By FRED FAOUR
As expected, the state of Texas has five teams ranked in the latest Associated Press and USA Today polls.
In the Associated Press poll, Houston jumped to No. 6 behind Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan. Stanford, Washington, Georgia and Wisconsin round out the top 10.
Texas took a deserved monster jump to No. 11, which is where the Horns should be after beating Notre Dame. TCU is at 15, A&M at 20 and Baylor at 23. Oklahoma dropped to 14 following its loss to Houston. Notre Dame tumbled to 18 and LSU to 21 after falling to Wisconsin.
Those rankings make a lot more sense than the USA Today poll.
In that one, Houston is seventh, followed by TCU at 12, Baylor at 19, Texas at 20 and A&M at No. 24. Oklahoma dropped to 13, and Notre Dame dropped one spot behind Texas at 21.
The top 10 are Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, Stanford, Michigan, Houston, Michigan State, Georgia and Iowa.
Let’s be honest; these polls do not mean much. Rankings aren’t really important until the first playoff standings come out. And even then they don’t mean much until the last few weeks of the season.
But it is good to see the state well represented. And let’s face it; the perception of football in the state is much higher when Texas is considered to be a good team.
Moving forward, it’s unlikely Texas, Baylor and TCU all three finish in the top 25, simply because they play each other and the general attrition that comes with it. A&M will also be challenged, but the Aggies can also pick up some high profile wins, and after week 1, only Alabama and perhaps Auburn look as good as A&M does in the SEC West. But let’s face it, things can change fast and these teams have only played one game.
As for Houston, the Cougars are in the top 10 once again and have their highest rating since reaching No. 3 in November of 1990. They also have the easiest path moving forward. But they also will have fewer opportunities to boost the ranking, with only No. 13 Louisville (15 USA Today) among currently ranked future opponents. In all likelihood, for any AAC team to be ranked, they would probably have a win over Houston, so it’s both good and bad news.
Interestingly enough, Houston is also No. 7 in the Massey Computer composite rankings, with a high of 2 and a low of 29. The Cougars are 17 in the Sagarin Ratings, which I use as part of computer model to mimic point spreads.
Again, it doesn’t mean a thing this early, but it’s good to see the state back in the conversation.