THE TEXAS SCHOOLS REPORT

Ranking the Texas Div. 1 schools: Baylor passes U of H as the losses pile up

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

12. RICE

The struggle continues as Baylor comes to town the week after Texas left an impression of a boot print on the backside of Rice. I think this program is a long way off from winning games against Texas and Baylor but showing a little "want to" could go a long way with the alumni and the student section.

11. TEXAS STATE

I think I was wrong about Texas State not being the eleventh worst team in the state but honestly, maybe they are. This week at least will shake out the bottom of the list and show who is where as all the schools on this end of the list are playing similarly equal teams.

10. UTSA

How bad is UTSA? We'll know after this week. I think they can play a hard game against North Texas and honestly winning it isn't out of the question. This week will go a long way to determine the pecking order of the bottom of this list and if UTSA wants to move up, this is their chance.

9. UTEP

This week Nevada comes to town and UTEP gets to try and play away the memories of their Week 2 loss. How they perform this week will determine the integrity and quality of this team. Can they step up their game and respond to the adversity of a season slipping away?

8. NORTH TEXAS

Losing to SMU and then to Cal, the season is quickly slipping away from North Texas but here comes UTSA. This is a game that will determine the season for North Texas. Are they losers or are they going to fight for their season? This game will answer that question.

7.  TEXAS TECH

So much losing last week, it feels like almost the whole state of Texas lost. Texas Tech losing to Arizona did not help their season at all but there was no way to bump them down because everyone else lost too. Tech's off this week so the Red Raiders can reload and try again next week.

6. SMU

So yet again I correctly predicted SMU would win, and now they're looking strong. This week they have a chance to really elevate their season by traveling to now ranked #25 TCU. This is the hard one; rolling strong, good momentum but here's hoping momentum travels because this is a tough road game. I don't think SMU's winning ways continue but the upset would be huge for their year.

5. HOUSTON

So last week someone e-mailed me and asked why I had U of H over Baylor, considering Baylor was having a better year so far and I pointed out Houston's loss was to a Oklahoma and Baylor had been beating up cupcakes. Well the losing continued and now Baylor moved up while on a bye; Houston is down and it looks like even a win against Tulane won't change things.

4. BAYLOR

Coming off the bye, they passed U of H in the rankings because honestly U of H lost again. Baylor looks to continue its dominance of cupcakes this week against Rice and unless something changes this is probably where they'll be until they play Oklahoma later this season.

3. TCU

TCU won against Purdue and now they have SMU coming to town. These mid-level teams battling it out is the hardest thing to predict, because it's tough to gauge how far apart these teams are. I think TCU will win this game but even if they do, how much do we reward such a win? These are the things that makes college football fun.

2. TEXAS A&M

Texas A&M did exactly what I thought they would and beat Lamar. That probably helped the locker room feel better about their season but here comes Auburn and honestly, it's tough to see a way A&M wins this game. Obviously this will be the game to watch, but the odds of it going well are slim.

1. TEXAS

Texas took full advantage of Rice and took care of business. A big win after a loss is always what the doctor ordered but now Oklahoma State is coming to town and Texas needs to decide if they want to have a good season or a bad season. Stay Tuned.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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