Surveying football in the state of Texas


Dave Campbell's Texas Football season preview issue won't be hitting newsstands until mid-June, but I answered a few questions for a writers' survey about the teams within the state for this year's issue.

Here's what I thought, but what about you? Feel free to give your own response in the comments.

For a refresher, here are the 10 FBS teams in the state of Texas: Baylor, Houston, North Texas, Rice, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas El-Paso

1) Which team will be the best in the state in 2010, and why?

Texas. TCU might have a case, but the depth at Texas gives the Longhorns more room for error. And while it wouldn't surprise me if TCU had the better record in January, I don't know if you could convince me that the Horned Frogs were the better team.

2) Which in-state program will make a big leap in 2010, and why?

I'll take the easy answer and say Baylor. Robert Griffin will be a smarter quarterback, and if he keeps his aggressiveness and athleticism, Baylor will be in the bowl mix in November.

3) What storyline will emerge in 2010 that nobody’s talking about now?

I keep hearing rumors that one of the six major conferences is looking to add a couple of teams. I can't say who or which conference, but trust me on this.

Seriously, though, the Missouri and Nebraska Big Ten conversations are taking up the front pages now, and if that happens, I'm interested in what happens to Baylor or Texas Tech once Texas and Texas A&M start fielding questions from the SEC.

4) Which freshman will make the biggest impact in 2010?

Darius White, Texas.

5) Who is the most under-the-radar player at a Texas program?

Baron Batch, Texas Tech. Consistently productive, and he doesn't get a lot of respect on the conference level, or certainly on a national level.

6) Which current Texas college player would you choose if you were starting a program?

If remaining eligibility counts, I'll take Garrett Gilbert, who has more time than my one-season choice, Jerrod Johnson. I'd love to start on the defensive side of the ball, but I'd only do that if one of the Texas teams had a completely dominant linebacker -- someone like a Patrick Willis. It doesn't look like there is one at any of the Texas schools, so I'll go quarterback.

7) Who will play his way onto the 2011 DCTF cover?

Christine Michael, after Jerrod Johnson bolts to the NFL.

8) What do you think about the new rule that bans messages on eye black?

It seems like a lot of preemptive paranoia about an issue that hasn't had enough high-profile problems to warrant a change.

9) Predict the biggest upset by a Texas team this season?

Garrett Gilbert will be a young quarterback in his third start, playing in the Bermuda Triangle that is Jones AT&T Stadium against an offense that will score points. Gilbert will want to do the same against an aggressive Tech defense that will be looking for him to make mistakes. That's a recipe for an early-season repeat of Tech upsetting the Longhorns.

My runner-up: Baylor knocking off TCU in Ft. Worth, leading to a postgame smile from Robert Griffin, who overdramatically recites an overdramatic Michael Jordan quote: "I'm back."

10) Who will be the first Texas-bred player selected in the 2011 NFL draft?

Andrew Luck.

11) Which Texas coach faces the most pressure in 2010?

Kevin Sumlin. He probably could have jumped to another job last season, but he didn't, and now he's going to be expected to do what he did last year without his offensive coordinator and a defense that I don't see being a whole lot better.

12) Which Texas player will finish the highest in Heisman balloting in 2010?

Jerrod Johnson.

QUICK HITTERS (no explanation needed)

BIG 12 CHAMP: Texas

BIG 12 RUNNER-UP: Nebraska



SUN BELT CHAMP: Middle Tennessee State

BCS CHAMP: Alabama

BCS RUNNER-UP: Boise State

HEISMAN WINNER: Trent Richardson




SUPER BOWL LOSER: Green Bay Packers