The first round of the DCTF Power Poll is here … and not without controversy.
The 2010 season opens with five teams legitimately vying for nearly every spot in the upper half of the state, and with just five voters on the poll right now, we've got some neck-and-neck races that have to get sorted out eventually. The first starts up top, with TCU and Texas, the two teams most people seem to think are our little world's best.
The Horned Frogs, whom we ranked above Texas in our preseason college Top 25, return the majority of a prolific 2009 offense and enough defensive pieces to once again assume that coach Gary Patterson can cobble together a nation-leading unit. Texas, on the other hand, should sport a bone-crushing defense with an offense that will need some time to find an identity. Texas' two title appearance in the past five years has earned it some street cred here at the DCTF office, but we stand by (or at least some of us do) our claim in the summer mag that TCU is Texas' best for now.
The next three teams are a bit congested, too. Houston, which led an online vote on TexasFootball.com for the state's best team, starts at four with Texas Tech just a step behind — but both trail a Texas A&M team with high hopes. And believe it not, the Ags' No. 3 spot isn't homage to the program's past — that's the result of several years of strong recruiting. Eventually, all that talent should click. Is this finally the year?
SMU opens at the 6-spot, and despite the program's hot 2009 season and offseason accolades, there are significant pieces that have to be replaced, and a number of last year's stars are still very young for 2010. Baylor starts a step behind at No. 7, and even though Robert Griffin returns with two healthy knees, unless he's planning on playing linebacker, too, than the Bears still have work to do.
UTEP, Rice and UNT round out the bottom three, and any of them prove that they can run with the big dogs this season, that's likely where they will stay. Rice, which opens against Texas at Reliant Stadium next week, has the most immediate chance to show improvement.
DCTF 2010 Texas College Football Week 1 Power Poll
|#||School||Points (1st-place votes)||Previous|
|1||TCU Horned Frogs||Points: 48 (3)||N/A|
|Brad Hilliard: Turn down that Hootie and check your beeper- reality’s been trying to call you for over a decade now.|
|2||Texas Longhorns||Points: 46 (3)||N/A|
|Travis Stewart: This team immediately reminds me of the 1983 Longhorns — ridiculously potent on defense, but possibly short-handed on offense. Here's the question: If, like in '83, the 'Horns lose a close one for the national title, are fans satisfied or not?|
|3||Texas A&M Aggies||Points: 37||N/A|
|Adam Hochfelder: Why not pick the Aggies very high — No. 2, for me — in Week One? I’ll use an informal system of returning starters and gut feel — makes them prime for a run or prime for a fall.|
|4||Houston Cougars||Points: 34||N/A|
|Tom Sullivan: The game against Air Force is still memorable, at least for me. Five interceptions are bad way to end a good season, and that Cougars defense needs to improve.|
|5||Texas Tech Red Raiders||Points: 33||N/A|
|Dennis Hall: Still not sure what to think about the Red Raiders and new coach Tommy Tuberville. Insiders say that he’s doing great work and has Tech ready for a big season. But we worry that they’ve made too many changes and might need time to adjust.|
|6||SMU Mustangs||Points: 25||N/A|
|Brad Hilliard: A young and experienced QB with a young and experienced O-line bodes well for the future on the Hilltop if they can find the consistency that eluded them a year ago.|
|7||Baylor Bears||Points: 21||N/A|
|Tom Sullivan: (cue Welcome Back, Cotter) … Welcome Back … Welcome back, Welcome back, Welcome back … Robert Griffin, III! And hello, bowl game!|
|8||UTEP Miners||Points: 14||N/A|
|Dennis Hall: Like Houston, we’re pretty sure UTEP’s offense will be good because of the presence of QB Trevor Vittatoe and RB Donald Buckram. But like the Coogs, we’re anxious to see UTEP’s defense play so we’ll know just how many points Vittatoe & Co. have to score each week.|
|9||Rice Owls||Points: 11||N/A|
|Adam Hochfelder: Houston Schoolboy legend Sam MCguffie might be the best RB no one knows about … if he can survive the opener vs. Texas.|
|10||North Texas Mean Green||Points: 5||N/A|
|Travis Stewart: The ultimatum has been issued: anything from bad to average isn't going to cut it. The Mean Green needs to finish above .500 to save coach Todd Dodge's job, but the multitude of mixed (and missing) pieces makes such a performance seem highly unlikely. UNT, once again, starts at the bottom.|
ABOUT THE PANEL:
> Adam Hochfelder is the Executive Director of DCTF and several other IMG College properties
> Dennis Hall is a managing editor with DCTF
> Travis Stewart is a managing editor with DCTF
> Brad Hilliard is the operations coordinator for DCTF and several other IMG College properties
> Tom Sullivan is an account executive for DCTF
> Rick Epstein is an account executive for DCTF (inactive this week)