Texas and Texas A&M – not so much. Ohio State pulls off a first ever sweep of the 61 first place votes up for grabs in the AP Preseason Top 25. TCU ranks second and Baylor (despite current travails) is in fourth place in the meaningless annual preseason exercise. Ohio State has been top-ranked 7 other times at the beginning of the season and has never won the national championship in any of those years.
Texas comes in unranked but in 38th place in the voting with a mighty 3 points. A&M lands just outside the rankings with 61 points in 26th place.
The Longhorns at least have a chance to move up quickly when they face Notre Dame in South Bend on Labor Day weekend. The Aggies also would get a huge boost from beating a highly regarded Arizona State team in the Texas Kickoff Classic at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 5 and probably would move into at least 15th place. As usual, most of the top 25 play the typical first game assortment of lower division patsies, perennial doormats and conference weak sisters. A handful of the top 25 may face actual tests in the first week. Notable matchups other than Texas v. Notre Dame and A&M v. Arizona State include:
No. 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech
NO. 2 TCU at Minnesota
And the likely game of the week in No. 3 Alabama v. No. 20 Wisconsin
In most cases, pretty darn worthless it turns out. The Count of Wall Street Journal fame has run the numbers of the coaches at the major football schools. Rather than looking at won-loss records or conference championships, the Count analyzes exactly how well each coach did against opposing teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at game time. This eliminates stacking of the records against lower division opponents, perennial doormats and the intra-conference weak sisters.
Who is the best college football coach? Not surprisingly, it is the coach of defending National Champions Ohio State – Urban Meyer with a .707 mark. The highly regarded Nick Saban is a piker by comparison with a .597 career average against quality competition. So who is number two? Jimbo Fisher at Florida State has racked up a .666 winning percentage in his 18 games against ranked competition. But really, the oft-maligned Bob Stoops is likely the better coach – coming in batting .649 when going against the big boys in 77 games.
In Texas Gary Patterson at TCU is at the top of the heap with .559 winning percentage in 34 such contests. A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is a respectable second with a .500 mark in his 20 top tier tests. UT’s Charlie Strong (3-6) and Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury (2-7) don’t have enough games (at least 15) to make Red’s list – but neither is trending in the right direction. And you have to wonder at UT’s hiring of Strong when he had an all-time 2-1 record in games against real teams before joining the Longhorns.
Who looks really bad? Wunderkind Mike Leach is a pathetic .236 in 55 games against ranked competition and is fading fast having gone 1-11 at Washington State. Kansas State’s legendary Bill Snyder is more legend than reality with a .278 record in 79 games. Flavor of the Month Art Briles is on similar ground at .286 with all 10 of his wins over Top 25 opponents coming at Baylor. And at the bottom of the heap is Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre who has yet to get on base (.000 in 15 games).
Who is coming on strong? Mark Richt at Georgia racks up considerable numbers by virtue of playing in the SEC and is looking respectable at .535 in 71 games against the Beasts of the Southeast and others. David Shaw sports an impressive .625 mark in his 24 games – all at Stanford. The only other coaches above the .500 mark are Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Les Miles (LSU), Brian Kelly (Notre Mama). Jim Mora (UCLA) and Steve Spurrier (S. Carolina).
USA Today reports that the University of Texas football team is not ranked in the pre-season polls for the first time in 17 years.
For the first time since 1998, Texas will begin the season without a number next to its name.
The Longhorns are unranked in the Amway Coaches Poll, which was released Thursday. It’s not surprising given that the team finished 6-7 in 2014, capping Charlie Strong’s first year as head coach with a 31-7 loss to Arkansas in the Texas Bowl.
Texas had its worst season in recent history in 2010 when it followed a national championship loss to Alabama with a 5-7 record. The program hasn’t been the same since, going 36-28 the last four years without a single 10-win season. Still it always found a way into the preseason poll in that span, averaging a 19.5 ranking.
Not this year. Texas only received eight points, putting them at No. 38 outside the poll.
Short Answer: They suck!
