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State of Texas Power Rankings: Week 11

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It was a meh weekend around the state, so let’s rank a different way today, and look at program satisfaction, or lack thereof.

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Texas A&M C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

What a terrible weekend for football in Texas. The marquee programs in the state played such football luminaries as Kansas and New Mexico, while the state’s top program got walloped by Oklahoma. Not much changed as far as who runs this state, or who languishes at the bottom, so with ten games in the books for just about everybody, let’s do something a little different this week and do a State of the State. We are going to rank programs based on how good their situation is currently, and for the next three years. The rankings are based on fan happiness, coach security/ability, program depth, program finances, and overall stability. They are also completely arbitrary, based on my opinion and some light research. Let’s have at it.

  1. Texas (5-5): While they have yet to get over the hump and win anything meaningful, it’s hard to argue that the Longhorns aren’t in the best position in the state at the current moment. With a hot young coach that is recruiting at a torrid pace, talent at nearly every skill position, and more money than the good lord himself, Texas is in pole position when it comes to the future. The fan base won’t have too much more patience; getting to bowl eligibility is a big step in the right direction, but if the Horns aren’t competing for conference championships and playoff berths soon, the shine could rub off of Tom Herman’s grill.
  2. TCU (8-2): The Frogs have the best coach and (at worst) the second best athletic director in the conference, and both are top ten candidates nationally. While every major program with a head coaching vacancy (I’m looking at you, Tennessee) is sure to come after Gary Patterson, GMFP is entrenched at TCU and it’s hard to envision him leaving for any where else. CDC is more concerning, especially with Texas sniffing around, but with today’s announcement of more stadium renovations, he might be content to stay in Funky Town as well. The question in the back of Frog fans mind is how much longer Patterson wants to coach, period, not just at TCU. And who might be in line to take his spot when he eventually does call it a career. But that’s (at least) a few years down the line. In the meantime, recruiting is better than ever, the Frogs have a young coaching staff full of guys with direct ties to TCU, and the marketing is top-notch. The Frogs have a chance at ten wins, a Big 12 title, and a NY6 Bowl in 2017, and seem well positioned for even betters run in the next few years. It’s a great time to be a Horned Frog.
  3. Texas A&M (6-4): They have the money. They have the pipeline. They have the SEC. What they don’t have is three ten win seasons in the last 20 years or a head coach with job security. Sure, the Aggies got a big win in November (over UNM), but is there any reason to expect they’ll start turning five star talent into 10 win seasons any time soon? I would still rather be in their boat than anyone else’s on the list, but they are running out of excuses in College Station, and fast. A&M has to strike gold with this (suspected) coaching hire, and that coach has to win quickly, while the SEC West is as vulnerable as it has been in years. Wealth is all well and good, but unless it comes with wins, fans won’t be satisfied.
  4. Houston (6-3): I don’t know how I would feel if I was a Houston fan, hence their placement in the middle of the list. The Cougars have become the state’s coaching farm; (f)Art Briles, Kevin Sumlin, and Tom Herman have all left for greener pa$ture$ in the last 14 years, and it appears that the final roots have crumbled in an overmatched Major Applewhite. At times, Major looks the part of mid-major head coach, but he has made plenty of errors in his rookie campaign as well. I would be genuinely curious to know how much hope Coogs fans have for a future under Applewhite and Mark D’Onfrio, the latter who has all but squandered some of the best defensive players in the country. As with all things college football, it will come down to recruiting, and while Houston is as talent-rich as anywhere in the state, Major will have his work cut out for him.
  5. SMU (6-4): The Ponies will get back to a bowl game in 2017, and have looked like a program on the rise through most of the season. It’s been a long time since SMU has been truly relevant, and while they aren’t quite back to that stage yet, they are at least on the verge. With as much young talent on the offensive side of the ball as just about any program in the state, the Mustangs have staying power. That is, at least, as long as they can hold on to Chad Morris. The Aggie alum will like get a call from College Station, and if he leaves, it could spell doom for SMU. Also, that stadium sucks and the fan support is worse. You’ve got a good thing going, Dallas, better start appreciating it before it’s over.
  6. Baylor (1-9): Well, the #brightside to a meh season is that there has been no further controversy around the program, recruiting is going far better than one could have anticipated coming into the year, and the Bears seem to have found their quarterback of the future in true freshman Charlie Brewer. While it will take years to build the depth back up to a level that can compete game in and game out in the conference, Matt Rhule seems up for the task. There have been more rumblings from the fan base than you would expect after how the program was (rightfully) gutted, but I guess it’s a good sign that people still do actually care. And most importantly, the majority of the #CAB idiots have finally been mostly silenced.
  7. UNT (7-3): One could argue for the Mean Green over the Bears, as North Texas is having a far better season than their neighbors south on I-35. But, despite a really good team, a gorgeous stadium, and the chance to play for a conference title, it’s hard to convince folks that anyone actually cares. In a stadium that holds around 30,000, they can barely get 20,000 for a big game, and with such lustrous foes as Old Dominion and UTEP, who can blame them. It’s going to be a challenge to recruit at a high level or keep any coach worth his salt unless the community rallies around this program, and now, for the first time in years, they have something worth rallying behind.
  8. Texas Tech (5-3): The Red Raiders are the lowest ranked Power Five program on the list, and there are several good reasons for it. First and foremost, have you ever met a happy Texas Tech football fan? No, you have not. They wasted three years of the best QB they have had on the Plains in Patrick Mahomes, managing just 16 wins. 16 WINS IN THREE YEARS!!! With one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country. A travesty, I tell ya. They have tried to give credence to the saying that ‘the best defense is a good offense’ under Kliff Kingsbury, with terrible results - even a good offense needs at least one stop behind it. And now, with the prospect of a second consecutive bowl-less season on the horizon, they may be faced with firing their own golden child at the end of the year (or hell, at the end of Saturday night). But, then again, it’s not like Kliffy is the only problem here, this is, after all, a program that has won double digit games all of three times - since 1925. Oh, and the one coach that consistently got them between 7-9 wins a year? They canned him for locking a player in a closet, only to see that same dude go and light it up in Eastern Washington over the past few seasons. LOL Tech, L. O. L. PS: Welcome to #BeatTech week.
  9. UTSA (5-4): What a disappointing year for Frank Wilson, who looked like one of the top candidates to escape mid-major land and move up to the big table after the year, only to see his Roadrunners completely unravel down the stretch. They will need to win out to beat last year’s win total of 6, but, I guess, the good news is, Wilson will probably stick around another year or two and hopefully get UTSA on more stable ground.
  10. Rice (1-9): Do Rice students care that they have a football team? Would they revolt if they didn’t?
  11. Texas State (2-8): Do Texas State students care that they have a football team? Would they revolt if they didn’t? Apathy is worse than anger, in my opinion, and that seems to be the prevailing thought around these two programs right now.
  12. UTEP (0-10): Let’s hear from interim coach Mike Price: "This is more complicated than I thought. This job is more complicated than I thought. This resurrection is more complicated than I thought." Welp.