Gary Patterson has been winning football games for a long time. Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Texas college football has been a bit of a mishmash of late. Texas A&M has started well every year, then finished 8-4. Texas made a sexy coaching change, picking up Tom Herman and ditching Charlie Strong. Coach Development U. — aka, University of Houston — added Major Applewhite as the next potentially big thing.
For our purposes, Applewhite does not make our list, since he is a first-time head coach. But he could easily move up fast. As of today, here are the top five coaches in Texas FBS college football:
5. Frank Wilson, UTSA
This might seem high, but he is a terrific recruiter whose team got better in year one as the season went on. They went 6-7 after a bowl loss, but he showed things were headed in the right direction. He already has a signature win over Baylor this year, and his name will come up for a lot of future jobs.
He just edges out David Bailiff of Rice, who has a better overall resume but his teams have fallen off a cliff this year, and Matt Ruhle of Baylor, who was terrific at Temple but has yet to show he can do it in Texas and in the Big 12.
4. Chad Morris, SMU
Morris was OC at Clemson and a hot commodity. He has found success at SMU, where it is nearly impossible to recruit. Expect his name to pop up for every big job out there over the next couple years.
3. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Sumlin has been consistent at A&M, a program which had a hard time winning before he showed up. But this is a big year, and any regression might mean he is out of work.
2. Tom Herman, Texas
Herman brought some magic to UH in two seasons, including a 13-1 mark and Peach Bowl win over Florida State. The team regressed slightly last year, but Herman was already eyeing the big prize in his mind: UT. Will he have success there? Would be shocking if he did not, although it might take more than a year or two.
1. Gary Patterson, TCU
All he does is win. In 16 full seasons, he has only two losing seasons and one .500 year. He has 10 seasons with at least 10 victories, and a Rose Bowl win, things Herman may eventually accomplish, but has not yet. All at TCU — not exactly an A-list program. Will go down as one of the state's all-time best.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!