For an in depth analysis for the ultimate sports geek, please turn to SB Nation which runs through a myriad of statistics and graphical analyses to come up with a precise answer as to why the Longhorns have underperformed over the last 5 years. And the answer is – They suck!
To illustrate the Longhorns’ suckiness, SB Nation presents exciting and allegedly meaningful visual aids such as –
Not to mention insightful analysis like –
And if that doesn’t get you excited about the upcoming season, try –
And if you haven’t fallen asleep – Hook ’em.
Texas fans continue to wonder how Ohio State can win the national championship with a third-string quarterback at the helm, while the Longhorns struggle to find even a decent starter. The Longhorns may be in desperate need of a major college quality quarterback, but they will have to look to someone other than Everett Golson. The Notre Dame quarterback has indicated that he will to transfer to another school for his last year of eligibility. Because Golson has graduated (despite missing the 2013 season for academic reasons), he can play immediately for a quarterback-hungry team. Golson who led the Fighting Irish to a 8-5 record in 2014, including a Music City Bowl win over LSU, has thrown for 5,850 yards, 41 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his college career. He threw for 3,445 yards and 29 touchdowns last year, but his 14 interceptions and losing 4 straight games to end the regular season were enough to open a competition with Malik Zaire. Zaire was ahead in the competition after spring training prompting Golson’s decision to transfer.
But Notre Dame can control the terms of releasing Golson from his scholarship. Coach Brian Kelly will apparently refuse to allow Golson to transfer to Texas – where he would likely be the frontrunner – because Notre Dame opens against Texas in South Bend next year. Maybe just maybe there is a quarterback out there somewhere for the hapless Horns.
The Sporting News has an excellent story on Charlie Strong’s struggle to rise to the top of college football’s coaching ranks and his determination to succeed at UT.
A boy who grew to become a young man, who walked on to play football at tiny Central Arkansas, who wanted to be a college professor but decided to give coaching football a shot. A young man who grew to become an elite assistant coach, who was passed over and over and over for head coaching jobs because those same decades of institutional racism that confidently strolled down the streets of Batesville years earlier were engrained in the hearts and minds of university academia, too.
A coach who nearly gave up on his dream of becoming a head coach, only to get a chance at Louisville and win big, and the next thing you know, he’s standing in the posh office that overlooks the gigantic stadium at the University of Texas — smack in the middle of the best damn job in all of college football.
“I went down in the stadium and walked across the field and looked around and thought, wow, this is it,” Strong said. “I said to myself, you cannot fail, buddy. Too many people are counting on you.”
Red has a reason to root for his Texas Longhorns again. The burnt orange tie is a nice touch.
For years Red has complained about the big boys of college football scheduling non-conference games against the weak sisters to avoid losses that might knock them out of the running for the no longer mythical National Championship. The move to a 4 team playoff last year should go a long ways towards the high and mighty at least scheduling the lofty and muscular. My thinking is that with 4 playoff spots available, coaches might approach non-conference scheduling a little differently. For example, when it comes to crunch time for the selection committee at the end of the regular season – what is going to look better – a one point loss to a 9-3 Georgia which played a tough schedule or that 55-3 ass-whupping of Southern Northeast Middle Louisiana State?
And maybe just maybe, Red’s Longhorns are headed in the right direction and others will follow. NBCSports reports that UT will be playing the toughest non-conference schedule in the land over the next five seasons.
A home-and-home with Notre Dame. A home-and-home with USC. A home-and-home with LSU. Plus home-and-homes with Maryland and California, one-off games with Central Florida and South Florida, and no dates with FCS opponents. That’s all in the next five years. (If we voyage into the next decade we’ll see a road date at Arkansas and home-and-homes with Michigan and Ohio State as well.)
It’s enough for the folks at ESPN’s Stats & Information department to rank Texas atop its list of toughest future non-conference schedules. “Overall, Texas is projected to play a Power 5 opponent in 10 of its 15 nonconference games over the next five years, tied for the most Power 5 matchups of any team,” the group writes. “The Longhorns are also one of 10 Power 5 teams that will not face an FCS opponent during that time.”
Well done, well done.