Rank The Region – Week 1

Rank The Region – Week 1

  • Texas A&M – Since taking the job in December of 2017, Jimbo Fisher has been building to this point. The Aggies are now just a QB away from legitimate playoff contention year in and year out. The question remains, will it be Haynes King, or Max Johnson? A&M doesn’t have a test until week three when they host #16 Miami in College Station, and by then the hope is either King or Johnson has taken control of the job. This is the 3rd best team in the SEC, and if the Aggies were to upset The Tide again this could be a playoff team.
  • Baylor – Dave Aranda performed magic last season leading the Bears to their 3rd BIG12 championship and doing it with a QB that many thought should have been the backup. The Bears are favorites in the preseason to repeat as BIG12 champs, but the combination of production lost on the defensive side and a difficult road schedule leaves a tough path back for Baylor. Trips to Provo to play #25 BYU, at Oklahoma State, at OU, and at Texas land Baylor with one of the most difficult schedules in the conference. If the Bears are to repeat it will be on the shoulders of Sophomore QB Blake Shapen who filled in for injured Gerry Bohanon in the BIG12 Championship game last season.
  • Houston – Dana Holgorsen has quietly built one of the top programs in the state of Texas, and one of the favorites to take the top G5 spot and a birth in a New Year’s 6 Bowl in their last year before moving to the Big12. After a slow first and second year under Holgorsen, the Cougars exploded with a 12-2 2021 campaign that included an 11 game win streak and a win over Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl. Preseason 1st Team AAC QB Clayton Tune returns, along with his top WR Nathaniel Dell. If Houston can get past games at UTSA, at Texas Tech, and at SMU they have a legitimate chance at an undefeated regular season.
  • Texas – There may be no team in the country with a greater disparity between their potential floor and ceiling. The Longhorns are on a roll in recruiting, but the current roster still features youth across the board particularly on the offensive line. Former #1 over all recruit and Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers gets the nod as the starter at QB for the Horns, but don’t be surprised if you see Hudson Card in action throughout the non-conference schedule of ULM, Alabama, and UTSA. If all goes according to plan this Texas team can compete for the Big 12 Championship, but if youth and inexperience shows through again this could be another year of fighting for bowl eligibility.
  • LSU – Brian Kelly shocked the college football world when he left Notre Dame to take the job at LSU, and he’s rewarded with a program that had just 39 scholarship players suit up against Kansas State in the Texas Bowl. The majority of the roster has been filled out through new recruits and the transfer portal, but it’s anyone’s guess what the Tigers will look like in 2022 under Kelly. With Miles Brennan stepping away from football it’s now down to Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier at QB. Regardless of who’s under center, this will be a rebuilding year for LSU and Kelly in the toughest division in the toughest conference in college football. Expect the tigers to battle for bowl eligibility for the season, but they won’t be a .500 team for long.
  • SMU – More often than not there is a regression expected when a first time head coach is brought in, but with SMU and Rhett Lashlie that is not the expectation. The Ponies return Tanner Mordecai at QB and the majority of their depth on the defensive side of the ball. The challenge for SMU is taking the next step beyond being a mainstay in the top half of the AAC, but knocking off the usual powers of Cincinnati, UCF and Houston. With a favorable conference schedule and a new head coach SMU looks to shake the front runner reputation they carried under Sonny Dykes.
  • TCU – As odd as it will be to see someone other than Gary Patterson on the side lines in Ft Worth, Sonny Dykes feels like a natural fit for TCU. The Horned Frogs get 7 starters back on offense, including QB Max Duggan, and 7 on defense as well. The return in production and stability at quarterback should help TCU avoid a drop below .500, but this will likely be a middle of the pack team in the Big12 this season.
  • UTSA – After a 12-2 record and CUSA Championship winning season the odds leaned heavily towards Head Coach Jeff Traylor taking a leap up to one of several power 5 openings. Instead, UTSA signed Traylor to a 10 year $28M contract and put those rumors to bed. While the Roadrunners did lose RB Sincere McCormick to the NFL, they bring back 8 starters on offense including their QB Frank Harris. I have the Roadrunners repeating as CUSA champs in their last year in the conference before moving to the AAC.
  • Texas Tech – Other than Lincoln Riley to USC, Joey McGuire was my favorite hire of this offseason. The former 3 time state champion at Cedar Hill High School and Baylor Assistant under both Matt Rhule and Dave Aranda has already lit the recruiting trail on fire, and inherits a bowl team from the 2021 campaign. The Red Raiders also brought over WKU offensive coordinator Zach Kittley in hopes they can recreate the production created by Kittley and Bailey Zappe that led the nation in passing in 2021. Who the signal caller is between Tyler Shough, Donovan Smith, and Behren Morton remains the primary question for Red Raider fans. Similar to TCU, I think this is a middle of the pack Big12 team, but under McGuire they shouldn’t stay there for long.
  • Tulane – Prior to 2021 Willie Fritz had taken Tulane from one of the worst teams in the AAC, to a consistent bowl team. Fast forward to 2021 and between Hurricane Ida wreaking havoc on their schedule and turnover issues throughout the season, the Green Wave regressed back to a 2-10 record. The non-conference schedule is much more favorable in 2022, and their all-everything captain Michael Pratt is back at QB. This is not a team ready to compete for the conference title yet, but I expect to see them back in the postseason this fall.
  • North Texas – After 7 games in 2021 the Mean Green were 1-6 and Seth Litterell’s job was being called into question. After an incredible 5 game winning streak to close out the season North Texas earned a spot in the postseason, and Littrell retained his job. Now the Mean Green return 8 starters on offense including 29-year-old Austin Aune at QB, and a much more favorable non-conference schedule. With the momentum of a big week one win at UTEP behind them, don’t be shocked if the Mean Green upset SMU in their home opener.
  • UTEP – It’s been a long time since Mike Price had UTEP in the postseason consistently, but Dana Dimel seems to have the Miners headed in that direction. Gavin Hardison returns at QB along with 8 starters on the defensive side, but the majority of the offensive skill players are new. Unfortunately for UTEP the 2022 schedule is not nearly as favorable as last season, and they’re already 0-1 in CUSA after dropping the home opener to UNT. With games at Oklahoma and against Boise State non-conference play, the Miners will need improvement in CUSA play if they hope to be bowl eligible again.
  • Rice – Yet again, the Owl’s nonconference schedule is brutal. Rice will face #14 USC, 2021 Sun Belt Champions Louisiana Lafayette, and #24 Houston before getting in to conference play against UAB who is favored to finish 2nd in CUSA this season. Rice brings back the majority of its front 7 on defense, and gets Brad Rozner back at WR after missing 2020 and 2021. Stealing an upset somewhere in September will be key to the Owls getting to a bowl for the first time under Mike Bloomgren.
  • Texas State – Texas State fans are hopeful that this is the season the Bobcats finishes above .500 for the first time since 2014. The Bobcats bring in a new transfer signal caller from Arkansas State in Layne Hatcher and have 8 returning starters coming back on offense, including a deep receiver and running back room. The issue for Texas State remains its depth and quality on the offensive and defensive lines. Until those units improve, expect the Bobcats to miss the postseason again.

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1 Comment

  • Hi Taylor, post says Regional rankings, but top line says state of Texas but obviously includes Louisiana. Will you have a #1-15 weekly? Appreciate you including G5.

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