DEL OLALEYE

College football report: New coaches in high profile jobs are struggling

Chip Kelly is not off to a good start. Harry How/Getty Images

Willie Taggart and Scott Frost may have been two of the most high profile hires coming into the 2018 season. Unfortunately for Florida State and Nebraska, offseason hype isn’t transitioning to on-field success. The two blueblood programs are a combined 1-4 through the first three weeks of the season.

Taggart’s team is dealing with injuries and a talent deficit on their offensive line and was nearly shut out by a bad Syracuse defense on Saturday while Frost’s Nebraska team lost its second straight one score game at home. Losing to Colorado in your first game isn’t a complete disaster. That Troy loss is probably sitting differently with the Nebraska faithful. Winless going into the start of Big Ten play was not the beginning Huskers fans had in mind. Playing a walk-on quarterback likely wasn’t on the agenda either. The health of freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez will likely determine the fate of Frost’s first season with Big Red.

I didn’t forget about Chip Kelly

It has been nothing short of brutal in Westwood for the biggest offseason hire not named Jimbo Fisher. Losing to Cincinnati in the first week was bad. Dropping one to Oklahoma was expected. Even the margin of defeat wasn’t considered outrageous.  Getting beat by Fresno State at home might have the most reactionary starting to question whether Kelly has lost it. Fresno State under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford isn’t a bad program but getting dominated at home by an in-state Group of Five school isn’t the best way to maintain any semblance of off-season momentum. Throw in the father of the freshman starting quarterback taking you apart on twitter and the Chip Kelly era couldn’t have started worse.

I’m actually writing about Kansas Football

I don’t normally think about Kansas football. Hell, I don’t ever think about the state of Kansas. This will probably be the only time Kansas gets any space in one of my writeups to be honest. Just a friendly reminder that Kansas has a real shot to go 3-1 as they travel to Waco to play Baylor. The only reason the Jayhawks aren’t 3-0 right now is because they somehow lost to Nicholls State at home in Week 1. That is a very Kansas football thing to do by the way. Kansas hasn’t won a Big 12 game since they effectively ended Charlie Strong’s tenure at Texas in 2016. The Jayhawks go on the road to face a Baylor team who just lost at home to a Duke team who was starting their backup quarterback. Waco is as good a place as any to end their losing streak to Power 5 teams.

Hate Watch Game of the Week:  Notre Dame vs Wake Forest

There is never a bad time to root against Notre Dame but when they’re in the top 10 and look vulnerable it is even better. The Fighting Irish go on the road to face a Wake Forest team that is a little salty. Throw in a noon start and an inept Notre Dame offense and you have a chance for a rush the field moment in Winston Salem. Do college kids still rush the field?

Hate Watch Record 2-1: LSU beats Auburn

It took Auburn pooping down their own leg to ruin my perfect record. War Eagle blew a double-digit lead at home to team who’s quarterback finished the game 15-of-34. LSU got their second top-10 win of the year to become one of the early season darlings. Gus Malzahn got himself that contract extension after beating Alabama and Georgia in 2017 and is now 1-3 against ranked teams since.


 

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Houston drops first of three

Mariners heat up late to take series opener over Astros

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With the playoffs just a little over a week away, the Astros started their last week of regular-season games in Seattle against the Mariners. A couple of wins against them would secure Houston's spot as the AL West's second playoff participant, with Oakland all but having locked up the first spot sitting six games in front of Houston with seven left to play. Here is a quick rundown of the opener from T-Mobile Park:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 1.

Record: 27-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (7-2, 3.06 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA).

Bitter end to an impressive start for McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers would take a scoreless deep late into Monday night's game. While the Astros were trying to figure out Marco Gonzalez, Lance McCullers Jr. was repeating the success of his last start, a seven-inning two-hit start against the Rangers.

McCullers Jr. allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, then proceeded to retire the next fourteen batters before a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mariners their first hit of the night. He would go on to finish the sixth before things unraveled in the seventh.

A leadoff walk would result in a run after an error by Jose Altuve left runners on first and second, setting up an RBI-double to give the Mariners the first run of the night and a 1-0 lead. McCullers Jr. looked like he was going to cap off his night by stranding the runners on second and third after back-to-back strikeouts, but before he could get the last out of the inning allowed a three-run home run to blow the game open at 4-0. His final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Mariners take the opener

Despite getting several hits against him along the way, Houston could not get anything substantial going against Gonzalez, who would shutout the Astros over eight innings of work. After Enoli Paredes finished the seventh, Brandon Bielak would take over out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth.

He struggled mightily, loading the bases with no outs, including a hit batter before allowing a two-RBI single to extend Seattle's lead to 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick. That would be too little, too late as the 6-1 score would go final as the Mariners took the opener, keeping the Astros' magic number at two.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 8:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. On the mound will be Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA) for the Astros and Ljay Newsome (0-1, 6.35 ERA) for the Mariners.

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