Let’s address the elephant in the room. Well, the Collie. The Aggies might very well be the second best team in Texas.
I know, I know. They don’t really have a quality win on their schedule... but look at that quality loss to Alabama!!! If not for the embarrassment of their choke-job loss to UCLA early, we would be looking at the Aggies as a top 25 team, maybe even top 15. But, that is not the case, and the Aggies have yet to beat a team that is over .500 this year. The Florida win might propel them forward in the minds of voters in the coming weeks, and with only Auburn and LSU remaining as legitimate challenges on the schedule, A&M could fart around, win 8-9 games, and make the Kevin Sumlin decision interesting. Wouldn’t that be just perfect? Anyway, on to the rankings.
- TCU (6-0): On the road. At home. Against the best QBs. Against the best RBs. Shootouts. Blowouts. Defensive battles. The Frogs just keep finding ways to win. Now is the time where the world starts piling on the Big 12, telling us how bad the conference is while ignoring that TCU has the second best strength of record in the country. The Frogs will likely face just a single ranked team the rest of the way, but with road games remaining in Ames to end the month and at OU and Texas Tech in back to back weeks, TCU won’t have it easy. And of course, who can forget about the always inexplicably tricky Kansas next week as well as the much-improved Longhorns rolling to town. Undefeated won’t be easy, but it might be the only way for them to stay in the top four.
- Texas A&M (5-2): Here come the Aggies. After keeping things respectable against Alabama, TAMU went out and got by Florida in the Swamp, despite an 8-24 day out of their QB. Kellen Mond is a dynamic athlete, but he has a long way to go as a passer - though he did get some big plays on those eight completions to help him compile 180 yards. The Aggies can’t really run the ball consistently, and the offense is certainly a work in progress, but that being said, they are taking advantage of a really down year in the SEC to keep winning games. TAMU has the next three games at home against teams with a combine record of 12-7, but one of those teams is New Mexico, before finishing with road games at Ole Miss and LSU. I don’t know how good A&M is, but they might accidentally be good enough to keep Sumlin’s job.
Texas (3-3): Texas mounted a furious comeback against an Oklahoma defense that can’t put anyone away, and had a chance to beat them late in the Red River
Shootout Showdown RivalryWhatever Saturday. Sam Ehlinger was really good once again, throwing for almost 300 yards and rushing for over 100. But the UT offense only managed 29 yards on 17 carries from guys not named Sam, and the 22 attempts for the QB could spell disaster as the season wears on. I really like this kid, and while it may seem like Texas finds their next great QB annually, I think this time it might be for real, real. Texas will give Oklahoma State all they can handle in Stillwater next week I am sure, and won’t be an easy test for TCU in Fort Worth in November. They aren’t far from being back to competing in the Big 12.
- Texas Tech (4-2): The Red Raiders choked away a golden opportunity in Morgantown, and that devastating loss made their stay in the Top 25 a short one. Tech led 28-17 at the half, 35-24 through three, and then laid a big ol’ goose egg in the fourth quarter as the Eers scored 22 unanswered in the final frame (and 29 straight overall). It was the most Texas Tech ‘defense’ performance of the year - though the Arizona State game is a close second - and suddenly, a fringe contender is who we thought they were. The Red Raiders play four out of their next five games at home, where they tend to play well, and won’t be an easy mark behind their talented offense. But, it might be time to ask, is seven wins their ceiling? And if so, how hot is Kliff’s seat going to be in November?
SMU (4-2): Thank you Ponies for making us look good. Chad Morris might regret the loss to Houston (who we will get to in a moment) because it appears to be obvious that the Mustangs are the better overall team. SMU shouldn’t have any issues getting to bowl eligibility, which would be a huge victory in year three under Morris
the future coach of the Texas A&M Fighting Aggies. The Ponies have a tricky game at Cincinnati followed by a short week before facing a Tulsa team that was a real worm in Major’s apple last week (see what I did there?), but 8-9 wins is certainly not off the table for SMU.
- Houston (4-2): WYD, Coogs? Houston got absolutely man-handled by what was a one win Tulsa team in Oklahoma, as the defense got torched by the Hurricanes’ ground game (288 yards on 5.4 per carry), leaving QB Luke Skipper to drop back just 18 times, completing nine for 128 yards. On the other side, the Cougs were impotent on the ground outside of Dillon Birden’s 11-82, averaging 3.1 per carry. Kyle Potsma threw two picks and no TDs and was sacked three times by a Tulsa D that is allowing 40 points and 560 yards per game. That’s... not good. I fail to understand how a defense that employs Ed Oliver can get raked so badly, but he is just one man (I think, he could be three, it’s hard to be sure). But, here we are, with a Houston team falling behind a team they beat convincingly just a couple weeks ago. Sorry, Coogs, but you blew it.
- UNT (4-3): I have a friend who is a current student at UNT and could care less about sports. The only time she’s been in any athletic facility on the Mean Green campus was freshman orientation. I got a text from her this weekend that said “well, I guess we have a football team”. After earning national attention over a trademarked phrase a week ago, the Mean Green were back in the news this weekend, but this time thanks to an act on the field, as North Texas went 98 yards in 57 seconds to beat the Roadrunners. Mason Fine is a really good quarterback, the offense is explosive at times, and the defense makes enough plays. UNT is 3-0 in Conference USA and has a conquerable path to the conference championship game. It looks like Denton has a football team, indeed.
- UTSA (3-2): What happened to Frank Wilson’s team? The Roadrunners won their first three games in impressive fashion and looked like the favorite in C-USA. But after back to back heart-breaking losses to Southern Miss and UNT, UTSA might be done. With plenty of winnable games remaining on the schedule, a bowl game is certainly in play, but they will need to improve on both sides of the ball if they want to get to eight wins.
- Baylor (0-6): Okay, kids, let’s talk common sense. When you’re an 0-5 team that has lost to an FCS school and UTSA, maybe don’t go dying the fountains in Stillwater green on Oklahoma State’s Homecoming. Or, if you’re going to, go ahead and put that diaper on preventatively. The Bears, after playing Oklahoma and Kansas State close-ish, got humiliated by the Pokes, who absolutely rubbed it in. After the first quarter ended in a 7-7 tie, the Cowboys got to work in a big way, running off 52 points over the final three frames, as Mason Rudolph went off for 459 yards on just 19 completions and OSU piled up 279 yards on the ground with a 7+ yards per carry average. The Bears might be all out of fight, and while we all look forward to the Basemen Battle between them and Kansas in November, for now... BayLLLLLLor.
- Rice (1-5): Rice soundly defeated Bye Week to remain in the top ten this week. Congrats, Owls. Meanwhile, another flock of Owls full of smart kids upset Trinity Valley on the road in a must-win game to keep their playoff hopes alive. Way to go, Oakridge!
- Texas State (1-6): The good news is, there are only five games remaining in the season.
- UTEP (0-7): The bad news is, you still have to play them.