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Texas Should Fall behind TCU in the Polls after Almost Losing to 6-6 Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Jerrod Johnson #1 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Texas Longhorns in the first half at Kyle Field on November 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images)
Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images
Tyler StimsonCorrespondent INovember 27, 2009

All year long, I have heard how great the Texas defense is—how it is the best in the country, or at least on par with teams like Florida, Alabama, and TCU. That is clearly not the case.

Texas A&M was the only team that could stop the Aggies in Thursday's game vs. Texas. The "great" Texas defense provided little resistance, giving up 39 points. It only stopped Texas A&M when the Aggies stopped themselves with turnovers and a missed FG at the end.

Texas has struggled with two .500-caliber teams this year—Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The 'Horns are definitely not playing like the No. 3 team in the country. Their ranking is thanks to preseason polls and will, almost assuredly, not drop.

TCU, on the other hand, only struggled with a very good Air Force team—early in the year in awful weather conditions—and a top 15 Clemson team that will play for an ACC championship.

Texas needed a fumble, an interception, a missed tackle on a 3rd-and-12 play that led to a long TD, a kickoff return, and a missed FG to hold on to a narrow victory over a mediocre 6-6 Aggie team.

Texas is ranked ahead of TCU for three main reasons:

 

1. Big 12 vs. MWC

Really not too much of a difference. The Big 12 is a little deeper, but the MWC has a much better top three. Pretty much a wash.

 

2. Preseason Rankings (Texas No. 2, TCU No. 17)

It's a shame that preseason perceptions have such a dramatic effect on rankings later in the year.

 

3. Program Perception

TCU is a small private school with an undergraduate enrollment under 10,000.

Meanwhile, Texas is a perennial top-10 team, the flagship university of the state of Texas, has an undergraduate enrollment of over 50,000, recently won a national title (2006), and gets consistently better recruiting classes.

Let's look at the resumes of Texas and TCU this year without bias:

 

Team A

  • SOS: 48
  • Victories over top-25 teams: one
  • Won multiple national championships (in its history)
  • Averages 43 PPG on offense
  • Gives up 15 PPG on defense
  • Finished in the top 10 in the final poll last year

 

Team B

  • SOS: 32
  • Victories over top 25 teams: three
  • Won multiple national championships (in its history)
  • Averages 40 PPG on offense
  • Gives up 12 PPG on defense
  • Finished in the top 10 in the final poll last year
  • Only team in the Country in the top five in both total offense and defense

 

Which team has the better resume?

If you look at it unbiasedly, it's clearly Team B, albeit, by a small margin.

Team B is TCU.

Team A is Texas.

But because of the reasons I mentioned above—perceived conference strength, preseason ranking, and program perception—in the polls Texas will stay ahead of a team with a better resume.

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