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State of Texas Power Rankings: Week Six

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Oh no, Texas might actually be back (or at least pretty close).

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest here, we have very little idea how good any team is this year in College Football. This is definitely one of those seasons, much like the 2010-2011 campaign, where every week is an adventure and no one knows anything.

Is Alabama good? Yes, but they nearly farted away a game against Texas A&M (who might also be good, maybe). Clemson? They have a top-caliber D, but that offense is banged up and they can’t put bad teams away without an adventure. Georgia? Who have they played? I mean, really... Jake Fromm might be legit, but we won’t know until, well, probably the SEC Championship game, because the East is trashhhhhhh. Washington? Sorry, Chris P, you play too late at night (according to you) so I have no idea (also you aren’t that good but the Pac 12 is weak and you only have two tough games). Wazzu? Probably not that good. Wiscy? Will go undefeated in the regular season before losing the Big Ten Championship by eleventy-billion. Ohio State? Got man-handled by OU at home who went and got man-handled by Iowa State at home. Verdict? Two meh teams. And what is Texas? I have zero clue, because I have zero clue as to what Kansas State is exactly. One thing I do know? Sam Ehlinger has some stones on him. That kid could play for any program in the country. He’s a baller.

That brings us to TCU, one of only three teams in the top ten with multiple wins over ranked opponents, and, if you’re looking at the resumes, has arguably the best one of any top ten team. The Frogs have a win on the road over then #6 Oklahoma State, a home victory over then #23 WVU, and on the road in SEC territory over Arkansas (who is not good - thanks for nothing, Bert). But, having watched every snap of every game TCU has played, and four of the five in person, I still have some questions about just how good the Horned Frogs are; starting with, what is their identity? TCU has been very good at running the ball, but haven’t always made it a priority. They have a really good defense, but still give up big plays. Kenny Hill the game manager has been great, but can he go out and win a game against a ranked team if the Frogs need him to? I think TCU is good. Possibly really good. And that they are definitely a top 15 team. But top ten? I am not 100% convinced quite yet, only because of what still stands in their path. Going undefeated is a lot to expect, as is having to beat an OSU/WVU/OU team twice. Can the Frogs make it to Arlington? Yes. Do I expect them to? Yes. Will they go undefeated? Probably not. And that’s okay. 10-2 with a big time bowl berth would be outstanding, but losing twice now sure would hurt.

On to the week six rankings.

