By John P. Lopez
It’s hip to be Baptist in Texas college football this year. With a combined record thus far of 18-0, Baylor, Hardin-Simmons and Mary-Hardin Baylor (all members of the Southern Baptist Convention) have had the kind of success that makes Baptists want to get up and dance. I mean, if it were allowed.
Which leads us to this week’s Texas Ten, ranking the best of the 39 football-playing colleges and universities in our great state. Why rank just Texas schools regardless of division? Because this is Texas. And it’s football. And nothing else matters.
- Baylor (6-0) — There continue to be rumblings of an NCAA investigation and that the Bears are bending if not breaking rules. But just stop with that. They are not offering athletes extra benefits. They call it, “tithing.”
- TCU (7-0) — Churning out Hard-Sixes that get married at 23-years-old and double-digit win seasons. It’s what TCU does. And the Frogs are well on their way to their 10th double-digit win season under Gary Patterson in 14 years.
- Houston (6-0) — Another week, another rumor about The Herman-ator, coach Tom Herman. This time it’s the USC Trojans who are drinking the Tom Herman Kool-Aid, which is WAY better than what Steve Sarkisian was drinking during a game and got him fired.
- Mary Hardin Baylor (6-0) — The Cru stretched its regular-season win streak to 60-straight with a win over Louisiana College last week. The Cru now stand ranked No. 2 in the national Division III football poll. The Cru is fun to say. It’s short for Crusaders, which is not nearly as cool as saying, The Cru. So … here’s to The Cru.
- (tie) Texas A&M (5-1) and Texas A&M-Commerce (5-1) — The Lions have a running back named Richard Cooper, who has rushed for more than 100-yards in seven-consecutive games. To be fair, he hasn’t faced a rush defense like the Aggies’ every week. Otherwise, it would be seven-straight 200-yard games.
- Midwestern State (7-0) — The No. 10-ranked Mustangs from Wichita Falls travel to Commerce this week for a big-time battle with the Lions. Now, I’m not saying these two campuses are close to the Oklahoma border, but both fan bases believe the last line of the Star-Spangled Banner is, “Gentlemen, start your engines.”
- Texas Tech (5-2) — Since 2012, the Red Raiders have won just nine Big 12 conference games, and none against a team that finished with a .500 or better record. This week, they face former Tech QB Baker Mayfield, who transferred to OU. Finally, Mayfield must be thinking, a soft spot in the schedule.
- Hardin-Simmons (6-0) — Oprah Winfrey’s significant other, Stedman Graham, is a proud Cowboys alumnus. Which means if this win streak continues the football banquet will end with, “You get a car! YOU get a car! YOU get a car!!!”
- Texas Lutheran (6-1) — Breaking the Baptists’ stranglehold in this week’s Texas Ten are the red-hot Texas Lutheran Bulldogs. We know they’re Lutheran because the concession stand offers only coffee and Jell-O molds.
- (tie) Texas (2-4) and Trinity University (5-1) — If you think Austin can be weird, visit the Tigers’ campus in San Antonio sometime. I’m not saying they’re liberal hippie-types, but the athletic dorm is a Yert and the only hair coeds comb is on their legs. Still, they can ball.