RANKING THE STATE

Texas Div. I football rankings: A&M and UT have big tests this weekend

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12.  RICE

As predicted, Rice took another loss and the lost season continues. It's tough to say where it all ends but on the plus side they're off this week. With just two wins in as many seasons under Bloomgren, Rice has trended steadily downward since the 2013 Conference USA Championship and things aren't looking good for the young head coach.

11.  UTEP

So I was saying nice things about these guys playing tough opponents but that they now had a chance to win against UTSA, but they didn't. They lost head to head to the team right below them in the ranking? That means they switched places. Don't worry Miners fans, basketball season is coming soon enough.

10.  UTSA

UTSA came out of the game victorious and that means they moved up one spot over UTEP, whom they beat. That's a cool feeling. This week though UAB comes to visit after beating Rice and they play good football, so this may be a short run of success but if it isn't, they're only one game (and a heads up loss to Baylor) out of the lead in their division.

9.  NORTH TEXAS

Hopefully rust gathered because these guys haven't been playing great and maybe they could use an excuse or at least a change in habits. They travel to Southern Mississippi and now we'll see what direction things are going in, when they lose they don't score more than 30 points, when they win they score over 40. So keep an eye on the scoreboard.

8.  TEXAS STATE

After two wins in a row and a week off to feel great about themselves Texas State is hosting UL Monroe, another team they can beat if they play well. Let's see if these guys have figured out what winning football looks like yet. UPDATE: They haven't and they lost.

7. TEXAS TECH

Tech turned in its biggest win of the year, beating Oklahoma State as a 10-point underdog. The Red Raiders get a chance to back that up with a win at unbeaten Baylor. Back to back wins from the underdog position would launch this program back into the low end of some of the ranking metrics and sets an opportunity for them to finish the season strong.

6. HOUSTON

Houston seems to be trying to settle things and right the ship, Cincinnati is a good program but this is a possibly winnable game for Houston. Let's see what they put together this weekend. Houston is currently a hard program to judge just because of all the turmoil that's swirled through the program this year, but winning and losing is ultimately the way we tell the story in football, so a win here helps to further settle things down.

5. TCU

TCU is off this week. That win against Kansas looks less and less worthwhile after completely dropping the ball against Iowa State, and for those who have been reading this with me weekly know that I think time off after a loss is the worst thing for a football team, so lets see how TCU handles it.

4.  SMU 

For the first time since the death penalty was laid on SMU over twenty years ago, the Mustang are ranked now. They squeaked out a dramatic win against Tulsa and are now off this week. The run they've been on is impressive and I'm not ready to bump them over Texas A&M, even though the nation has, because the Aggies are hosting Alabama this weekend but that might change next week.

3. TEXAS A&M

Well, this is really their last chance to stay in the top three. Let's see what happens this week, I mean I think they're going to lose, but maybe not.

2.  BAYLOR

They won while A&M was off, we'll see what happens this week. I think Baylor will win against Tech and A&M will lose and SMU is off this week, so more than likely there won't be much change here. In my opinion Baylor needs to keep winning to hold onto it's position in the rankings more than a program like A&M, considering there are zero quality opponents on the list of teams they've beaten so far.

1.  TEXAS

Well this is the big one, The Red River Rivalry. Jalen Hurts just made the grave mistake of downplaying the importance and size of this rivalry. This is the most dangerous game on Oklahoma's schedule, I think and the one game where they see it coming and may not be able to stop it. Here we go.

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Houston gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

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