Small College Power Poll: No surprise at the top, but who are the challengers?

Courtesy of Sam Houston Football

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Each week Dave Campbell’s Texas Football staff gives their power rankings of the college football teams in Texas.

Note: Teams are measured against the overall strength of their conference. 

National title contenders

  1. FCS - Sam Houston (1-0) Last Week: N/A - Any fears of a celebration layover following the national title were quickly dispelled in a 42-16 win over Northern Arizona.

  2. D3 - Mary Hardin-Baylor (1-0) Last Week: N/A - UMHB opened its 2018 national title run with a 91-7 win over Albright. Last Saturday, the Cru defeated Simpson College 84-6.

  3. NJCAA - Kilgore (1-0) Last Week: N/A - Kilgore opened with a 49-28 win over Tyler in a non-conference game against a fellow SWJCFC foe.

Conference title challengers (Top 25 teams)

  1. D3 - Hardin-Simmons (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Cowboys opened with a dominating 49-0 win and will be heavily favored over the next two weeks.

  2. D2 - Texas A&M-Commerce (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Lions won an ugly 12-6 affair over a ranked CSU-Pueblo squad marking the Lions’ first-ever win over the Thunderwolves.

  3. NJCAA - Trinity Valley (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Cardinals earned a nice win over an over-matched ASA-Miami squad before conference play begins next week.

  4. D2 - Angelo State (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Rams provided one of the most impressive wins of the opening weekend with a 40-20 road victory over ranked Lindenwood.

Likely middle of conference

  1. D2 - West Texas A&M (1-0) Last Week: 7 - The Buffs were one of a handful of teams to not play in the spring and did not show any signs of rust in a 72-0 win over Texas College.

  2. D3 - Trinity (0-0) Last Week: N/A - The Tigers were forced to cancel their opening contest against McMurry and are scheduled to host Macalester College next Saturday.

  3. FCS - UIW (0-1) Last Week: N/A - Losing 44-41 on the road to Youngstown State was tough for a team with FCS playoff hopes putting more pressure on the Cardinals to win the Southland Conference outright.

  4. D3 - East Texas Baptist (1-0) Last Week: N/A - ETBU avenged a season-opening loss in 2019 to Wisconsin-Platteville with a very impressive 37-31 road win. The Tigers have no time to celebrate with a trip to UMHB this week.

  5. D2 - UTPB (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Falcons built on an undefeated spring with a nice 24-16 road win over Southwest Baptist on short preparation after their original contest was canceled.

  6. NJCAA - Cisco (0-1) Last Week: N/A - Any hopes of a repeat surprise run to the top of the rankings and possible national title shot took a hit with a 35-14 loss to Navarro.

  7. FCS - SFA (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Lumberjacks lit the tower purple last Saturday with a comeback 20-10 win over Tarleton in the first WAC conference game in over eight years.

  8. NJCAA - Navarro (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Bulldogs racked up 319 rushing yards in an impressive 35-14 road win over Cisco.

  9. D3 - Howard Payne (1-0) Last Week: N/A - This team is not yet ready to contend at the top of the ASC but will surprise a few teams if the defense continues to improve.

  10. NAIA - Texas Wesleyan (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Rams earned the program’s first season-opening win since restarting football in 2017 with an impressive 35-28 comeback victory over ranked Arizona Christian.

  11. FCS - Tarleton (0-1) Last Week: N/A - Tarleton struggled to move the ball consistently against SFA resulting in a 20-10 defeat to the ‘Jacks.

  12. NJCAA - Tyler (0-1) Last Week: N/A - The Apaches hung tough against a nationally ranked Kilgore squad last week. We’ll know more about Tyler after they meet Navarro on Saturday.

  13. D2 - Midwestern State (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Mustangs may have their best offense since Layton Rabb departed. However, questions in the defensive secondary remain.

  14. NAIA - SAGU (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Lions welcomed Louisiana College back to the NAIA ranks with a 20-13 comeback victory.

  15. D3 - Texas Lutheran (0-1) Last Week: N/A - TLU fell victim to an improved Howard Payne squad in a 43-17 loss. Coach Ricky Matt is confident his team will improve.

  16. FCS - Prairie View A&M (1-0) Last Week: N/A - The Panthers looked surprisingly good in a 40-17 win over rival Texas Southern after a tough spring season.

Likely bottom of conference

  1. NAIA - Wayland Baptist (0-1) Last Week N/A - The Pioneers had a tall task on their hands against Hardin-Simmons but was a nice challenge heading into conference play at Lyon on Saturday.

  2. FCS - Abilene Christian (0-1) Last Week: N/A - ACU was the huge underdog facing SMU last week. The Wildcats will change roles this week against NAIA Louisiana College.

  3. FCS - Houston Baptist (0-1) Last Week: N/A - HBU remained close to New Mexico last week in a 27-17 defeat. The Huskies match up better this week against Northern Colorado.

  4. D3McMurry (0-0) Last Week: N/A - A late cancellation kept us from seeing the War Hawks improvement since a promising spring under coach Jordan Neal.

  5. FCS - Lamar (1-0) Last Week: N/A - Lamar steamrolled an overmatched North American team last Thursday. The Cardinals are huge underdogs this week at UTSA.

  6. D3 - Austin College (0-0) Last Week: N/A - The ‘Roos were scheduled to open against a former SAA foe and instead is scheduled to open the season with their first ASC game since joining the conference.

Teams with a lot to prove

  1. D2 - Texas A&M-Kingsville (0-1) Last Week: N/A - The Javelinas defense was solid last week in a 13-9 road loss to Saginaw Valley State. They will seek to get the offense clicking against Western Oregon on Saturday.

  2. D3 - Sul Ross State (0-0) Last Week: N/A - The Lobos had a scheduled bye week to open the season to prepare for a big challenge against Hardin-Simmons this week.

  3. FCS - Texas Southern (0-1) Last Week: N/A - Big plays hurt TSU in a loss to rival Prairie View A&M with over 18,000 fans on hand for the Labor Day Classic. A trip to play Baylor awaits.

  4. NJCAA - Blinn (0-0) Last Week: N/A - The NJCAA CoVID-19 protocols forced the cancellation of the Buccaneers scheduled opener against Southern Shreveport.

  5. D3 - Southwestern (0-1) Last Week: N/A - The Pirates look to be a team struggling to find an identity on both sides of the ball which is where they seemed to be at the end of the spring season.

  6. NAIA - Texas College (0-1) Last Week: N/A - Facing a Division II opponent was not ideal for a team that had not played in over 600 days. Coach Greg Ellis hopes to see improvement at Langston on Saturday.

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