Photo via star-telegram.com

 

The college football season ended with a thrilling championship game between Clemson and Alabama. With the offseason now upon us, it’s never too early to rank how next season will go for. Here, we will rank the Texas colleges for next year, which look to bounce back as Houston finished highest in the AP poll at 38th.

1. TCU

The Horned Frogs are coming off a disappointing and inconsistent 6-7 season, but they should bounce back into the Top 15. The offense should be better no matter who is leading it, either Kenny Hill or incoming freshman Shawn Robinson.

2. Texas

The hype machine is full throttle with new coach Tom Herman but I’m still hesitant about next year. The Longhorns have a tough non-conference schedule, including a game against USC. The biggest positive is the return of Shane Buechele, who flashed in his freshman season and can be the signal caller in Austin for at least the next two years.

3. Texas A&M

The Aggies went into full-on tank mode to end the season 2-5 over the last seven games. Trevor Knight was solid as a stopgap QB but the Aggies might have to start a true freshman next year, Kellen Mond or Connor Blumrick. They also have Jake Hubenak back for his senior year but there are still plenty of questions about the most important position in College Station.

4. Baylor

Matt Ruhle has a tough job ahead of him, but he has been able to get some nice recruits to Waco since he was hired. He’s also brought in several top Texas high school football coaches and they will be very intriguing to watch next year.

5. Houston

The Cougars were the toast of the Lone Star State the past two seasons under Tom Herman, but they have a new face of the team in new head coach Major Applewhite. Will they be able to continue the successes they saw under Herman? That and who replaces Greg Ward Jr. at quarterback are the biggest questions heading into next season.

6. SMU

The biggest get of the offseason for the Mustangs was Chad Morris returning after he flirted with going to Baylor. The team is trending in the right direction after going 5-7 last year. The next big step would be to  see them in a bowl game.

7. Texas Tech

If the uber-talented Pat Maholmes could only lead this team to five wins last year, what is going to happen when he isn’t the signal caller next year? Coach Bro (Kliff Kingsbury) is going to need some magic or it is going to be another tough year for the Red Raiders.

8. UTSA

Frank Wilson’s first season was magical, going 6-6 and making the school’s first bowl game. Wilson probably won’t be at UTSA very long, especially if he is able to replicate what he did last year.

9. UNT

Seth Litrell also made it to a bowl game in his first season, but only because the APR score was the best in the country. 5-7 was seen as a surprisingly good season for the Mean Green so another step forward on the upward trend will be expected.

10. Texas State

Nothing went right for Everett Withers in his first season at the helm of the Bobcats. Lack of scholarship players hurt his cause and he was extremely focused on changing the culture. Transfer QB Damian Williams brings much needed stability to the position after three players left the program.

11. UTEP

The Miners had high hopes for 2016 but fell flat this season, finishing just 4-8. With star running back Aaron Jones heading to the NFL, Sean Kugler will have to find his replacement and hope that his team can turn it around in 2017.

12. Rice

After going 3-9, David Bailiff is on the hot seat for next season as he enters his 10th season coaching the Owls. Back-to-back losing seasons hasn’t helped after going to a bowl game each of the prior three years. He needs a turnaround or he won’t see 2018.

 

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