College football in Texas has hit a low point not seen for nearly two decades.
There were no teams from the state of Texas ranked in The Associated Press poll this week for the first time since Sept. 14, 1997. Depending how the bowl season goes, this could be a first of sorts for Texas college football in the 80-year history of the AP poll.
The only times that no Texas schools were ranked in the final AP poll came in 1965 and 1967, when rankings only went to 10. But in those seasons, at least one Texas school was among 10 others receiving votes.
It will be up to Houston (9-3) and Texas A&M (8-4) to keep the state from being shut out of the final rankings.
Houston and Texas A&M had been ranked the previous week but both fell out after losses. At points this season, Baylor, TCU and Texas had also spent time in the Top 25, but all three have limped to disappointing seasons. The Cougars and Aggies could be the only Texas teams to finish the regular season over .500 if Baylor and TCU lose this weekend. Only half of the state's 12 FBS teams are in position to play in the postseason.
TCU (6-5) and Baylor (6-5) have locked up bowl eligibility. UTSA finished 6-6 in Conference USA and conference rival North Texas is 5-7, but looking good to get into a bowl because of its Academic Progress Rating. There aren't enough 6-6 teams around the country to fill the 80 postseason spots.
The Longhorns? Their season started with a rousing overtime victory against Notre Dame on Labor Day night that led to a brief stint in the top 10 and ended with coach Charlie Strong being fired.
Baylor had a horrible offseason, marred by a scandal that led to coach Art Briles being fired after an investigation into the school's handling of sexual assault allegations. The Bears started 6-0 and reached as high as No. 8 in the rankings against a soft schedule — but they have not won since.
TCU started the season No. 13 in the country and was considered a Big 12 contender before flopping.
At Texas Tech, the Red Raiders finished the season with a fifth victory by beating Baylor last Saturday. The continued failures of coach Kliff Kingsbury's defenses have fans losing patience with the former Texas Tech quarterback. Texas A&M fans are less than thrilled with their coach, too. Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies started 6-0 and were No. 4 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, but finished 8-4 and lost their last four Southeastern Conference games.
At Houston, a 9-3 season never seemed so unfulfilling. The Cougars started with playoff hopes, beat Oklahoma early and Louisville late, but will have to settle for a third-tier bowl game. And they lost coach Tom Herman to Texas, too.
Houston was the closest Texas team to the Top 25 this week. With 98 points, the Cougars were tops among the others receiving votes. Back in 1997, when the state was shut out of the rankings, Texas A&M was first among the others receiving votes.
Rice, UTEP, SMU and Texas State are a combined 14-33.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
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