TEXAS COLLEGE FBS RANKINGS

Find out which teams could be making a second half push for the No. 1 spot in Texas

Texas is still No. 1 in the state. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texas has 12 FBS teams. Each week we rank them based on season-long performance, the prior game, and success relative to their competition. These are the updated rankings following Week 8 and looking forward to Week 9.

No. 12: UTEP

UTEP’s Week 9 matchup will be one of opposites. While the 0-7 Miners continue to suffer through a winless season they will line up against a 6-1 UAB team that is having one of the most surprising seasons in college football. With that said, one glimpse of hope for UTEP is the fact that they have stayed within 10 points of their opponents in each of their last four games.

No. 11: Rice

The Rice Owls losing woes continue as they have now endured a seven-game losing streak. Chances are that this streak will continue for at least one more week when the Owls face off against the No. 5 team on this list, 6-2 North Texas.

No. 10: Texas State

Texas State rounds the bottom teams in Texas, all of which who have just one or no wins this season. The Bobcats have now lost five straight but should remain optimistic with a Week 9 matchup vs. New Mexico State. The Aggies lost to  Georgia Southern by 17 points in week 8, a team that was only able to defeat Texas State by three points in week 7.

No. 9: UTSA

The Road Runners sit in the No 9. spot for yet another week as they continue to try to keep their season from slipping away. UTSA has lost their last two games but will get a chance to regroup during their bye week before heading into a tough matchup vs. the UAB Blazers in week 10.

No. 8: SMU

The Mustangs look to be turning things around for the better now that they have won three of their last four games since their disappointing 0-3 start. While SMU has enjoyed their recent success, they may be heading into a quick reality check in week 9 when they will be challenged with the task of taking on the 6-1 Cincinnati Bearcats. Though the Bearcats carry an impressive record, they have not been truly challenged yet this season as only one of the six teams they have defeated have a winning record. This may be a good confidence building game for the Mustangs if they can secure a victory.

No. 7: TCU

Things are not looking good for the Horned Frogs as their record has now fallen below .500 after they suffered their fourth loss of the season to Oklahoma in Week 8. What is even more troubling than TCU’s poor play is the loss of star quarterback Shawn Robinson who will undergo season ending shoulder surgery. While the Horned Frogs have what seems like a favorable matchup vs. Kansas in Week 9, it is hard to tell just how much Robinson's absence will impact this already struggling team.   

No. 6: Baylor

After enjoying a welcomed chance to rest in Week 8 because of their bye week, the Bears will be thrust back into action vs. the 13th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers. So far this season the Bears have proven themselves to be a very talented team with playmakers capable of competing with the best in the country. Keep an eye on this dangerous team that is flirting with a chance to land a spot as one of the top 5 teams in Texas.

No. 5: UNT

Despite an impressive 300-yard passing performance with three touchdowns by quarterback Mason Fine, the Mean Green suffered their second loss of the season in week 8. UNT was unable to top a talented UAB team that is on a five-game winning streak and has only lost once this season. North Texas will have an easy matchup in Week 9 vs. the 1-7 Rice Owls and will look to end the season strong to keep their bowl game hopes alive.

No. 4: Texas Tech

Texas Tech holds on to the No. 4 spot in this week’s rankings after handling the Kansas Jayhawks with ease this past weekend. Quarterback Alan Bowman returned in big fashion from his two-game absence after suffering a partially collapsed lung. Bowman picked up exactly where he left off with 408 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Red Raiders have an interesting showdown with an Iowa State team that is still riding the high of their upset victory over West Virginia. Coach Kingsbury will look to get his team and young quarterback playing at their highest level before having to face No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 6 Texas in back to back weeks.

No. 3: Houston

After their fourth victory in a row in which the Cougars scored 40-plus points, Houston stays put in the No. 3 position of this week’s rankings. The Cougars defeated Navy on the back of quarterback D’Eriq King who not only throw for over 400 yards passing and 3 touchdowns but also leading his team in rushing. Houston will arguably face their most difficult opponent of the season this coming weekend in undefeated South Florida. Ranked No. 21, the Bulls have had an impressive season thus far, but have yet to face a quarterback as talented as King. If King is able to perform up to his season standards, this matchup should be a lot more even than it seems on paper.

No. 2: Texas A&M

The Aggies once again find themselves in the No. 2 position, fighting to stay in arm’s length of the Longhorns. After three consecutive, hard fought victories, A&M enjoyed their bye week and a chance to prepare for the final stretch of their season. Now ranked 16th in the nation, the Aggies are quietly climbing back into relevance and despite having two losses, could possibly even reach the top 10 based on the sheer strength of their schedule. Texas A&M will try to pick up where they left off in Week 9 vs. the 4-3 Mississippi State Bulldogs. While the Bulldogs are a middle of the pack SEC team, they are very capable of handing the Aggies their third loss of the season. Texas A&M will rely heavily on their defense to give them a leg up in this matchup after Mississippi State was held to just three points by LSU in week 8.

No. 1: Texas

After sitting out in week 8 the Longhorns will return in full strength with star quarterback Sam Ehlingher back at the helm. Texas will have to avoid any sort of bye week lull with a dangerous Oklahoma State team waiting to ruin the Longhorns season. Even though he Cowboys have lost two games in a row, UT has had a bad history of playing down to their opponent in games they are expected to win easily. This coming weekend will be a good chance for the Longhorns to smooth out any rough spots and prove to the nation that they have overcome their usual ailments.

 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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