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CFB Insider

Highlights, Disappointments, and More from Week 2

HOUSTON - As college football fans gear up for another action-packed weekend, let's review the stunning turn of events of week two and current rankings.

Without their primary quarterback, who left with a sprained collarbone late in the first quarter, the Longhorns could not come out on top against number one Alabama, succumbing 20-19.

Following their tight victory, the Crimson Tide slipped from the top in the AP Top 25, with Georgia capturing the position following a dominant performance against an FCS opponent Samford.

After losing to Appalachian State 17-14 on Saturday, things don't look good for Texas A&M.

The Aggies could not score four or less in six of their eight possessions. In terms of productivity, just one of these possessions resulted in a touchdown. The longest of these drives gained only 29 yards, and one ended up in the end zone.

Another top-10 team, No. 9 Baylor, loses in double overtime to No. 21 BYU 26-20 in a nail-biter.

During the second overtime drive, BYU held on to a goal-to-go scenario as quarterback Blake Shapin fired a fourth-down ball out of the back of the end zone to clinch the victory.

Texas Tech upset No. 25 Houston 33-30 in overtime in another Texas clash.

It was the last matchup between the longtime Southwest Conference rivals before the Cougars moved from the American Athletic to the Big 12 the following year.

As expected, this weekend is filled with exciting matches.

Baylor will face Texas State at 11:00 a.m., kicking off the day's games at McLane Stadium. The UH will then host Kansas at 3:00 p.m. Then, Texas Tech will travel to Carter-Finley Stadium at 6:00 p.m. to play NC State.

The Texas A&M matchup with Miami at Kyle Field is wrapping up the evening at 8:00 p.m.


College football rankings for Week 3 AP Poll

1 Georgia 2-0

2 Alabama 2-0

3 Ohio State 2-0

4 Michigan 2-0

5 Clemson 2-0

6 Oklahoma 2-0

7 USC 2-0

8 Oklahoma State 2-0

9 Kentucky 2-0

10 Arkansas 2-0

11 Michigan State 2-0

12 BYU 2-0

13 Miami 2-0

14 Utah 1-1

15 Tennessee 2-0

16 NC State 2-0

17 Baylor 1-1

18 Florida 1-1

19 Wake Forest 2-0

20 Ole Miss 2-0

21 Texas 1-1

22 Penn State 2-0

23 Pittsburgh 1-1

24 Texas A&M 1-1

25 Oregon 1-1

CFB Insider

Texas-Sized Games to Kick Off the Season

HOUSTON – This week marks the official start of college football, and football fans throughout the nation are ecstatic.

Fans in the Lone Star State are gearing up for two exciting matchups. Sam Houston will play Texas A&M on the road at Kyle Field on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. central on the SEC the first game. Then at 2:30 p.m., the University of Houston will take on the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Alamodome. 

All teams have fascinating storylines, such as returning quarterbacks attempting to reclaim their thrones, powerful offensive weapons, and high expectations for a successful season opener; thus, fans can anticipate a spectacular Saturday filled with college football.

No. 7 Texas A & M vs. SHSU

The Aggies and their 12th man will host the Bearkats, one of the most formidable FCS teams winning the FCS Championship during the 2020 season, on the first Saturday of college football action.

Sam Houston State finished the 2021 season with an 11-1 record; their only loss came in the quarterfinals of the playoffs against Montana State. The rising Bearkats, coached by Sam Houston State's longtime head coach K.C. Keeler, are aiming for a rise to FBS while joining Conference USA in 2023.

However, with the return of redshirt sophomore quarterback Haynes King, the Aggies' 2022 season is one of the most intriguing of the year. King hopes to retake his reign after suffering a devastating injury in the 2021 season opener against Kent State, where he threw for 292 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.

The Aggie's Wrecking Crew have their job cut out as they try to stop the explosive Yates, despite having one of the most profound and talented defensive line rotations in the nation, anchored by junior tackle McKinnley Jackson and sophomore EDGE Fadil Diggs.

Yates, the Bearkats' starting QB, is expected to make a splash on Saturday. Sports Reference reports that the Georgia Tech transfer completed 91 of 153 throws for 908 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions in seven games last season, making him a threat to rush and pick up yards at any moment like the Aggies' Haynes King.

Furthermore, the rising Bearkats have had a busy offseason. Adding nine FBS players via the transfer portal this season, including former 5-Star safety B.J. Foster and 2018 recruiting class wide receiver Al'vonte Woodard, both from the University of Texas.

