Unlike the hacks from the AP, putting out a preseason Top 25 with the like of Nebraska and Michigan stinking up the joint, I won’t rely on history and pedigree. No, I am a man of science and letters, and I need a sample size before I start willy-nilly ranking teams and killing dreams. Here we go, first shot out of the box, written in pencil. Yes, I do hate your team. Fervently.
1. Texas 3-1
Ok, I just lost half my readers. Yes, as baseline as it is to rank Texas as the best in the State, they’ve earned it. They’re only loss is to LSU, who might be the third-best team in the SEC West or they might finally have crawled over the Nick Saban hump and into the playoff. Either way, the Horns are the class of the State. Charlie Strong must be elated. Sam Ehlinger might be the best quarterback in college football.
2. Baylor 3-0
Did you feel that? It’s called a fall-off. The gap between Texas and everybody else is palatable. The Bears have done precisely what we asked them to do, which included a narrow escape from Rice. Charlie Brewer and Denzel Mims headline, but the Baylor defense is what carries the squad.
3. Texas A&M 2-2
Jimbo’s team has two losses, and they haven’t hit the juggernaut part of their schedule yet. Is Kellen Mond elite? Can A&M find any healthy running backs on campus? How will they break Arkansas’ heart this year? These and other questions will find answers as A&M finishes in 4th in the SEC West.
4. SMU 4-0
Boom. Pony up and stuff. The Mustangs handed TCU its first loss and beat the Frogs at home. TCU didn’t discover the forward pass until the second half, but SMU had a lot to do with that. The Ponies were without their best defender on Saturday as well. They’ve got a grown-up playing quarterback in Shane Buechele and a bunch of talented skill players.
5. TCU 2-1
I didn’t understand why folks saw TCU as a darkhorse playoff candidate when they knew good and well that Alex Delton might start. It’s like they never saw Delton at K-State. The good news is Max Duggan is beginning to turn into a passable signal-caller. The bad news is he may not get there before the teeth of the conference schedule.
6. Texas Tech 2-1
What to make of Tech? They beat two lightweights, sorry UTEP, and blew it in the desert. They’ll come off a bye week and head to Norman. Don’t expect a happy ride home. I’m not sure what to expect from this team, they seem to share the trappings of previous Red Raider ball clubs, just not as offensively potent.
7. North Texas 2-2
The Mean Green righted the ship at UTSA’s expense. Now the Mean Green play a wounded Houston team in Denton. Tre Siggers and DeAndre Torrey are worth the price of admission at running back. Mason Fine is starting to get on track as well.
8. Houston 1-3
Wow, Thursday night stung. D’Eriq King will keep Houston in games, but their lack of athleticism on defense is biting this team over and over again. A loss like Tulane might move some teams to fold up shop, Holgorsen will probably get this team fighting back, but he needs a class or two of high school speed to replenish the cupboard.
9. Rice 0-4
How in the hell does an 0-for Rice team get ahead of squads with W’s? Glad you asked. Because this team is making significant strides and they’ve survived a brutal schedule before heading into league play. They’ve played Baylor and Army to one-possession games, and at least made Texas get to the third quarter before subbing in their second-teamers.
10. Texas State 1-3
The ‘Cats survived a triple OT thriller to get Jake Spavital his first win. They can build on that with a home date against Nichols on Saturday. Whether they have a quarterback, the returns on the rushing game from Saturday were encouraging.
11. UTSA 1-3
If UTSA fans are fed up with Frank Wilson, start saving your money because the Runners won’t make a move without some financial backing. If Frank Harris is out for an extended period, Katy bar the door. Hell, Katy needs to learn to throw a spiral.
12. UTEP 1-2
The Miners are taking baby steps to go from bad to sort of ok. They’ve got quarterback issues as well, but they might have an answer at running back, and the offensive line isn’t the wet paper sack it was last season. Southern Miss will run them out of the park next Saturday.