Star-Telegram staff writers Jimmy Burch and Carlos Mendez sound off on the issues of the day in college football on the weekly College Confidential video segment at star-telegram.com.
For the first time this season, No. 10 TCU (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) is the top-ranked college football team in the state of Texas. Are the Horned Frogs truly the best in the Lone Star State?
Jimmy: Based on body of work, I’d say they are. The lopsided victory over Minnesota (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) looks better every week and the Frogs are 2-1 against ranked opponents this season.
Carlos: You can say that. The only thing they didn’t do was beat Baylor for four quarters, but certainly, they were better for the other three. Just halfway through, this season is a pretty impressive statement by the Frogs.
We’ve got four teams from the SEC West in this week’s Top 5 of the AP poll. How many of those schools will still be there at playoff time?
Jimmy: Two will make the final cut, one from Mississippi and one from Alabama. I’m guessing that will be No. 3 Ole Miss (7-0) and No. 4 Alabama (6-1) because both play their respective rivals at home on Nov. 29.
Carlos: No, it’ll be State and Auburn.
After last week’s upsets, the Big 12 title race is wide open and there is no shortage of contenders. One ESPN metric showed Baylor (31 percent), TCU (31) and Kansas State (18) as the three teams most likely to seize the trophy. How accurate are those calculations?
Jimmy: I don’t know if any projection can be considered “accurate” when there is a higher percentage of failure than success for the co-favorites. I’m more about the eyeball test, and I really like what I see from Kansas State. They’ve got all the ingredients you need in a championship team: veteran QB, stingy defense, disciplined approach, outstanding coach. The remaining schedule does not favor them, but I still like the Wildcats (5-1, 3-0 in Big 12) to cross the finish line with at least a share of the Big 12 conference title.
Carlos: I’m giving Baylor the best chance. They have enough offense to win at Oklahoma, and in their last “losable” game, they get K-State at home. TCU has enough defense for their toughest remaining opponents, West Virginia and K-State, but the game that could be real trouble is the Thanksgiving night game at Texas. That’s a nice defense the Longhorns have, and it could be a cold, windy, rainy night for a precision offense to operate in. The Frogs would be deserving champions if they can get past all that, but they still need Baylor to lose one more.
Texas Tech (3-4, 1-3 in Big 12) has backtracked in its second season under coach Kliff Kingsbury. Will the Red Raiders, who play Saturday at TCU, be bowl-eligible this season?
Jimmy: The numbers don’t suggest it. Tech has been a defensive disappointment all season and has remaining matchups against three offenses that appear too explosive for the Red Raiders to contain (TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor). Frankly, I don’t love their chances to slow down Texas or Iowa State, either.
Carlos: Boy, they sure have backtracked. The problem is they don’t have much discipline in their game — plenty of firepower and talent, but that isn’t enough against teams like TCU. Now, the Red Raiders do get Texas and OU and Baylor at home, and stuff has been known to happen on the South Plains. But a bowl would require a 3-2 finish. Where are the three wins?