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Ranking Texas' top 5 FBS college football coaches

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.

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It more of the same from the Houston Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Sunday afternoon provided a high-res snapshot of the state of Houston sports. The Astros, already assured of the best record in the American League, played a game they didn’t need to win. The Astros won, ho-hum, their 104th win of the season.

Meanwhile, eight miles away, the Texans, mired in last place with fan support dwindling, played a game they really needed to win. The Texans lost 34-24 to the Los Angeles Chargers in front of (giggle) 69,071 fans at NRG Stadium. The Texans really ought to stop saying the stands are packed. Every time a team punts, and cameras follow the ball skyward, there are thousands of empty seats on display. I know the NFL methodology for determining attendance, (total tickets sold, no-shows don’t count) but it just looks silly when the Texans announce 69,000 fans.

The Texans came close as usual before sputtering to another defeat. The Texans now stand at 0-3-1, the only winless team in the NFL. It’s the second time in three years they’ve started a season without a victory after four games. It’s telling to note that not one of the Texans opponents has a winning record for 2022.

In other words, the Texans have played four games they shoulda/coulda won. Shouda against the Colts, Broncos and Bears, and coulda against the Chargers.

Should/coulda four wins. Instead, none.

That’s the Texans. They’re in every game but can’t close the deal. Yeah, yeah, on Monday we hear, “the Texans are playing hard for coach Lovie Smith” and “they’re competitive” and “they’re a young team.” These are NFL equivalents of a participation trophy.

Sunday’s loss to the Chargers at NRG Stadium was straight out of the Texans playbook. Fall behind, make it interesting, lose. The Texans stuck to their script, timid play calling, momentum-crushing penalties (nine for 67 yards), self-inflicted drops, lackluster quarterbacking and Rex Burkhead on the field for crunch time. After one play where a Texan player was called for holding, the announcer said, “and he did a poor job of holding.”

Statuesque quarterback David Mills keeps saying “we’re in a good spot” and “we’re improving.” Statuesque as in he doesn’t move – or barely moves to avoid sacks. Sunday saw his first touchdown pass to a wide receiver. He’s now thrown four interceptions in the past two games. Let’s go to the tote board: 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 4 fumbles, 11 sacks, qbr rating 28.5 – good for 28th in the league.

A bright spot, sort of. This was the first week the Texans didn’t cover the spread. They’re now 1-2-1 against Vegas oddsmakers, meaning you’ve won money if you took the Texans all four weeks. They head to Jacksonville next as early 6.5-point underdogs.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s brilliant quarterback Bryce Young, who will be available for the Texans when they draft first in 2023 (as Paul Heyman says, that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler), suffered a shoulder injury last Saturday. The Texans need to take out a Lloyds of London insurance policy on Young.

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