Jimmy Burch and Carlos Mendez sound off on the issues of the day each week in College Confidential at star-telegram.com.
No. 6 TCU meets No. 7 Kansas State in its second Top 10 showdown in the past month. The then-No. 9 Horned Frogs fell to then-No. 5 Baylor in their first head-to-head meeting of Top 10 teams. How will they fare against K-State?
Jimmy: Playing at home, I like the Frogs’ chances to finish with a narrow victory. As evenly as the top teams are matched in the Big 12, the home-field advantage should be a difference-maker down the stretch.
Carlos: This is a hard one to pin down. These teams are both good at the same things — coaching, playing defense, taking care of the ball. Kansas State holds the ball longer, converts at 50 percent on third down and does not commit penalties. TCU is more explosive on offense. Maybe that’s the difference.
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The College Football Playoff rankings barely budged this week. But with six matchups Saturday between ranked teams, that will change next week. Which games will have the greatest national impact?
Jimmy: Any loss by a Top 10 team will resonate in next week’s rankings. But I’m curious to see how No. 8 Michigan State and No. 10 Notre Dame would be treated by the committee after victories. Both are lurking in the pool of contenders without a victory over a Top 10 opponent, which all of the other top teams have on their résumés.
Carlos: If Oregon or Alabama are going to get another loss pinned on them, time is running short. But they’re both on the road this week, and they’re both playing teams who are capable — Oregon is at Utah, and ’Bama is at LSU. National impact? Think of the Fort Worth impact.
Between Texas (4-5), Texas A&M (6-3) and Texas Tech (3-6), the three highest-profile college programs in this state, have a combined record of 13-14. None of the three have met preseason expectations. Which of the three schools is having the most disappointing season?
Jimmy: Texas A&M, despite its recent struggles, is at least bowl-eligible after a 5-0 start. And Texas is closer to that mediocre milestone than Texas Tech. So, I’d have to give this “honor” to the Red Raiders, a team I envisioned finishing in the Top 25 when the season started.
Carlos: For me, it’s clearly Texas A&M having the most disappointing season. The Manziel buzz is gone. The Kenny Trill buzz is gone. The Kevin Sumlin buzz is gone. Much more was expected of the Aggies than the ’Horns or Raiders.
The lists of semifinalists for most national awards were released this week. Which player(s) from a Texas school do you consider most likely to win an individual award at his position this season?
Jimmy: I’m not sure we have one unless TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin has an otherworldly final month to top more heralded QBs (Marcus Mariota, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston) in the minds of voters. Right now, the individuals in best shape for national acclaim are Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett (11 sacks), an Arlington Martin graduate who should be a shoo-in for the freshman All-America team, and Texas State linebacker David Mayo, who leads the nation in tackles (122 total, 15.3 per game) by a large margin.
Carlos: Those names are good. I thought TCU linebacker Paul Dawson might make a run, and he still might because he’s a takeaway machine. And you know, Jaden Oberkrom sure put his name in the national consciousness last week. He doesn’t have the percentage. But who knows? That kick was clutch, and a lot of people saw it in real time.