COUNTDOWN TO THE SEASON

Del Olaleye: The weekly college football update includes more trouble for the Big 10

Somehow, UT coach Tom Herman got dragged into the Big 10's mess. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The weekly look at all things college football:

Rough going in the Big Ten

The conference of Leaders and Legends has had a rough summer. If you’re not familiar with those two words in reference to the Big Ten, those were the pretentious names they used temporarily to name their divisions in football. Oddly enough those names didn’t go over well so now the Big Ten’s divisions are simply named East and West. Much appreciation to the Big Ten for figuring out that they are the only ones who think they are special.

The Zach Smith/Urban Meyer saga continues into its third week. Ohio State has a hatchet man in Jeff Snook attempting to discredit Brett McMurphy and throw University of Texas head coach and former Meyer assistant Tom Herman into the grease. Herman and his wife responded to the allegation by Snook that Herman alerted McMurphy to the drama involving Smith by denying any involvement. Herman did say his wife gave temporary financial help to Smith’s estranged ex-wife. Meanwhile Ohio State’s investigators will meet with Zach Smith as the campaign to protect Meyer at all cost continues.

The Buckeyes’ biggest rival is involved in something less serious but still could affect their season. Michigan is investigating whether their players sold exclusive Jordan brand shoes. Jim Harbaugh doesn’t expect anything to come of it as Michigan football has conducted its own investigation. Michigan hopes to not suffer the same fate as fellow Jordan brand school North Carolina which had multiple starters suspended for selling shoes, including their potential starting quarterback.

The Big Ten wasn’t done making news this week as Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin was put on leave after a not so complimentary ESPN report. The report state that Durkin was at the head of program with a toxic culture. This reports comes just months after the death of Maryland player Jordan McNair. McNair’s death certainly raised questions about the Maryland program and the subsequent report chronicled the levels of fear and intimidation that may have led to McNair’s death. Durkin’s strength and conditioning coach, Rick Court, considered one of the main culprits, was fired August 14th.

If there is one conference who just wants games to begin it has to the conference of of 14 members that calls itself the Big Ten.

QB battles to be decided

We’re entering the second week of training camp which means we’re one week closer to the greatest time of the year. While I can relax as my favorite team has named their starting QB other marquee programs are still using practices and scrimmages to make a decision.

LSU: The transfer of former Ohio State QB Joe Burrow was supposed to simplify the quarterback quandary for the Bayou Bengals. That isn’t the case as the team’s first scrimmage didn’t show Burrow separating from the quarterbacks who were on the roster last year. Burrow is one of four players who hope to start for LSU come September 2nd and LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron has alluded to possibly playing two QBs in the season opener.

Tennessee: The Vols have a new head coach in former Alabama, Florida State and Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt but the questions at quarterback remain the same. This is year two of trying to replace Josh Dobbs and Tennessee has Keller Cryst, a transfer from Stanford and returnee Jarret Guarantano vying for the job. Deciding on a QB is one of Pruitt’s biggest decisions early in his tenure and whoever wins the job doesn’t get a warm up game to start. The Volunteers face West Virginia in a neutral site game to begin the season.

Alabama: Tua vs Jalen. Easy. It will be Tua. Everyone knows it. It is just a matter of time. Let’s keep it moving.

 

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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