Texas Football: Longhorns land too low in first CFP Rankings

Steve Sarkisian, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Sarkisian, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The first College Football Playoff rankings were released on the night of Oct. 31, placing Texas football at No. 7. Texas is the second-highest-ranked one-loss team in the first CFP Rankings of the year, behind the No. 6 Oregon Ducks.

Here is how the top 25 rounded out in the first edition of the CFP Rankings in 2023.

  1. Ohio State (8-0)
  2. Georgia (8-0)
  3. Michigan (8-0)
  4. Florida State (8-0)
  5. Washington (8-0)
  6. Oregon (7-1)
  7. Texas (7-1)
  8. Alabama (7-1)
  9. Oklahoma (7-1)
  10. Ole Miss (7-1)
  11. Penn State (7-1)
  12. Missouri (7-1)
  13. Louisville (6-2)
  14. LSU (6-2)
  15. Notre Dame (7-2)
  16. Oregon State (6-2)
  17. Tennessee (6-2)
  18. Utah (6-2)
  19. UCLA (6-2)
  20. USC (7-2)
  21. Kansas (6-2)
  22. Oklahoma State (6-2)
  23. Kansas State (6-2)
  24. Tulane (7-1)
  25. Air Force (8-0)

The Longhorns are also the highest-ranked Big 12 team in the first CFP Rankings. The No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners took a hit in the polls after head coach Brent Venables’ squad suffered their first loss of the season last weekend against the Kansas Jayhawks on the road in Lawrence.

No. 21 Kansas, No. 22 Oklahoma State, and No. 23 Kansas State are the other three Big 12 teams in the first CFP Rankings.

Texas should be the highest-rated one-loss team

The logic for why the Longhorns should be the highest-ranked one-loss team in the first CFP poll is simple: they have the best win in the country this season. Texas has a double-digit win on the road over the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 2. No other team in college football has this impressive of a road win this season.

Alabama is the third-highest-ranked one-loss team in the CFB Ranking.

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian made this case for the Longhorns in his Monday press conference on Oct. 30.

Oregon, meanwhile, notched an impressive 35-6 win over the No. 13 Utah Utes on the road in Week 9, which vaulted the Ducks to be the highest-ranked one-loss team in the major polls this week. And while it is no easy feat to beat Utah by multiple scores in Salt Lake City, I do think this is the worst Utes team we’ve seen in the last few years, given how banged up they are.

Without standout quarterback Cam Rising, tight end Brant Kuithe, and a multiple of other key players on the two-deep for most of the season, Utah is a shell of what it was hyped up to be during the preseason. The Utes also have two double-digit losses to ranked foes in PAC-12 play in the last four weeks.

Oregon doesn’t have another marquee win beside Utah

Outside of the win over Utah, Oregon’s next-best win is probably the non-conference road triumph in Week 2 over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Texas Tech is the second-highest-ranked team in the ESPN FPI and ESPN SP+ behind Utah.

And this is a 3-5 Texas Tech team we’re talking about that Oregon beat by eight points in Lubbock. The week prior to facing Oregon, Tech was upset by the Wyoming Cowboys in Laramie in overtime.

Texas will have its shot to get in the CFP during a difficult three-game stretch to start November in Big 12 play

While the Longhorns have a case to be the highest-ranked one-loss team in the first CFP poll, it ultimately won’t matter until we get to late November. Texas must handle business in this upcoming three-game stretch against No. 23 Kansas State, TCU, and Iowa State.

The Longhorns will be tested in the next couple of weeks, at least without redshirt sophomore starting quarterback Quinn Ewers. After he suffered a shoulder injury in the Week 8 win on the road over the Houston Cougars, redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy was thrown into action for the Longhorns.

If the Longhorns can get another win over a top-25 foe with Murphy starting at quarterback, that will be a good start to Texas having the run in November they need to stay in CFP contention.

It’s pretty simple for Texas: win out and take the Big 12 title, and you’re probably making the College Football Playoff. It would also help if Alabama and Oklahoma both won out down the stretch this season.

A fun fact that Danny Davis pointed out on social media after the first Playoff rankings released on Oct. 31 is that the seventh-ranked team in the first edition of this poll in the previous two years made it in the four-team field both times (TCU in 2022 and Michigan in 2021).

Next. 3 key injured Texas players heading into the Kansas State game. dark