The bowl season has yet to conclude for Texas’ college football teams. But the window of opportunity to place a team from the Lone Star State into the Associated Press’ Top 25 postseason poll slammed shut, for all practical purposes, with Texas A&M’s 33-28 loss to Kansas State in Wednesday night’s Texas Bowl.
Heading into that matchup, unranked A&M (8-5) and unranked Houston (9-4) loomed as the Texas schools most likely to crack the AP’s final Top 25 this season. But both have lost their bowl games, opening the football-loving state to a stunning potential precedent:
When the AP’s postseason poll is released Jan. 10, it likely will not include any of the Lone Star State’s 12 FBS programs for the first time in 49 years. The last time the state of Texas failed to place at least one team in the final AP college football poll of the season occurred in 1967, when the poll was only a Top 10. For six seasons, beginning in 1962, the AP ranked only 10 teams.
Based on votes received in 1967, Texas A&M would have finished 20th. So if those polls were at least 20 teams deep, the state of Texas would have been represented in every poststeason poll since its inception in 1936.
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Since the AP returned to a Top 20 in 1968, and later to a Top 25 in 1989, there has been at least one team from the Lone Star State in the postseason rankings in every season. Among the nation’s 128 FBS programs, no state fields more teams than Texas (12).
But A&M, which received votes in the final regular-season poll released Dec. 4, is not likely to climb on January ballots after falling to unranked K-State (9-4). The same goes for Houston, a vote-getter on Dec. 4 that was routed 34-10 by San Diego State (11-3), a fellow unranked team, in the Las Vegas Bowl. No other Texas schools received votes in the Dec. 4 poll.
TCU (6-6) will be the last of six teams from Texas to play its bowl game when the Horned Frogs meet Georgia (7-5) in Friday’s Liberty Bowl. Thus far, the lone team from the Lone Star State to win its bowl has been Baylor (7-6), which knocked off Boise State, 31-12, in the Cactus Bowl.
Other bowl participants from Texas that have fallen in the postseason include North Texas (5-8) and UTSA (6-7). Six other major-college programs failed to earn bowl bids this season: Texas (5-7), Texas Tech (5-7), SMU (5-7), UTEP (4-8), Rice (3-9) and Texas State (2-10).
0Teams from Texas ranked in the AP college football poll released Dec. 4, although Houston and Texas A&M received votes. Both the Cougars (9-4) and Aggies (8-5) went on to lose their bowl games.
Heading into TCU’s bowl game Friday in Memphis, major-college teams from Texas have combined for a 65-84 record despite operating in a state filled with many of the nation’s top high school prospects. Soon, the state seems destined to be shut out of college football’s postseason rankings for the first time in 49 years.
Since the advent of the Top 20 (and the current Top 25), the closest brushes with a shutout came in 1988, when No. 18 Houston was the lone school to crack the final Top 20. In 1996, No. 23 Texas was the state’s lone representative in the postseason Top 25. On 10 occasions since 1968, the state has placed only one team in the AP’s postseason poll.