Another week, another example as to why the Horned Frogs are the class of the Lone Star State. This time they earned their stripes by taking down the “flagship program” of the state in typical fashion, and for the fourth straight year.
So the real question becomes, who is behind them? Disappointing losses by A&M, SMU, and others leave some serious questions. In fact, only three FBS teams in the state managed to win games last weekend. What a pathetic year for football in the Lone Star State, which now “boasts” a season record of 48-59 overall.
Let’s dive in.
- TCU (8-1): This is a vintage Gary Patterson defense, in every sense of the word. They absolutely dominated against the run for the third straight week, this time holding the Horns to single digits. They get after the QB in impressive fashion - does seven sacks do anything for you? And while the still give up big plays through the air, they get stops when they need to - the Longhorns scored just once and never sniffed the red zone. While the offense leaves something to be desired, the D is championship caliber. And they’ll have a chance to prove it Saturday against Baker Mayfield and 11 corpses on D.
- Houston (6-3): I guess you rise up the rankings when you’re one of only three teams in the running to win a game. The Cougars did so by beating up on a 2-7 East Carolina team, who is pretty much trash, but again, who did better outside of TCU? The Coogs got a much-needed offensive explosion but got ripped up on defense, as the Pirates accumulated over 500 yards, including 468 through the air. I don’t know who Houston is or who they are trying to be, but they have been disappointing overall.
- SMU (6-3): The Ponies played an undefeated UCF team within one score, and if not for a scoreless fourth, could have pulled off the upset. Chad Morris is certain to make the Aggies short list, as he should, but he’s on the verge of breaking through in Highland Park, and it would be great if he stuck around for another two years and got the Mustangs to contend for a NY6 Bowl, something that is certainly achievable.
- Texas (4-5): Texas has the second best defense in the state. And though their offense couldn’t score double digits on Aledo, with Sam Ehlinger back, I think they would at least beat the teams below them on this list. They’ll get a chance to get back to .500 this weekend against Kansas in a hilarious revenge game.
- North Texas (6-3): Our third winning team of the week came back from a two score first half deficit to squeak out a one point win over a .500 team, but apparently that’s good enough these days to squeak you into the top half of the rankings. The Mean Green stays in the driver’s seat of Conference USA with just three games to play, and should be heavy favorites against two of them. Only Army stands in the way of a nine-win regular season.
- Baylor (1-8): Big time win over a Kansas program that might as well shutter at this point. But Baylor has finally found their QB of the future in impressive true freshman Charlie Brewer, who finally got his first start of the season against the Jayhawks. Outside of the disaster against Texas, the Bears have looked solid over the last month or so of the season, and look primed to get back to bowl eligibility - in 2019. ;)
- UTSA (5-3): FIU is a good team, but managing just a single touchdown against them (when you had been lighting it up) does not bode well for the future. The Roadrunners are one of the most frustratingly inconsistent teams in the state, and formerly hot, young coach Frank Martin may end up bemoaning missed opportunities with the bevy of high-powered jobs soon to come open.
- Texas Tech (4-5): The come from ahead overtime loss against Kansas State might be the final nail in the coffin for the Red Raiders and Kliff Kingsbury, who flittered away a double digit lead late to the Cats third string QB. Can Tech win two more games (against against Baylor, TCU, and Texas) to get to bowl eligibility? Or will their four game losing streak become seven?
- Texas State (2-7): The Bobcats put up 35 points, scored in every quarter, and lost by double-digits. I’ve got nothing.
- Rice (1-8): UAB is bowl eligible in their first season back in the FBS. Rice... is not.
- Texas A&M (5-4): It’s November, so I am just preemptively moving them down the list. Also, Kevin Sumlin is on his way out, and the Aggies are going to come after Gary Patterson. I can’t.
- UTEP (0-9): The Miners are alone in their misery after Baylor broke through for a win. That’s too bad.