Five things we learned in Week 8 of college football: Baylor and SMU are for real

By Doug Holleman

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SMU can make the New Year’s Six

The Mustangs were tested earlier in the year against Arkansas State, TCU and Tulsa, but Temple was easily the biggest challenge on the schedule to this point. The Owls were fresh off an upset over AAC favorite Memphis, and were ready to do it again on Saturday. 

SMU responded with its most complete game of the season. Shane Buechele threw for an absurd 457 yards and six touchdowns. The defense held Temple to just 273 yards. The score wasn’t even as close as the game was. 

WIth the win, SMU asserted itself as one of the favorites in the AAC. Doing it against great Big 12 and Sun Belt teams is nice, but this is a conference matchup. Every game matters. If SMU can win against Memphis on Nov. 2, it could lock up a title game trip. 

Texas isn’t a Big 12 contender

Texas beat Kansas in football – barely. It took a last-second kick from Dicker the kicker just to escape the wily Jayhawks, which exploded for more than 500 yards of offense in a tight 50-48 win in Austin. 

Sam Ehlinger needed some heroics down the stretch to lead a come-from-behind victory against a program that has been the worst in the sport for the better part of a decade. The defense is an absolute mess. If Ehlinger wasn’t on this roster, where would this team be? 

Texas has no shot against Oklahoma. If the team keeps playing like this, the Longhorns might not even get the chance, especially with Iowa State and another surprise contender streaking. 

Baylor absolutely is a contender

Just based on how things have gone for Baylor in Stillwater, Saturday felt like a scheduled loss. Oklahoma State was coming off a bye week, and the Bears barely snuck by Texas Tech. Star linebacker Clay Johnston just went out. And yet, the Bears scored 21 unanswered in the fourth quarter for their biggest win in Stillwater ever. 

The best news? Quarterback Charlie Brewer bounced back from his poor performance against Texas Tech and posted 312 yards and a pair of total touchdowns in the road win on just 17 pass attempts. 

Every undefeated team has a moment where they struggle and come out flat, and that Texas Tech game last week seems to be it. Other than that, the Bears have been dominant in Big 12 play. The win over Iowa State, especially holding them scoreless through three quarters, only keeps getting more impressive. At this point, Baylor is the favorite to face off against Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. 

There’s no excuses left for Rice

We have consistently stated that Rice is in the conversation for the best winless team of all time after losses to Army, Baylor, Texas, Louisiana Tech, Wake Forest and UAB – murderer’s row for any Group of Five team. UTSA was supposed to be the game that they proved it.

Unfortunately, Rice lost to one of the most inconsistent teams in the state, even as a road favorite. The Owls allowed UTSA to score its most points since against UTEP in 2017. Quarterback Lowell Narcisse had 273 passing yards in his previous six games as a Roadrunner; he threw for 212 against Rice. 

After losing to UTSA, the argument for Rice being a sleeping giant that just struggled against an awesome schedule is dead. Mike Bloomgren still has the team heading in the right direction, but winless Rice is officially in the cellar. 

TCU’s got nothing

Gary Patterson has an absurd 44-6 record in seasons following a record of .500 or worse. Maybe winning the Cheez-It Bowl was the kiss of death, because this isn’t quite what we expected from the Horned Frogs. 

TCU lost 24-17 against a mediocre Kansas State squad. Nearly a third of TCU’s offense came from Max Duggan rushes. That’s unacceptable. 

The Horned Frogs enter the real meat of their schedule at just 3-3, with wins over UAPB, Kansas and Purdue. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise for the Horned Frogs to be underdogs in every game until Senior Day on Black Friday against West Virginia. 

College Power Poll

  1. SMU Mustangs
  2. Baylor Bears
  3. Texas Longhorns
  4. Texas A&M Aggies
  5. Texas Tech Red Raiders
  6. North Texas Mean Green
  7. TCU Horned Frogs
  8. Houston Cougars
  9. Texas State Bobcats
  10. UTSA Roadrunners
  11. UTEP Miners
  12. Rice Owls

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