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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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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