Ranking the schools

Preseason rankings for the 12 Division I college football teams in Texas

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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.


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Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

For the first time since July 1984, NASCAR returns to one of its most popular cities in Nashville, Tennessee for the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Super Speedway. This track is a 1 1/3rd mile concrete oval that was dormant for nearly ten years and was only used as a testing facility. So it came as a bit of a surprise last season when it was announced that this track would be getting a date. For a lot of drivers, this will be a brand new racetrack, but we will see practice and qualifying, so that will be a huge help for the newcomers that haven't raced here before. Back when the Xfinity and Trucks ran here, this track featured a lot of first time winners. Back in 2008, future NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski shocked the world by jumping in Dale Jr's car and capturing his first win here. There will be a lot of veterans like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have plenty of experience at this track, but it will be tough to compare. It should be fun with everyone coming into this race with minimal knowledge.

Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning the All-Star Race. Overall, while Larson and his Hendrick teammates probably enjoyed the race, the feedback from crews and fans was less than positive. As I was walking through the garage area and talking to a few crew members, a lot of them were very critical of the 450 horsepower motor and the tall spoiler to try and keep the cars bunched up. When I asked one of the crew-members what he thought about the package he told me, "Oh it's awful. The track is terrible, the package makes it impossible to pass and it's super hot out here." On green flag runs, it was the same as it ever was as the lead car would pretty much take off and the only time there was really any "pack racing" it came after there were restarts. The whole race was well-intentioned and the fans showed up as it was nearly a capacity crowd, but the whole thing just didn't make any sense. From the start time being in the nearly 100 degree heat to the wacky full-field invert at the end of each stage. Let's hope that next season's All-Star Race is a lot more concise.

In Silly Season news this week, Truck Series regulars GMS racing announced that they would be fielding a full-time cup series team. The team is currently owned by Allegiant Airlines CEO Maurice Gallagher and his son, Spencer, who used to drive for them in the Xfinity Series. This move seemed to come from out of nowhere as there was never any indication that this was a move they were exploring anytime soon after they turned down the opportunity to purchase Furniture Row Racing in 2019. This is certainly a great sight for the sport as there will be more new teams on the track and with their close relationship with Chevy, it wouldn't be a surprise if they step in and help this team become competitive. The favorite to drive their car has to be 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed. He has easily been their best driver in trucks, and it would make the most sense for him to get the promotion.

This week at Nashville, the driver that I have winning is Alex Bowman. Now while this is a brand new racetrack and he has a grand total of zero starts here, this track suits his driving style perfectly. With the inclusion of this track, there are now four tracks with a concrete surface. Nashville, Bristol, Dover and Martinsville. At the three of the tracks they have run at, he has shown a lot of speed, including a victory at Dover this season and a top ten finish at Bristol. This is also a track where crew-chief Greg Ives said Bowman has gravitated towards during testing. In an interview with Sirius XM Ives was quoted as saying "we used to have a lot of fun testing there," so this is clearly a track that they both enjoy going to. Another big factor going into Sunday will be just how fast these Hendrick Motorsports cars are, they have finished 1-2 over the last four points races. He has watched his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have immense success, and now this week I think he is due for a third win of the season. Look for the bright purple #48 Chevy to go to victory lane this week at Nashville.

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