Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. And there’s an opening convey of generalities. A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner. — John Steinbeck
It’s Thursday, so that means the newest episode of the Nation of Texas College Football Rankings is on tap for Week Five. With a fairly wide-spread bye week for teams on Saturday the 22nd, there isn’t much movement at the top of the pack, but plenty in the middle.
Here they are:
1. TEXAS LONGHORNS (3-0)
2. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (3-0)
3. TCU HORNED FROGS (3-0)
4. BAYLOR BEARS (3-0)
5. TEXAS A&M AGGIES (2-1)
6. UTSA ROADRUNNERS (4-0)
7. TEXAS STATE BOBCATS (2-1)
8. SMU MUSTANGS (1-2)
9. NORTH TEXAS MEAN GREEN (1-3)
10. RICE OWLS (1-3)
11. UTEP MINERS (1-3)
12. HOUSTON COUGARS (0-3)
The Texas Longhorns stay atop the NOT College Football Power Rankings for the second-straight week. Mack Brown’s squad faces by far their toughest test of the young 2012 season so far as they travel to Stillwater this Saturday to take on a very capable and explosive Oklahoma State Cowboys squad who would love nothing more than to add the first loss to Texas’ record.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders hold their spot at No. 2 in this week’s power rankings. The Red Raiders travel to Ames to take on a 3-0 Iowa State Cyclones squad that has outscored their opponents by a total of 84-32 through their first 12 quarters of football. Paul Rhodes’ squad has some serious firepower, and should be a true test for a Red Raiders defensive unit which has defied early expectations to this point.
The TCU Horned Frogs have clobbered three over-matched opponents by a 103-13 total over their first three games, and in all reality, don’t face a much tougher test when they take the short drive across the Metroplex on Saturday to face off against an anemic SMU Mustangs squad. Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert has been far from the answer so far, and as a result, June Jones’ seat is getting crispier. It’ll be an inferno by Saturday evening.
The 3-0 Baylor Bears survived their first scare of 2012 last Saturday barely escaping Monroe, Louisiana with a 47-42 win over the increasingly dangerous Monroe Warhawks. Things certainly don’t get any easier for Baylor this Saturday as they make a trip to Morgantown to take on Heisman Trophy candidate Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers. This game promises to be the highlight of the early slate of Saturday’s games, and will tell a great deal about what we should expect from Baylor going forward.
The Texas A&M Aggies at 2-1 are the only of our NOT Power Rankings Top 5 teams with a loss. Kevin Sumlin’s squad welcomes the crestfallen Arkansas Razorbacks to College Station this Saturday, and should be in for quite a battle. Arkansas is looking to save face, for one, and this game is also the Aggies’ first exposure to a hungry SEC team. It’s one to watch for sure.
Apart from a week 1 nail-biter against the South Alabama Jaguars, the UTSA Roadrunners have been dominant through their first 16 quarters of play, dispatching largely over-matched opponents by a combined total of 154-64. Larry Coker’s team travels to Las Cruces to take on the newly-nomadic New Mexico State Aggies this Saturday in what should be the Roadrunners’ 5th win of 2012.
The Texas State Bobcats are 2-1 through three games after a 41-37 win over Stephen F. Austin last Saturday. The Bobcats travel to Reno on Saturday to take on an underrated Nevada Wolfpack squad, and could indeed be in for their second loss of the season. Texas State will need to play more like they did against the Houston Cougars to open the season than they did against SFA last week to emerge with a third victory prior to the return trip to San Marcos.
After a disappointing 14-7 loss to the Troy Trojans to open Sun Belt Conference play last Saturday, the North Texas Mean Green stand at 1-3 entering this Saturday’s contest against the 1-3 Florida Atlantic Owls on the road. This could be an opportunity for the Mean Green to get back on their feet, but they will need to be more productive on offense to equalize things and have the chance to return home to Denton on Sunday 2-3, rather than 1-4, and already behind the eight ball in conference play.
The 1-3 Rice Owls take on one of the only teams in the state which they can claim a great talent balance over this coming Saturday, in Houston. This cross-town battle will be a yawner this time around, but gives the Owls a chance to start to get back in the Conference USA mix and creep a little closer to .500.
As mentioned earlier, the 1-2 SMU Mustangs welcome TCU to Ford Field on Saturday and almost inevitably will fall to 1-3 once that matchup is all said and done. SMU just doesn’t have the players to hang with the Horned Frogs and are likely to have similar dilemas for the rest of the season.
The UTEP Miners have struggled through their first four contests, with their moment of glory coming in week one when they took the Oklahoma Sooners to the wire in El Paso. Since then it’s been mostly downhill and things don’t promise to improve this weekend, as they take a trip east to take on the East Carolina Pirates, who have started the season 2-2, but with both losses coming to Big 5 conference programs.
The Houston Cougars remain at 0-3, and take up the rear in our poll. Tony Levine’s squad has a chance to put one in the win column on Saturday against Rice, but will need a strong performance and some consistency to do so.
Make sure to visit next Thursday for the next installment of the NOT College Football Rankings!
Kris is also the host of the Rant Sports College Football Hour on the TSC Radio Network on Sunday evenings at 8 Central Time and Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.