Dallasnews.com Chip Brown: “OU looks like Big 12’s best” & ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach agrees

Oklahoma is the most complete and arguably the best team in the Big 12 right now.

And that’s saying a lot, considering …

The 16th-ranked Sooners lost their starting quarterback (Rhett Bomar) before the season. They had to move a quarterback-turned-receiver (Paul Thompson) back to QB.

They lost a game they didn’t (Oregon). They lost maybe the best running back in the country (Adrian Peterson) six weeks into the season. Last week, they lost their second-string RB (Allen Patrick) to an ankle injury.

And in Saturday’s 34-24 victory over Texas Tech, the Sooners relied on their third-string (Jacob Gutierrez) and fourth-string (Chris Brown) running backs to improve to 8-2 overall, 5-1 in the Big 12.

A defense that gave up more than 500 yards to Oregon has figured things out, which is more than 11th-ranked Texas can say.

The Longhorns gave up 45 points and 346 yards – 323 of them through the air – in a shocking upset by Kansas State. The loss cost Texas any chance of defending its national title.

While it’s fair to say the life went out of the Longhorns after losing star redshirt freshman quarterback Colt McCoy to a stinger with 8:07 left in the first quarter, it’s not fair to say Texas lost because of his replacement – Jevan Snead.

The Longhorns scored 35 points with Snead running the offense. That should have been plenty. The defense – specifically the secondary – was a disaster and has been four of the last five games.

Unless co-defensive coordinators Gene Chizik and Duane Akina can figure things out fast, Texas is vulnerable.

In the home stretch of the regular-season, let’s take a quick look at the Big 12 bowl lineup:

Fiesta: Texas, Nebraska or Oklahoma will be facing, in all probability, Boise State. Boise simply needs to beat Utah State and Nevada and keep its current BCS ranking of 12 for an automatic BCS berth.

Because the Fiesta Bowl has the last at-large selection, Boise State is likely to end up in the desert. Texas needs to beat Texas A&M for the chance to play Nebraska for the Big 12 title. If Texas loses to the Aggies and Oklahoma beats Baylor and Oklahoma State, the Sooners would go to Kansas City to play the Cornhuskers.

Cotton: If Texas beats Nebraska for the Big 12 title and Oklahoma wins out, the Sooners will have won seven straight and would probably land in Dallas. The Cotton’s tie-in with the SEC means LSU or Arkansas would be the opponent. If Texas loses to Nebraska in the Big 12 title game and Oklahoma becomes a BCS at-large selection, the Longhorns would be in Dallas on Jan. 1.

Holiday: If Nebraska loses the Big 12 title game, look for the Cornhuskers to face California in San Diego. If Nebraska beats Texas for the Big 12 title game and OU lands in the Cotton, the Longhorns would probably be headed to San Diego for the fourth time in seven years.

Alamo: Texas A&M appears to have a slim lead on Kansas State for the right to face a Big Ten opponent, probably Purdue or Iowa. But if Kansas State beats Kansas on Saturday and A&M loses to Texas, the Wildcats could move up into this spot because they’d be the hotter team.

Sun: The Brut Sun Bowl selects a Big 12 team when the Gator Bowl does not. Every four years, the Gator must select a Big 12 teams twice and a Big East team or Notre Dame twice. With the Big East red hot this season and Notre Dame appearing BCS-bound, the Gator seems enamored with West Virginia.

The Sun appears enamored with Texas Tech because of Lubbock’s proximity to El Paso. Oregon or Oregon State would be the likely opponent.

from ESPN.com chat Monday

Matt (OK): Who is the best team in the Big 12 right now?

SportsNation Mark Schlabach: Oklahoma?

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