To stop Bearkats’ QB Yates, Aggies’ head coach Jimbo Fisher and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin must apply relentless pressure, squeeze the pocket, and rotate as many players as possible from their deep 2022 recruiting class.

The Aggies hope to get off to a solid start for the season thanks to the return of the King and the play of their talented defensive line, led by Walter Nolan, Shemar Stewart, and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy.

An intriguing fact is that the Aggies have never lost to the Bearkats in their history, holding a perfect 12-0 record against them. The two teams last played in 2013, with the Aggies winning 65-28 behind an offensive explosion spearheaded by Johnny Manziel. 

No. 24 UH vs. UTSA

Houston’s head coach, Dana Holgorsen, hopes to repeat last year's tremendous success as the team prepares to join the Big 12 and enters this game with high expectations.

Last season, the Cougars won 12 games and came within one conference championship game. 

The Cougars' primary ambition this season is to win the conference crown, and their roster depth has sports commentators favoring them over the Roadrunners. 

In addition, the Roadrunners face one of the station's most explosive receivers and a potent passing game, which presents a formidable obstacle due to the disparity in their returning productivity.

Compared to their 13th-ranked returning offense, UTSA's 69th-ranked returning defense leaves a lot to be desired, and it's not apparent who will be defending against UH wide receiver Nathaniel “Tank” Dell and the other key matchups.

With 3,546 passing yards and 1,329 receiving yards between them in 2021, Houston senior QB Clayton Tune and junior WR Dell are one of two quarterback-wide receiver duos returning for the next season, hoping to build on the momentum of the previous season.

“Last year gave us a lot of confidence in what we can do and how we can play and win as a team, and I think that energy’s even higher this year,” Tune said. “We’re just scratching the surface.” 

He continued, “The one goal me and everybody on this team should have is to win a conference championship – get back there and win.” 

A recent recipient of the Herbie Award for Most Exciting Player, WR Dell accounted for about one-third of UH's catches while being a threat downfield with an average of 14.3 yards per reception and a target depth of 12 yards.

Despite this, No. 24 Houston is not entirely out of the woods.

In conjunction with the Cougars' struggle to produce on the road, the rising Roadrunners have lately performed well in the red zone.

In particular, they've scored 61% of the time in the red zone. Equally, UTSA's offensive front boasts four returning starters, and their defensive line should be active against the run, even if they cannot penetrate the backfield.

Last season, UTSA also finished 12-2 after a perfect 11-0 start, helping the team ascend to No. 22 in the rankings. However, after beating the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the Conference USA title game, the Roadrunners lost the Frisco Bowl and ultimately fell to No. 24 San Diego State.

The Roadrunners are led by record-setting quarterback Frank Harris, who established UTSA single-season records for passing yards (3,177), completions (398), touchdowns (27), attempts (263), completion percentage (.661), passing efficiency (152.5), total offense (3,741), and touchdowns responsible (33), as well as the team's leading tackler over the past two seasons, Rashad Wisdom. Both have been selected as their respective conferences' preseason offensive and defensive players.

Sports commentators and analysts are predicting that the final score will be higher than the point spread, making this one of the most exciting games of the weekend.


CFB Insider

One Last Talk About Talking Season


There is no “off” in college football. In today’s game, the off-season sounds more like myth than reality. The time between the last whistle in January to the first kick in late August provides as much drama as a mid-October upset. The myriad of culprits is ever evolving, but this year’s cast included recruiting, the transfer portal, NIL deals, contentious coaches, and conference realignment. Before talking season becomes a distant memory and bold projections become mocking tweets, here is a recap of a few of the biggest off-season storylines and some final predictions for how it all unfolds when the pads crash on the gridiron.

1.       The Saban-Fisher Feud

The Paul Finebaum Show had phones ringing off the hook in May, an unconventional time for the popular SEC Network talk show to garner as much attention as it did. One clip of Coach Nick Saban at a luncheon with business leaders in Birmingham sent football fans into mid-season form with opinions, criticism, and calling for heads to roll. Saban was presenting his concerns on how NIL, specifically collectives, may impact the recruiting landscape. To illustrate his point, Saban referenced the approach taken at Texas A&M, going so far as to allege “A&M bought every player on their team.” As soon as the words left his mouth, the sound bite went surfing the web, ultimately finding its way across the desk of Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher. In an attempt to fight fire with fire, Fisher made it personal by attacking the Alabama coach’s character and insinuating skeletons in the closet saying, “We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past... What he does and how he does it, it’s despicable.”

