Ranking the schools
Preseason rankings for the 12 Division I college football teams in Texas
Each week, we will rank the 12 Division I teams in the state of Texas. Here are the preseason rankings:
No. 12: Rice
The Owls won just two games last season, and while they might be improved, their schedule is brutal with Army, Wake Forest, Texas and Baylor in non-conference. No way to go up.
No. 11 UTEP
The Miners won just one game last season under Dana Dimel, but they did show improvement late in the season. This year might not be much better, but like Rice, there is nowhere to go but up.
No. 10 UTSA
This program has fallen on such hard times, they are less than a touchdown favorite against Incarnate Word this weekend. Looks like a rough season ahead.
No. 9 Texas State
The addition of Jake Spavital as head coach should at least give fans some hope, but it won't be Week 1, when they take on Texas A&M. Still, look for improvement throughout the season.
No. 8 SMU
Year 2 of the Sonny Dykes experience should bring some improvement over last year's 5-7 mark. Former UT QB Shane Beuchele is an upgrade and the Ponies could be in line for a bowl game.
No. 7 Texas Tech
The Kliff Kingsbury era is over, and the new-look Raiders will have some rebuilding to do. Perhaps the biggest wild card on the list, they could be anywhere from 5-10 on this list when it is all said and done.
No. 6 North Texas
Seth Littrell has turned this program around and they have now gone to three straight bowl games. It won't be a shock if they make it to four.
No. 5 Baylor
Matt Ruhle did an outstanding job last season making Baylor competitive again after a rough first season. With the Art Briles controversy getting farther in the rear mirror, the Bears could take another big step this season.
No. 4 Houston
Major Applewhite's brief tenure was an exercise in mismanagement and mediocrity. Enter Dana Holgorsen, who should get this team back atop the AAC in the next three years, maybe as soon as this year. But a horrible defense from last year probably won't be fixed overnight, and the Cougars have a tough schedule. Still, as long as they have D'Eriq King, they should be competitive.
No. 3 TCU
The Frogs had a disappointing season last year, but Gary Patterson has built too strong of a program to keep them down for long. Could easily make a run at the Big 12 as a dark horse. Or go 6-6.
No. 2 Texas A&M
If these were power rankings, the Aggies might be No. 1. But a daunting schedule that includes dates with Clemson, Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia will probably equal a record that does not match the preseason No. 1.
No. 1 Texas
Coming off a New Year's Six bowl win, expectations are sky high for the Longhorns. Realistically they might still be a season away from being "back," but an early season test against LSU might show exactly how far the Longhorns have come. They have the easiest path to an excellent season.