COUNTING DOWN

Del Olaleye: The weekly look at college football includes Ed Oliver on a LOT of watch lists

Ed Oliver will be on a lot of watch lists. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Ed Oliver on all the watch lists

If preseason watch lists are to be believed then Ed Oliver has a shot to be the most decorated defensive player to ever play at the University of Houston. Major college awards won’t be voted on until the end of the season but what Oliver has done in his first two years at Houston put him in a prime to position to have a very successful award season. The Outland, Nagurski, Bednarik, and the Maxwell awards have all listed Oliver as a person to look out for. Houston doesn’t have a game on the schedule this season that will garner the star defensive tackle the type of attention that his first ever game did. There is no Oklahoma for Oliver to dominate in 2018. No top 5 opponent on a national stage to help stake his claim. A great Houston season would certainly help but overwhelming numbers and dominance will be Oliver’s path to a fruitful postseason awards circuit. That path starts Sept. 1 against Rice.

Conference media days are upon us

I don’t particularly care that this week is devoted to conference commissioners and coaches waxing poetic about their conferences and programs. I do care that it is one more landmark in our long trek back to the the start of the college football season. By the end of the week we’ll be about two weeks away from the start of fall practice. I will credit Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby with the line of the week so far. When asked about some Big 12 schools selling alcohol in their stadiums during games, Bowlsby said it might be preferable to having people “power drinking” in the parking lots at halftime. You win, Mr. Bowlsby. You win. That isn’t the only great thing to come out of the Big 12 media days. The SEC has the standard bearer for the our conference is better than your conference slogans with “It just means more.” The Big 12 jumps into the conversation with “Hardest path to the CFP.” Pretty straightforward and somewhat boring. The SEC remains the king when it comes to pretentious conference slogans.

Gary Patterson is against the new transfer rules

The TCU head coach called the recent change that removes the ability of institutions of restrict the movement of college football players stupid. The NCAA now allows players to choose a new institution to transfer to without the player’s current coach or school having much of a say. Schools now have to place a player’s name in a national database within two days of being informed of an intent to transfer. In an interview with Star-Telegram, Patterson cites the ability of players on other teams to recruit a potential transfer as a problem. The Horned Frogs head coach also believes the rule is indicative of modern society, “What we’re teaching our kids to do is quit. I’m not starting. I’m not getting my playing time. Every freshman I’ve ever known wants to transfer because it’s harder than anything else he did in high school.”

I don’t buy a word of what Patterson is saying. The rule makes his job harder and that is his real problem. He winds up snitching on himself when he says this, “As I tell people all the time, at your house you’re going to allow your 17-year-old, 18-year-old to run your household? Let them pay your bills, that’s what you do? No. You don’t do that. So why are we putting our jobs in jeopardy because of an 18-year-old? That’s stupid.” You didn’t birth these players, coach. You’re their football coach. You don’t have custody.

For all the talk about the fall of modern society, Patterson’s outrage comes from a place we all know something about, CYA. As you read more and more of the article it is pretty clear that Patterson’s biggest objection is he’ll have to work harder. He now has less control over the future of the kids who decide to play for him and I’m all for it.



 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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