The dispute came to a head amid claims that Texas A&M senior leadership called upon SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to punish and suspend Saban. The Commissioner stepped in with a public reprimand to both coaches, and the emotions that boiled over simmered down by the time SEC Media Days rolled around. Despite public intrigue for more fireworks at the Conference’s most public summer function, both coaches walked back their initial words in an attempt to dissuade any sort of bulletin board material lingering into the season.

Alabama linebacker and consensus pre-season All-American Will Anderson noted that it will all be handled on the field. So how does that play out?

Don’t expect a repeat of last year’s Aggieland thriller where a walk-off field goal dethroned No. 1 Alabama and snapped a streak of one-hundred straight wins over unranked opponents. The Crimson Tide will use this game to make a statement on behalf of their coach and roll over the Aggies by a four-touchdown margin.

2.       Arch Goes to Austin

The age-old question: when will Texas finally be back? The return to glory may not be too far away as the No. 1 ranked QB in the class of 2023 committed to the Longhorns. Arch Manning had his pick of the litter with offers from every major college football program at his disposal. The legacy quarterback decided to forgo family ties to Ole Miss and Tennessee, along with ignoring home-state roots to LSU and blaze his own trail at soon-to-be-SEC Texas.

              By the time Arch steps foot on campus, expect Head Coach Steve Sarkisian to be facing one of the hottest seats in college football. The 2022 campaign for the Horns will follow the trend of years past with some exciting wins and inexplicable losses. It is not out of the realm of possibility that UT slips up to a non-conference opponent not named Alabama and starts 1-2, while later breaking the streak in the Red River Rivalry and capturing its first win against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl since 2018.

3.       Transfer of Power

Perhaps the off-season's biggest winner is the University of Southern California, where the football team finally reflects the same flashy lifestyle of the Hollywood Hills – at least on paper. Lincoln Riley, one of the hottest names in coaching, made the journey west to take the head coach role at USC, leaving behind the same position at Oklahoma. Reports circulated about his new destination buying him a 6 million dollar mansion, meanwhile on the message boards fans speculated about his fear of the SEC. One thing is for sure, the coach landed in a pasture loaded with green.

              Caleb Williams, the former No. 1 QB in the 2021 recruiting class and starting QB at Oklahoma following last season’s comeback win against Texas, followed Riley westward via the transfer portal. Joining Williams is Biletnikoff Award-winning WR Jordan Addison, who transferred from Pitt. Rounding out the transfer trio of offensive firepower is WR Mario Williams, also from Oklahoma. It is evident that Riley is intent on building the same juggernaut-style power that he managed at Oklahoma and will look to bring back relevance to West Coast football.

              The resounding boom atop the Trojans' fight for post-season relevance is the move to the Big 10.  The Big 10 Conference sent shockwaves across the college landscape when they poached UCLA and USC from the PAC-12 this summer for a 2024 start, which matches moves made by the SEC last year. Just as a semblance of order flirted with college sports, everyone was sent back into a spiral when news broke of the realignment. It is yet to be seen what pieces will continue to unfold, if, and when additional universities opt to bring their program to a new conference.

              Despite the looming changes in competition, USC opens the 2022 season at No. 14 in the AP Poll. They will have some ground to cover to catch up to No. 11 Oregon and No. 7 Utah but expect the Trojans to get hot late and find their way to Las Vegas for the PAC-12 Championship Game. A test against Notre Dame at the end of the regular season will likely make or break College Football Playoff hopes for both teams.

4.       Notable NIL

Aside from the millions of dollars tied up in collectives, it appears NIL is serving its purpose for Nebraska WR Decoldest Crawford. The former LSU commit from Shreveport, La., epitomizes brand integration through his partnership with Omaha-based SOS Heating & Cooling. In the commercial, Decoldest tells viewers who to call to keep their air conditioning cool. This local partnership is a welcome respite for fans agonizing over the future of NIL.  

Crawford and his fellow Cornhuskers have some work to do in helping cool down their head coach’s not-so-frosty seat. Scott Frost is entering his fifth season at the helm of the Huskers and has yet to post a winning record for the program. Once lauded as the next Tom Osborne, Lincoln has only been left with disappointment. Nebraska is hoping their luck will change as they open the season in Dublin, Ireland, during Week Zero action. A light first half of the season paves the way for bowl eligibility by the end of October and springs a program in need of positivity to their first Bowl Season since 2016.


