College Sports

September 4, 2014

College confidential: Who’s tops in Texas, Baylor or A&M?

Baylor and Texas A&M state their cases after strong opening wins.

Star-Telegram writers Jimmy Burch and Carlos Mendez sound off on the issues of the day each week in the College Confidential video.

Texas A&M is the highest-ranked team from the Lone Star State in this week’s Associated Press poll (No. 9), one spot ahead of No. 10 Baylor. But Baylor is the state’s highest-ranked team in the coaches’ poll, at No. 9. A&M is 13th on coaches’ ballots. So, which school has Texas’ best college football team at this stage in the season?

Jimmy: What really would be sweet is for both teams to settle the issue on the field. Lacking that opportunity, I’d give a slight nod to Baylor, based on a better defense and a more experienced quarterback. But with A&M’s potential for rapid improvement, check back next week and you might get a different answer.

Carlos: It’s about the quarterback, and right now, the Aggies have the edge. Their guy is healthy. Until Bryce Petty can get through a whole game — or games — without a problem, a least a little doubt is in the air about the Bears long-term.

Texas will face Brigham Young without starting quarterback David Ash, who is sidelined by his third concussion since Sept. 7, 2013. How will that impact the Longhorns this week and into the future?

Jimmy: Texas probably loses to BYU on Saturday and will be hard-pressed to balance its offense until one of its inexperienced backup quarterbacks (Tyrone Swoopes, Jerrod Heard) emerges as a capable passing threat. For Ash’s long-term health, he really should consider retiring from football after sustaining concussions in three consecutive games in which he has played.

Carlos: It’s a major problem. The ’Horns have got problems. With their center also gone, they’re missing the two most important parts of the offense’s communication and operating system. Ever have that happen at Louisville, Coach Strong?

TCU is off this week but opened with a 48-14 victory over Samford, an FCS school. What is your takeaway from the Horned Frogs’ opening performance?

Jimmy: It’s hard to draw binding conclusions from a scheduled mismatch. But the Frogs appear headed in the right direction after last year’s 4-8 hiccup. I still believe there will be more twists and turns in this year’s quarterback saga, however.

Carlos: I like the way the offense stayed on the gas, and the defense was OK. That’s all the Frogs were trying to get out of that game — a little confidence. They need it after last year.

Among the state’s 12 FBS college football programs, eight are 1-0 and four are 0-1 heading into this weekend. Has any under-the-radar team or player caught your eye this season?

Jimmy: I’m smitten with UT San Antonio, a fourth-year program that will be bowl-eligible for the first time this season. The Roadrunners pounded a good Houston team 27-7 in their season opener and are one of the co-favorites to win Conference USA. Coach Larry Coker, who led Miami to the 2001 national championship, has done wonders to make the UTSA program relevant and competitive as quickly as possible.

Carlos: Been hearing about the UTEP runner, Aaron Jones. Led them in rushing last year as a freshman. Put up 200 or something against New Mexico last week. Plays for the basketball team, too. Good luck, kid.

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