But the Big 12's weakened state is excellent news for the OSU and OU teams.
In August, a conference championship seemed a good possibility for one or the other. After all, OSU was picked first and OU second in the preseason Big 12 poll.
Now, the likelihood has increased that the Dec. 7 Bedlam showdown in Stillwater will be a de facto Big 12 title game. Before the season, TCU and Texas appeared to be contenders as well. But the Frogs are challenged offensively, the Longhorns defensively.
Baylor has emerged as a worthy contender. The Bears have thrashed three overmatched foes. OU beat Louisiana-Monroe 34-0; it took Baylor less than 13 minutes to hit that exact score Saturday against the same Monroes, before winning 70-7.
That's a mathematical trade you'll make every time. Losing two contenders and taking on only one.
Kansas State, which won the Big 12 last season and has gone 15-3 in conference play the last two years, opened the season with a loss to North Dakota State. Texas was pistol-whipped by both Brigham Young and Ole Miss, two decent teams but not exactly Oregon and LSU. The KSU-Texas game Saturday night was not so much an elimination game as it was a pack-up-the-season game.
OU's 16-7 survival of West Virginia looks a little dubious now that the Mountaineers were beaten 37-0 Saturday by Maryland.
OSU's 21-3 victory in Houston to open the season remains solid, but again, that was against the Bulldogs of Mississippi State, not Georgia.
Most years, if the Cowboys and Sooners took these caliber of teams into the season's fifth week, they would be accompanied by cautious optimism.
The level of confidence is much higher, for a very good reason. The Big 12 stinks.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.