Way-Too-Early Texas FBS Power Rankings for 2024

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It is never too early to look ahead at the 2024 college football season. Here is our first crack at how the power rankings inside the Lone Star State shake out for next season. The transfer portal makes movement a guarantee, but with the college football season concluding last night, we need something to dream about heading into a long offseason. 


Texas was clearly the best team in the state during the 2023 campaign, winning the Big 12 and advancing to the College Football Playoff. The road in 2024 is much tougher. The Longhorns must replace most of its starters at the skill positions on offense, as well as both defensive tackles. Quinn Ewers’ expected return is an important boost for a program that heads to Michigan in Week 2 ahead of its maiden voyage into the SEC. An experience offensive line also helps. 


Even with a new head coach, Texas A&M should be the second-most talented team, at least on paper, in Texas heading into 2024. Mike Elko has added 20 players through the portal so far, including edge rusher Nic Scourton and cornerback Will Lee III. The Aggies return a bulk of its offensive line, a talented stable of running backs, quarterback Conner Weigman, and some proven receivers on offense. Elko and the added talent through the portal should help young players like Taurean York and DJ Hicks on defense. 


Joey McGuire enters year three in Lubbock with a roster that’s rounding into form. If the Red Raiders can improve on the offensive line, watch out. Behren Morton can be one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12. Running back Tahj Brooks is back. The wide receiver position should be more explosive thanks to the portal and five-star signee Micah Hudson. Without Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12 is wide open. Texas Tech enters year three with McGuire with the same offensive and defensive coordinator. That counts for something. 


The Horned Frogs became the first national runner-up to miss a bowl game since Texas in 2010. They need to rebound in 2024 in a wide-open Big 12. TCU is betting on quarterback Josh Hoover taking the next step, and he showed flashes of brilliance last season. Sonny Dykes made a change at defensive coordinator and signed the sixth-best portal class in America, according to 247Sports. Dykes signed the best class of the remaining Big 12 teams in 2023 and the second-best in 2024. A second season with Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator should lead to more success in the red zone. 


The Mustangs are stepping into a Power Four conference in 2024 as SMU moves into the ACC. SMU was tremendous in 2023 en route to a AAC title thanks to an improved defense and strong offensive line. The good news is that the Mustangs return a lot of production offensively, including quarterbacks Preston Stone and Kevin Jennings. The bad news is the step up in competition. SMU was 10-0 against G5 teams in 2023, but 0-3 against Power Five squads. The Mustangs didn’t score more than 20 points in any of those games, including the bowl loss to Boston College.  


Can a new-look offense put Baylor back on track and extend the Dave Aranda tenure? Jake Spavital was hired to run the offense and Aranda is calling the defense. The Bears signed Toledo quarterback transfer Dequan Finn to lead the offense. Ashtyn Hawkins is transferring from Texas State to provide a punch on the edge. The Bears have posted losing seasons in three of the last four campaigns. The other was a Big 12 championship and a program record 12 wins in 2021. 


Willie Fritz finally gets his first crack at coaching a Power Four squad as the former Tulane and Sam Houston head coach takes over the Cougars. Fritz has won everywhere he’s gone, but that success doesn’t happen overnight. He’s signed 14 transfers to this point to put the Cougars into bowl contention in year one. They open with UNLV at home and then a trip to Oklahoma. The Big 12 schedule includes trips to TCU and Arizona. 


Life without quarterback Frank Harris begins for UTSA and head coach Jeff Traylor in 2024. Roadrunner fans were given a sneak peak of that future in a bowl win last month – the first in program history. UTSA should be better along the offensive and defensive lines moving forward with a strong defensive core returning. The quarterback competition is one to watch. UTSA must replace leading receiver Joshua Cephus and its all-time leading tackler in safety Rashad Wisdom, as well. 


The Cinderella story of 2023 hopes to not turn into a pumpkin in year two under head coach G.J. Kinne. Texas State won eight games for the first time as an FBS program while reaching, and winning, its first bowl game. The Bobcats host seven games at home next year and play Sam Houston at NRG Stadium in what amounts to a neutral site game. The Week 2 home contest against UTSA might break attendance records. 


Eric Morris will head into his second year with a roster that added over 40 new faces. The Mean Green signed 27 players in the early period and have commitments from 15 transfers. They lost the team’s top passer, rusher, and receiver to the portal, but Morris always finds a way for his team to score points. The key for a year two turnaround is improvement on the defensive side of the football. 


Rice rode the arm of JT Daniels to a bowl bid and a six-win season, but the Owls won’t have the former five-star recruit in 2024. Enter E.J. Warner, the son of Super Bowl champion, Kurt Warner, and a productive quarterback at Temple. Replacing the production of Luke McCaffrey at wide receiver is another challenge. Mike Bloomgren’s improved the overall talent on the Rice roster over the last few years, and he’ll need that depth to show up in an important 2024 campaign.


No team in Texas, and maybe the entire FBS, suffered more bad beats than Sam Houston in the Bearkats’ inaugural foray into major college football. Five of their six Conference USA losses were by single digits – two came at home in overtime. Sam Houston did win three of its last four to carry momentum, and belief, into the offseason. 


A lot of unknowns exist in El Paso with Scotty Walden taking over for Dana Dimel as head coach of the Miners. Walden, a native Texans who was the head coach at Austin Peay before taking the job with the Miners, is a ball of energy who brings a high-paced offense to Sun City. He hopes to turnaround UTEP quickly, just like Kinne did last year at Texas State. 

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