The Texas 47: Handful of national title contenders remain in Lone Star State

Photo by Dave Campbell's Texas Football

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Placing each of Texas' 47 college football programs into tiers following Week 11. 

National contenders

TCU (10-0) - A win over Texas clinched a spot in the Big 12 title for the Horned Frogs in Sonny Dykes' first year in Fort Worth. 

UIW (9-1) - The Cardinals were idle in Week 11.

Angelo State (11-0) - The Rams completed their first undefeated regular season since 1978. ASU won the NAIA national title that year and has a chance to bring home its first NCAA title this year.

Mary Hardin-Baylor (9-1) - The Cru may have to play a road game in the second round if Trinity defeats Hardin-Simmons. The path to back-to-back titles will be long and arduous for the Cru.

Trinity (10-0) - The Tigers must be happy being considered the top seed in their part of the bracket and will likely have home field advantage until the semifinals if they continue to win.

Conference contenders

UTSA (8-2) - Jeff Traylor's squad earned a spot in the Conference USA title game thanks to a win over La Tech in Week 11. 

North Texas (6-5) - A loss at UAB is disappointing, but a win over Rice in Week 13 is all the Mean Green need to reach the C-USA championshp game. 

Abilene Christian (7-3) - The win over Sam Houston ranks atop the Wildcats best wins at the FCS level. Winning a conference title and the program’s first appearance in the FCS playoffs if they defeat SFA at home this week should have all of Abilene in attendance.

Prairie View A&M (6-4) - The Panthers will earn the SWAC West Division title and an appearance in the SWAC title game against Jackson State with a Saturday win over Mississippi Valley State.

Hardin-Simmons (9-1) - The Cowboys are back in the playoffs, but the path will be challenging with a road game against Mary Hardin-Baylor on tap if they win at Trinity Saturday.

Texas Wesleyan (9-2) - It was a historic season for the Rams, who secured the program’s first Sooner Athletic Conference title. It’s not all roses for TXWES, though, after not being selected to represent the SAC in the playoffs.

Kilgore (7-3) - This is where the Rangers expected to be when the season began, but their path to the SWJCFC championship could have been smoother.

Stock rising

SMU (6-4) - Rhett Lashlee led the Mustangs to bowl eligibility in year one as a head coach. The Mustangs are on a three-game winning streak. 

Texas Southern (5-5) - The Tigers can finish this season with a winning record, something few outside of TSU thought possible at the beginning of the year.

Sul Ross State (4-6) - Barry Derickson’s first season at the helm of the Lobos was a huge success. Now, it's time for SRSU to remove the interim tag.

East Texas Baptist (5-5) - ETBU elevated defensive coordinator Calvin Ruzicka to head coach after a 5-5 season. Ruzicka was part of a successful Cedar Hill High School program before joining ETBU in 2018.

SAGU (7-3) - The Lions had their best win of the season against Lanston last week and can win their second consecutive Victory Bowl on Friday.

Steady

Texas Tech (5-5) - A win over Kansas puts the Red Raiders back on track to reach a bowl game in Joey McGuire's first season at the helm. 

Rice (5-5) - The Owls need to beat UTSA or North Texas to earn that coveted sixth win and a bowl invite. 

Texas (6-4) - The good news is that Texas' four losses were marginal and against solid teams. The bad news is that it doesn't matter when the standards are so high. 

Houston (6-4) - A bowl bid won't be as exciting for a Houston program that entered the year with conference title hopes. 

UTEP (4-6) - The Miners must win out to reach six wins and get a bowl invite. 

Midwestern State (6-5) - MSU played a lot of young players towards the end of the season due to injury, which will benefit the Mustangs if they can find a quarterback during the offseason.

UTPB (5-6) - The Falcons have five wins in each of the last two seasons, which remains remarkable for a program that just completed its seventh year of existence.

Texas Lutheran (4-6) - TLU has built a nice amount of momentum heading into the offseason after winning four of its final seven games.

Howard Payne (7-3) -The Yellow Jackets need a rally to defeat Austin College in a challenging game to prepare for emotionally following two close losses.

Southwestern (3-7) - Moving out of the ASC will benefit the Pirates, who are seeking to align with universities that share a similar vision regarding athletics.

Navarro (6-4) - Two heart-breaking losses to New Mexico Military Institute will not define a season that saw the Bulldogs improve every week.

Tyler (5-4) - The Apaches were idle in Week 11.

Stock falling

Baylor (6-4) - A poor passing attack hindered the Bears in a blowout loss to Kansas State that left everyone scratching their heads. 

Stephen F. Austin (5-5) - There is trouble in Lumberjack land following two consecutive home losses with lackluster performances. SFA needs a win at ACU this week to build some positive momentum for the offseason.

Sam Houston (5-3) - The Bearkats are redshirting a lot of their roster, but Saturday’s performance is not up to the standard of K.C. Keeler and the SHSU coaching staff.

Tarleton (5-5) - Three consecutive losses, with the last two defeats by an average of 5.5 points, has dampened the enthusiasm around the football program. The Texans need a convincing win against HCU this week.

Texas A&M-Commerce (5-5) - The struggles at the end of the season are not surprising despite the Lions hot start to the year. A lack of depth was bound to catch up to A&M-Commerce in its first year of transitioning to FCS.

Texas A&M-Kingsville (7-4) - Four straight losses to end the season is not what the Javelinas expected, but expect Mike Salinas and his staff to use the disappointment as motivation during the offseason.

West Texas A&M (5-6) - Expectations were high for the Buffs entering the season, but a 3-6 conference record and an embarrassing loss to Simon Fraser to end the season has the program heading in the wrong direction.

Trinity Valley (8-2) - There is never a good time to commit eight turnovers in a game, but it’s lethal in a playoff game. The Cardinals national title hopes were dashed with the loss.

Basement

Texas A&M (3-7) - The Aggies have lost sixth straight and won't finish at .500 or above despite starting the season ranked sixth in the nation. 

Texas State (3-7) - Tough conversations are required in San Marcos as the Bobcats are guaranteed to end the year with a losing record for the eighth consecutive season. 

Lamar (1-9) - The Cardinals are a young team still gaining experience. Next year will be a pivotal season at Lamar in the Blaine Morgan era.

Houston Christian (2-8) - Six consecutive losses have worn on the Huskies young team, but the experience from this season could prove valuable in a couple of years.

Austin College (1-9) - The Kangaroos are the most improved team in Texas since the beginning of the season. Look for that improvement to show in the win column next year.

McMurry (1-9) - The War Hawks decided they didn’t fit in the ASC. However, that decision will ultimately benefit the football program when it competes against schools with more of a shared vision of DIII athletics.

Wayland Baptist (2-8) - A loaded back end of the schedule caught up to the Pioneers resulting in six straight losses to end the season.

Texas College (1-9) - The Steers won a game this year, making this season a big success. Hopefully, Jarrail Jackson can use the momentum to build the program in the offseason.

Blinn (3-6) - The Buccaneers season has ended.

Cisco (3-6) - The Wranglers season ended.

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