Five things we learned in Week 13 of college football

By Doug Holleman

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James Lynch is the best player in Texas

There are a whole bunch of All-America candidates in the state of Texas – James Proche, Sam Ehlinger and Jordyn Brooks among them. However, none is more impactful than Baylor defensive end James Lynch. 

Lynch had a good statistical game with two sacks (breaking the career Baylor sack record in his true junior season), a quarterback hurry and pass breakup. However, that doesn’t do justice to the level of consistent pressure Lynch brings. 

Baylor’s defensive improvement has been built on its ability to bring pressure with three down linemen; Lynch is the reason this system works. 

Mason Fine deserves better

Rice deserves a ton of credit for improving to the point that they could blitz a team as good as UNT and go up 20-0. That said, Saturday was the biggest failure since Seth Littrell arrived at North Texas. 

This is an Owls team with zero wins heading into Week 12 against a North Texas team that came into the year with conference title hopes. The Mean Green still had everything to play for, considering bowl eligibility was two games away. That’s over now. 

Now, Mason Fine’s last game at North Texas comes in an attempt to get to 5-7. That’s not how anyone hoped the career of the most storied quarterback in program history would end. As a fan of football in this state alone, it sucks. 

2019 Texas is a disappointment

There’s no way around this. There was always going to be a level of regression after losing key members on both offense and defense from last season’s Sugar Bowl champion team. Still, few could have expected this would be a 6-5 team at this point. 

The Longhorns were completely outclassed against Baylor. Non-Ehlinger Longhorns posted just 122 yards – and 68 came on one rush. The Longhorns – picked to play in the Big 12 title game before the year – will pray for a Texas Bowl bid. By any standard, a ninth five-loss season this decade is a disappointment. 

There are no moral victories, but...

Texas A&M played three elite programs earlier this season. Each time, the Aggies looked like they didn’t belong on the field. That changed on Saturday against No. 4 Georgia. The Aggies made a furious comeback to give themselves a shot at a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. It fell short, but the Aggies outgained Georgia in yardage and looked like a peer. 

A four-loss season was almost guaranteed. Once Auburn reached the top 10, the realization that it was probably a five-loss year soon followed. The most important part of this season was showing signs. Against Georgia, those signs were front and center. 

2020 looks like a bounce-back year

In some ways, 2019 is a down year across the state. That should change quickly in 2020. Baylor and SMU bring back decent levels of production and can still be the class of the state. Texas and Texas A&M’s rosters (and schedules) always angled for a better 2020. However, it goes further than that. 

Texas Tech has played an astonishing amount of close games. With another year of experience under Matt Wells, the Red Raiders will start winning some. TCU is getting outstanding production from a group of young guns, led by Ar’Darius Washington and Max Duggan. 

Down ballot, Houston handled its first manageable game in weeks, Rice beat a perennially good UNT squad and even UTSA and UTEP have shown signs. 

The state of Texas has produced one nationally relevant team (Baylor), one good Group of Five team (SMU) and a whole bunch of fluff this season. Luckily, that looks more like a one-year blip. 

College Power Poll

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

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