  1. TCU (5-0): Fight me. There is not a team in Texas with anything close to the Frogs’ five game resume, close loss to Alabama be damned. The Frogs have done nothing but win games six weeks in, beating ranked opponents at home and on the road, boasting a strong defense and a solid offense. The Horned Frogs were in control for most of the game against WVU, and while the Eers salt levels are through the roof, at the end of the day, any impartial observer would have left that game feeling that TCU was clearly the better team. Sure, there are questions remaining, but at the end of the day, only one team in the state is undefeated, and that’s the Horned Frogs.
  2. Texas Tech (4-1): The Red Raiders single loss of the year came at the hands of a top 15 team, and they were tantalizingly close to pulling off the upset at home. Tech can score in bunches, as per usual, but have a decent defense behind them for the first time in... forever a really long time. And, just for fun, they found a new toy Saturday against Kansas, when backup tailback Desmond Nisby decided to score four times in 11 touches. The plethora of skill players runs deep, and if the defense can continue to get stops, the sneaky good Red Raiders will give opponents fits down the stretch. How big is the game in Lubbock vs the Frogs one week after TCU and OU tangle in Norman feeling now?
  3. Texas (3-2): The Longhorns are confounding on offense, but one thing is clear - Sam Ehlinger is a bad, bad man. The true freshman QB has rendered former top recruit Shane Buechele unnecessary, and by all appearances, the sophomore gun slinger has thrown his last pass in Burnt Orange (barring injury). And while the offensive line did absolutely nothing for Ehlinger, that kid is tough as nails, and single-handedly willed his team to a double OT victory over a tough Kansas State team. I don’t know that the Horns have the firepower to compete with the Red Raiders today, but they are certainly nipping at their heels, and the matchup in Fort Worth against TCU in early November looks scary for Frog fans as well. UT is probably not back, but the foundation Tom Herman is building in Austin looks solid, and the days of the Horns as the Big 12’s whipping boy are done. But they did lose to Kansas last year.
  4. Texas A&M (4-2): I do not think the Aggies are any kind of actual good, and I believe that Saturday’s 27-19 score was not at all indicative of the talent and coaching acumen disparity between the two programs. That being said, TAMU showed the fight that has been lacking, got a couple of late scores to make things look close, and got a very encouraging game out of Kellen Mond. But I think they would lose to any of the teams above them on a neutral field, and maybe one or two below.
  5. Houston (4-1): The Coogs lost their starting QB, but that doesn’t really matter when you have the one-man wrecking crew of Ed Oliver, I suppose. Oliver had four tackles and three QB hurries on his own, making life miserable for the less than mobile Ben Hicks of SMU, as UH held the Ponies without a score in the all-important final frame. Kyle Postma, who has been in college for something like 32 years or so, was good enough filling in for Kyle Allen, though he threw two interceptions in just 27 attempts. Duke Catalon had a massive game on the ground, going for 177 yards and two scores, and the defense kept the Mustangs out of the end zone sans one score. The Ponies aren’t good enough on D to not outscore teams, and the Houston D didn’t give them many opportunities to do so.
  6. SMU (4-2): I think SMU is beyond decent this year, maybe even good, and will get to a decent bowl game in Chad Morris’ third (and final) season in Dallas. But, with a chance to make a huge statement and announce themselves as a true contender in the AAC, the Ponies got beat by double-digits to a Houston team that looked pretty bad for most of their game against Texas Tech and was without their starting QB. Ben Hicks had 58 pass attempts Saturday, going for almost 400 yards, and passing for one score and two interceptions, had a running back go for 99 yards, and Courtland Sutton had a massive game - even if he was kept out of the end zone. But the defense couldn’t get stops, as the Cougars scored in every quarter, while the UH defense came up big with a shutout in the fourth on the other side. SMU was really bad on third down, settled for field goals all but once, and couldn’t stop Houston when they needed to. Maybe next week, SMU.
  7. UTSA (3-1): C’MON ROADRUNNERS!!! Man, my favorite Group of Five school laid an egg against Southern Miss, falling short of victory at home when their last ditch two point conversion failed late. Dalton Strum was awesome yet again, passing 367 yards, three scores, and a pick, but the Roadrunners were shut out in the third quarter and couldn’t get much pressure on Golden Eagles’ QB Keon Howard. UTSA was everyone’s darling just a week ago, but now they find themselves losing ground in the Conference USA race.
  8. UNT (3-2): The Mean Green sits atop the Conference USA standings, but their most important victory came during the bye week, when they shutdown ESPN for using their “Mean Green” moniker to reference Michigan State. The Spartans got the win on the road over Michigan, but it’s North Texas standing tall. You go, Wren Baker.
  9. Baylor (0-5): The Bears got a much-needed bye week after fighting, and failing, against OU and Kansas State in consecutive weeks. BU is getting ever-so-close to a win, and frankly I hope it comes before Black Friday. But in the meantime, TCU fans absolutely destroyed them at GameDay with a plethora of “Karma 5, Baylor 0” signs in prime viewing position.
  10. Rice (1-5): Is getting whooped by Army the most Patriotic thing a team can do?
  11. Texas State (1-5): I decided to look up some “Points of Pride” for Texas State University, since their football team isn’t one. DYK? Texas State is the only university in Texas to have graduated a U.S. president: Lyndon B. Johnson, class of 1930. Good job, Bobcats.
  12. UTEP (0-6): Mike Price back! The more things change, the more they stay the same. Three missed field goals didn’t help either, in a one point defeat.