When Big 12 football fans take a quick glimpse at the top of the rankings, there's something missing.


When Big 12 football fans take a quick glimpse at the top of the rankings, there's something missing.

Three weeks into the season and with seven teams still undefeated, the conference doesn't have a team in the top 5. No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma are there waiting in the wings, but each has some work to do to get into the mix for the national championship.

The presence of No. 3 Boise State and No. 4 TCU has the Big 12 in an unusual situation. Not since 2006, when Texas and Oklahoma each suffered early losses, has the league failed to have a top 5 team in the AP poll three weeks into the season.

That could start sorting itself out after Texas and Oklahoma play in Dallas on Oct. 2 and the Longhorns visit Nebraska two weeks later. If any of those three teams are still unbeaten, the wins could result in a bump in the polls — and in the BCS standings, when they come out Oct. 17.

"Long term, if you have an undefeated Big 12 team, there's no doubt in my mind they will finish ahead of Boise in the BCS and probably ahead in the polls," BCS analyst Jerry Palm said.

The same goes for TCU. With three teams in the top 10, there's enough power in the Big 12 that anyone who can run the table will move up over time.