's unimpressive win

Over half the league is bowl-eligible, but most have higher aspirations than that, with two squads in particular in the thick of the College Football Playoff race. The shine has been taken off a few programs, but having four teams in the selection committee's top 25 is a good place for a 10-team league to be.

1. Baylor (8-1, 5-1 in Big 12)

Up next: vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday, Nov. 22
The skinny: Is it possible to move up in the power rankings despite not playing? Yes, yes it is. The Bears will have to prove they belong and send a statement at home against a reeling Oklahoma State team, however.

2. TCU (9-1, 6-1)

Up next: at Texas, Thursday, Nov. 27
The skinny: The conversation around the Horned Frogs has changed dramatically after a close win at Kansas last week in which the team didn't really show up until after halftime. They can end any doubt over whether they should be atop the rankings next week, with the nation watching on Thanksgiving.

3. Kansas State (8-2, 6-1)

Up next: vs. Kansas, Saturday, Nov. 29
The skinny: Even though the Wildcats suffered their first conference loss, to TCU on Nov. 8, they're not completely out of the running for a split title and still have hope of getting to a major bowl at the end of the year after beating West Virginia.

4. Oklahoma (7-3, 4-3)

Up next: vs. Kansas, Saturday, Nov. 22
The skinny: The Sooners survived a trip to Lubbock without quarterback Trevor Knight after discovering they can simply run over most teams time after time. They have a tricky home game against Kansas, where they could be looking ahead to the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State.

5. West Virginia (6-5, 4-4)

Up next: at Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 29
The skinny: The Mountaineers have struggled away from home, and didn't have any better luck at home this week, suffering their third consecutive loss.

6. Texas (6-5, 5-3)

Up next: vs. TCU, Thursday, Nov. 27
The skinny: It looked unlikely earlier in the season, but Charlie Strong does indeed have the Longhorns bowl-eligible in his first season in Austin. Now he has a chance to really send the team into the postseason riding high with a statement win against TCU on Thanksgiving.

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7. Oklahoma State (5-5, 3-4)

Up next: at Baylor, Saturday, Nov. 22
The skinny: It's been quite the week in Stillwater. The team's loss to Texas puts its bowl eligibility in doubt, and head coach Mike Gundy is being linked to another job. Oh, and the Cowboys might have to burn the redshirt of a freshman quarterback this week.

8. Kansas (3-7, 1-6)

Up next: at Oklahoma, Saturday, Nov. 22
The skinny: In two weeks, the Jayhawks have moved from dead last in the power rankings to eighth, which should tell you about their improvement. That was quite evident in their narrow loss to TCU, in which they had the nationally ranked Horned Frogs on the ropes in a game that might as well have been a win.

9. Texas Tech (3-7, 1-6)

Up next: at Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 22
The skinny: The Red Raiders showed some fight in their game against Oklahoma, but it wasn't enough to get a win. A road trip to Ames is the only realistic shot the team has of getting a win to avoid their worst season since 1983.

10. Iowa State (2-7, 0-6)

Up next: vs. Texas Tech, Saturday, Nov. 22
The skinny: Can the Cyclones avoid a winless season in the Big 12? That's about the only intrigue left with the team at this point.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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