TEXAS FBS FOOTBALL RANKINGS

Where does your team rank among Texas schools heading into the 2018 college football season?

Where does your team rank among Texas schools heading into the 2018 college football season?
Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs top the pre-season Texans rankings. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Texas has 12 FBS teams. Each week we will rank them based on season-long performance, the prior game, and success relative to their competition. These are the rankings headed into week 1 of the 2018 college football season.

No. 12: UTEP

UTEP brings up the back of pack after failing to gain a single victory in 2017. They have a favorable matchup in week 1 vs. Northern Arizona, but I wouldn’t count on their success in this game to carry much significance towards the rest of the season.  

No. 11: Texas State

Not much changed in 2017 for a Texas State program that can never seem to make any significant improvements. The Bobcats go against a difficult opponent in Rutgers to begin their 2018 campaign.

No. 10: Rice

The wheels fell off the wagon for Rice in 2017 after finishing with an abysmal record of 1-11. Anything should be an improvement in 2018, but Rice will have a difficult task vs. the University of Houston this week after barely beating Prairie View last week.

No. 9: Baylor

After an offseason full of controversy and change before the 2017 season, the Bears felt the impact on the field. Baylor fought hard but only came out with a single victory in 2017. With that said, their team relied on a large collection of young and inexperienced players that now have a year’s worth of playing time under their belts. The Bears will look to start 2018 off right and gain some momentum before they face off against the gauntlet of daunting Big 12 opponents.

No. 8: UTSA

UTSA will return in 2018 with the hopes of redeeming themselves from their 2017 season which seemed to fall apart. The Roadrunners started off strong in 2017 with three consecutive wins but struggled to remain consistent from that point on. Things do not seem like they will be much easier in 2018 as they kick the season off with a difficult matchup against Arizona State and their new head coach Herm Edwards.

No. 7: Texas Tech

After a mediocre season finishing with a below .500 record in 2017, the Red Raiders start off 2018 as the seventh best team in Texas. The popular belief is that Head coach Kliff Kingsbury will have one last chance in 2018 to improve this Tech squad and cement himself as the head coach for the foreseeable future. Kingsbury will have his work cut out for him in Week 1 as his team will face off against an always dangerous Ole Miss team. To add to the pressure, there are still many questions and doubts surrounding the starting quarterback position, and unless someone steps up to take the reigns, all signs point to a recipe for disaster.

No. 6: SMU

SMU grabs the No. 6 overall spot on this list headed into Week 1. The Mustangs had a solid year in 2017 with the help of a high flying passing attack led by quarterback Ben Hicks and WR Courtland Sutton, who was taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. SMU will look for another prolific season on the offensive side of the ball with Hicks returning for his junior season along with one of his most dangerous weapons from 2017, RB Xavier Jones. SMU will have a difficult matchup against UNT in week 1 who landed in the No.3 spot on this list.

No. 5: Houston

The Cougars did not make much noise in 2017 but they performed well for their circumstances. UH suffered two major losses with the departures of head coach Tom Herman to the University of Texas and superstar quarterback Greg Ward to the NFL. With that said new head coach Major Applewhite did an impressive job keeping the Cougars competitive, while also bringing along his new, young QB D’Eriq King. 2018 will be an opportunity for Applewhite and King to continue their maturation and maintain the winning culture left behind by coach Herman. Houston will face off against their city counterparts at Rice University in week 1, and are expected to pass their first test of the season with flying colors.

No. 4: Texas A&M

The Aggies had a rocky season in 2017 with their fair share of highs and lows, but looking forward, excitement around the program is on the rise. A&M made headlines this offseason after hiring former Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. Not only will A&M have the benefit of taking the field re-energized by their new leadership, they will also have an abundance of talented returning players from 2017 that may just make them one of this seasons dark horses in college football. Not much will be made of their week 1 game vs Northwestern State, but it will give coach Fisher a chance to become more familiar with his new team.