Talking season is over. Voices will soon be lost as either faint whispers of pre-season expectations or cheers in stadiums by jubilant fans celebrating victory. Though it was never really “off,” football is finally here again.



CFB Insider

Early Bowl projections are in!

It’s June and while we wait for football to return, all we can do is look at projections and predictions. Today, we’ll look at some of the VERY early TaxAct Texas Bowl projections to see who the experts think will take the field at NRG Stadium on December 28.

Last year’s matchup featured lots of purple with the K-State Wildcats facing off against the LSU Tigers. K-State took home the hardware after a 42-20 victory over LSU that featured four Deuce Vaugh touchdowns. With the 2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look at some predictions for the 2022 game.

Bowl Projection: Baylor vs Auburn

The first projection features a matchup between two teams that haven’t faced off on the gridiron since 1976. Previous matchups have resulted in two Baylor wins, one Auburn win, and one draw. The Baylor Bears are 1-1 in their two TaxAct Texas Bowl games while the Auburn Tigers don’t have an appearance yet. With this being only their fifth matchup ever and their first in almost 50 years it makes for an interesting Bowl game.

Bowl Projection: Texas vs. Kentucky

This is another matchup that hasn’t happened in quite some time. These two teams last met on the field back in 1951 with the win going to the Longhorns by a score of 7-6. Now that Texas joining the SEC in the next couple of years this would be one of the last chances for these two to meet before becoming conference mates. Texas has one TaxAct Texas Bowl appearance while Kentucky is a fresh face for this Bowl game. With one team looking to bounce back after a down year and another looking to continue their success from the previous season this looks like a pretty good matchup overall.

Bowl Projection: Texas vs. Tennessee

Once again, we have Texas and a new face to the Bowl game. With these two teams in the game, it becomes a battle of orange schools whose names start with a ‘T’. It’d be the perfect follow-up to the purple vs purple matchup of the K-State vs LSU Bowl game. These two haven’t faced each other since 1969 and the current score is two Texas wins to one Tennessee win. It’s been a long wait but if this is the matchup then Tennessee finally has a chance to tie the series up.

            Join the waitlist to stay informed on all things TaxAct Texas Bowl. 

CFB Insider

There’s always time for new power rankings.

Big 12 and SEC post-spring football power rankings.

As spring football comes to a close and teams prepare for the final stretch before the season starts let’s take a look at some rankings. With no actual action on the field, all we can do is argue about where all our teams rank. Here are some post-spring football power rankings for both the BIG 12 and SEC.

In the first set of SEC rankings, there’s the usual Crimson Tide in first place followed up by the defending national champions, the Georgia Bulldogs. Bryce Young and Will Anderson leading their respective units have the Tide as the favorites to claim the National Championship after a one-year drought. With Georgia having 15 total players drafted they’ll be looking to reload and at worst be in the mix for a CFB playoff spot again. The Aggies are coming in hot this season after assembling the greatest recruiting class in CFB history. Anything other than a CFB Playoff birth will be seen as a wasted year. All those four and five-star players should be able to get the Aggies into their first-ever CFP.


Full rankings:

1.       Alabama – Crimson Tide

2.       Georgia – Bulldogs

3.       Texas A&M – Aggies

4.       Kentucky – Wildcats

5.       Arkansas – Razorbacks

6.       Tennessee – Volunteers

7.       Mississippi State – Bulldogs

8.       LSU – Tigers

9.       Ole Miss – Rebels

10.   South Carolina – Gamecocks

11.   Florida – Gators

12.   Auburn – Tigers

13.   Missouri – Tigers

14.   Vanderbilt – Commodores


The Big 12 rankings by USA Today have Oklahoma as the current favorites to claim the conference title. Even after taking some considerable loses at various coaching positions and some players transferring OU has done a lot of work to prove they’re still in contention. With Dillon Gabriel out of UCF stepping in at QB and Brent Venables taking over as HC the Sooners will most likely contend for a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl once again. Behind the Sooners are both Oklahoma State and Baylor who both had very successful seasons last year. After facing off for the conference championship last year both teams will look to contend with OU for the Big 12 title this year.


Full rankings:

1.       Oklahoma – Sooners

2.       Oklahoma State – Cowboys

3.       Baylor – Bears

4.       Kansas State – Wildcats

5.       Texas – Longhorns

6.       West Virginia – Mountaineers

7.       Iowa State – Cyclones

8.       TCU – Horned Frogs

9.       Texas Tech – Red Raiders

10.   Kansas – Jayhawks