Houston and Rice faced off earlier this month, and it wasn't pretty.EXPAND
Houston and Rice faced off earlier this month, and it wasn't pretty.
Photo by Jack Gorman

A Month Into Season, Texas College Football Teams Mediocre, Save for Woeful Baylor

Time flies when you’re dealing with the aftereffects of a hurricane, watching the Astros destroy the Texas Rangers and trying to turn away from the disaster that is the Houston Texans. A month of the college football season has passed during this time, so here’s a brief update on some of the Texas college football teams.

HOUSTON COUGARS (2-1)

The UH season got off to a delayed start as the season's opening game at UTSA was cancelled because of Hurricane Harvey. It's hard to say if the storm and the delay have really had an impact on the Cougars, yet the team has been inconsistent on the field and seems in search of its identity.

Though 2-1, the team could easily be 3-0 since last week's loss to Texas Tech was a very winnable game. The loss wasn't so much due to what Tech did on the field as it was to what UH failed to do, which was execute. The offense didn't establish any kind of tempo until late in the game, after head coach Major Applewhite benched starting QB Kyle Allen and went with backup Kyle Postma. But by then it was too little too late. The team could also easily be 1-2 as the offense once again struggled in the opening win over Arizona, a game won primarily because the Arizona QBs couldn't hit open receivers.

Applewhite seemed to be hinting at a quarterback change after last week's loss, which makes sense considering how much better the team looked with Postma running the offense. Yet the team still probably defeats Texas Tech if not for some big defensive breakdowns leading to Red Raider points.

The Cougars play Temple in Philadelphia Saturday morning. Maybe then the team's true identity will become evident.

RICE OWLS (1-3)

Here's an interesting but ultimately useless fact: Every Rice opponent so far this season has lost the week after playing the Owls. That could easily change this weekend, though, but still, it's interesting.

Unlike the Cougars, the Owls are not an enigma. Rice is a run-of-the-mill Conference USA football squad with the talent to win five to seven games every season based on playing similarly weak C-USA schools eight times.

That Rice lost by big margins to Stanford and UH is not surprising. The difference in talent is just too stark. That Rice loss last week to FIU is not surprising, but it is disappointing. The Owls showed in a dominating week two win over UTEP that they can handle C-USA competition. The Owls defense shut down FIU, giving up only 13 points, but the offense was unable to accomplish anything.

Rice's next two games are against a bad Pitt team that has lost three straight games and a 2-2 Army program that Rice always seems to play tough. If Rice can find a way to win of these games, there still might be bowl hopes for the season. But if not, it is going to be a big struggle for this team to get the six wins needed for bowl eligibility.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (3-1)

Do you realize the Aggies have actually won three games? They choked up the opening week loss to UCLA, causing regent Tony Buzbee to demand head coach Kevin Sumlin be fired. The team struggled to defeat Nicholls State, and at one point was losing to Louisiana-Lafayette. And somehow, last week, the Aggies found the way to get the win over Arkansas.

The bad news is that now the Aggies are about to get into the heart of the SEC schedule. Three of the Aggies' next four games are against ranked teams, including Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, plus this week's game against an unranked but 3-1 South Carolina team.

This is likely it for the Kevin Sumlin era at A&M. It's mostly been a disappointment, especially after the departures of Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans. But getting rid of Kevin Sumlin will not fix the problem of the historically mediocre college football program that is Texas A&M, which somehow thinks it is on par with Alabama and Ohio State.

TEXAS LONGHORNS (2-2)

So are the Longhorns the team that was embarrassed by Maryland or the team that took USC to overtime? The answer is yes, the Longhorns are both. Welcome to the Tom Herman era.

UH fans are well accustomed to this rollercoaster. Herman's teams fit his personality, brash and bold and when they hit the highs they're fantastic and fun — and then they hit the low and it's like they're just going through the motions. How else to explain his Houston teams that demolished Florida State and Oklahoma then lost to the likes of UConn and SMU? Or got blown out by a mediocre Maryland while forcing the highly ranked Trojans to the brink before ultimately losing?

The Longhorns got the 17-7 win over Iowa State Thursday night. It wasn’t a pretty win. And Iowa State is really not the same caliber of program as UT. But UT has struggled with programs like Iowa State in recent years, so it was no different under the Herman regime. At UH, Herman was blessed to inherit a crop of good recruits, including quarterback Greg Ward Jr. So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in Austin in the years ahead as Herman gets around to having to recruit his guys to a program where he wants to stick around for a while.

BAYLOR (0-4)

The Bears started the season losing to non-powerhouse Liberty. Then lost to non-powerhouse UTSA. Then came losses to Duke and Oklahoma. Right now, even Kansas is counting its game with Baylor as a win.

There's just one word to sum up what's happening with Baylor right now: karma.

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