No. 3: North Texas

UNT sneaks into the No.3 spot on this list to begin the 2017 season. North Texas caught fire in 2017 behind a dangerous passing attack led by quarterback Mason Fine. Not only will the exciting, young QB be returning for North Texas, but so will four of his top five leading receivers from 2017. UNT will kickoff 2018 with a tough matchup against a very formidable SMU team, but a victory could set them on the right path for another spectacular season.

No. 2: Texas (23)

The University of Texas falls into the No. 2 spot as they are the only other team from Texas to make the nation’s Top 25 rankings to begin the 2018 season. Securing the 23rd spot in the nation is a compliment to coach Tom Herman and the excitement he has created around the Texas program that is attempting to return prominence. Texas performed well in 2017 and showed flashes of hope and potential on their way to finishing with a record of 7-6. Although they will not be walking into a guaranteed win in Week 1 vs. the University of Maryland, they will have an opportunity to show the offseason progress they have made and take one more step towards re-establishing themselves as championship contenders.  

No. 1: TCU (16)

As we look ahead to the 2018 college football season, TCU tops the rankings. The Horned Frogs had a strong showing in 2017 after finishing second in the Big 12 with a 11-3 record. They will enter into 2018 ranked 16th in the nation, as coach Gary Patterson is always expected to put together a strong squad that always has a chance to win every time they step on the field. TCU should be able to maintain its place on this list through Week 1 as they have a very favorable matchup against the Southern University Jaguars.

 

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Astros beat the Nationals, 5-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Justin Verlander allowed two runs and four hits over six innings to win his season debut for the Houston Astros, 5-3 over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

The 41-year-old right-hander, who began the season on the injured list because of right shoulder inflammation, struck out four and walked none, throwing 50 of 78 pitches for strikes in his 258th win.

“He looked really good," Astros manager Joe Espada said. "Efficient, threw a ton of strikes.”

Verlander (1-0) averaged 94.3 mph with 35 four-seam fastballs and induced five groundouts. The nine-time All-Star retired the side in order four times and improved to 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five regular-season starts against the Nationals.

Ildemaro Vargas hit an RBI single in the third and Riley Adams homered in the fourth, cutting Washington’s deficit to 4-2.

Verlander had made a pair of minor league injury rehabilitation starts.

He retired his first eight batters before Adams doubled off the base of the wall in right-center field.

“Yeah, pleasantly surprised, honestly," Verlander said. “I kind of tried to cram spring training into three starts and control wasn’t quite what I would have liked. The rehab starts and then just look at mechanics and try to find something to make it click. I think what I worked on between last start and this start, just being a little more directional.”

Verlander was 13-8 with a 3.22 ERA last year for the New York Mets and Houston, who acquired him ahead of the trade deadline. Espada was hopeful Verlander could key an early season turnaround.

“It’s very important," Espada said. "Despite how we started, it’s a long journey. we need him to lead us through this season. We have been in this before. We just got to be patient, continue to fight and once this rotation gets healthy and we start hitting our stride it’s going to be fun.”

Josh Hader allowed Jesse Winker's sacrifice fly in the ninth and got his second save, striking out his final two batters.

Houston (7-14) stole five bases and stopped a three-game losing streak. Jeremy Peña and Mauricio Dubón had three hits each, Yainer Diaz doubled twice, and Kyle Tucker doubled, singled, walked twice and stole two bases.

Washington manager Dave Martinez was ejected by plate umpire Cory Blaser for arguing a caught stealing call against Vargas that ended the eighth. The Nationals are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their 2019 World Series win over Houston in seven games.

MacKenzie Gore (2-1) allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings.

“Frustrating," Gore said. "But it was kind of one of those things where it wasn’t bad. We had a chance. I thought the bullpen was really good again. I just wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t terrible. I just need to be a little better.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Espada says LHP Framber Valdez played catch Friday and felt well. Espada expects Valdez to throw a bullpen session of 30-40 pitches this weekend.

UP NEXT

RHP Ronel Blanco (2-0, 0.86) starts Saturday for Houston against RHP Trevor Williams (2-0, 3.45).

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