Looking ahead

Del Olaleye: The weekly update on college football

Will Jimbo Fisher still be around when A&M plays Arizona State? Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Del Olaleye's weeekly college football report:

Georgia should put Jake Fromm in Bubble Wrap

The Georgia freshman has had an interesting off-season. Earlier this summer he somehow wound up with a fishing lure in his left calf. Not a huge deal for a guy from Warner Robbins, Ga. I can just hear Georgia fan now, “Oh look, Jake has a fishing lure in his leg, ain’t that something.” Fromm took the whole thing in stride. There are images of him sitting casually in a doctor’s office on his phone while a lure hangs from his leg. Clearly not a big deal. The latest summer injury is a little bit more serious but not enough to trouble Fromm’s coach Kirby Smart. Fromm broke his non-throwing hand in a “freak boating accident.” The accident happened on the 4th of July but fortunately for the Bulldogs, Fromm is already back to throwing the football. He’s not the only QB from the 2018 title game to suffer a hand injury in the offseason. In the spring Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa injured his throwing and had to undergo a surgical procedure that will keep him out until August. More injury bad luck hit the Crimson Tide this week as linebacker Terrell Lewis tore his ACL while training. Alabama had issues keeping linebackers like Lewis healthy last year. So far that trend continues as we approach the 2018 season.

Virginia Tech loses another defensive starter

The Hokies announced the dismissal of defensive back Mook Reynolds in what has been a disastrous offseason for Bud Foster’s defense. That is now seven starters that the Hokies have to replace from the 2017 defense. Two players who were expected to help in the rebuild also won’t be available. That includes Adonis Alexander who is now in the NFL Supplemental Draft. At one point Hokies starting QB Josh Jackson’s eligibility was in question as well but the Hokies were able to dodge that potentially crippling loss. Virginia Tech opens the season against ACC rival Florida State.

Arizona State and Texas A&M schedule a home and home

These two programs with first year head coaches agreed to play each other starting in 2026. The announcement isn’t particularly newsworthy. These types of announcements happen all the time. The two programs actually played in 2015.  It just struck me that it is likely that A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Arizona State’s Herm Edwards won’t be around to be coaching against each other. Fisher has all the job security in the world. Ten years and $75 million is the epitome of security. Eight years is still a long time to keep your job in the SEC unless your name is Saban. Herm Edwards on the other hand didn’t start his Sun Devils career to glowing reviews. He’s everyone choice to be a disaster hire. Even if he turns out to be a good hire, a former NFL head coach staying in the college ranks for eight years seems unlikely. If action exist for such a boring prop bet, bet on neither one being on the sidelines for that game.

The Aggies are playing the wrong Arizona school anyway. The people over at NRG should look closely at Kevin Sumlin’s return to Houston as the Arizona head coach this season. The Wildcats play the University of Houston in September. A matchup in the Texas Kickoff Classic featuring potential Heisman candidate Khalil Tate from Arizona against the Aggies in both Fisher and Sumlin’s second year would be all types of intriguing. And would ya look at that, it just so happens there hasn’t been a 2019 game scheduled yet.

 

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Baseball is right around the corner. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The Texans and Rockets are disasters, so bring on the Astros! Even if they weren't disasters, bring on the Astros! Their spring training opener is Sunday, their regular season opener one month from Monday. Alexander Pope wrote "hope springs eternal." I hear he played a pretty decent shortstop. All 30 Major League Baseball teams can be hopeful in March. The Astros have plenty to be hopeful about and plenty about which to be wary. A couple of early storylines: 1. Yuli Gurriel admitted he was unacceptably overweight last season. It would be great for the Astros if that explains most of Gurriel's pathetic performance as opposed to age catching up with him. 2. Jose Altuve is in great spirits and health. His MVP level days of 2016 and 2017 are likely gone for good, but getting the Altuve of 2018 or 2019 would be a tremendous boost. The Altuve of 2020 was one of the worst players in MLB.

And now to the dueling debacles…

Rough stretch for the Rockets

The Rockets are awful. They sit with 11 wins and 19 losses. Just three seasons ago they lost 17 games the entire season. They are routinely non-competitive. They lug a nine game losing streak to the court Friday night in Tampa against the Toronto Raptors. Among the losses are blowouts by 20, 22, 25, and 29 points. All of those routs came against teams with losing records. By NBA standards the Rockets' roster stinks. The injured Christian Wood is the only player they have who is or projects to be an average or better starter. John Wall's contract is an anvil.

That they are this bad is actually one of the few silver linings to the Rockets' near term future. The Rockets only retain their first round pick this summer if it falls in the top four of the draft. The Rockets currently have the fourth worst record in the NBA, just one half game ahead of third worst! Where the pick falls comes down to which draft lottery ping pong ball combination is drawn, but the worse their record the better shot the Rockets have of being in the top four. If not in the top four, the Rockets settle for the lowest of their own, Oklahoma City's, or Miami's first rounder. That's probably the Heat pick, and probably not in the top 15.

The longest losing streak in Rockets' franchise history is 17. During their expansion season the San Diego Rockets lost 17 straight. The longest losing streak in Houston Rockets' history is 15 games during the 2001-02 season. They finished the season 28-54. How many of their five most frequent 2001-02 starters can you name? Answer below.

The worst team in Rockets' history was the tanking and awful 1982-83 club that finished 14-68. Longest losing streak that season? 10. The first 10 games of the season.

Releasing JJ Watt might have been a mistake

The Texans are poised to add yet another feather to their dunce cap if J.J. Watt signs with the Packers, Bills, Titans, Roughnecks, Inmates (The Longest Yard) or anybody else for 15-plus million dollars per season. Such a deal would indicate at least one team would have been willing to give up a decent draft pick (say a third rounder) for Watt and the one year 17.5 million that was left on his contract. If the Texans think they score points for doing Watt "a solid" in setting him free they are absurdly mistaken. The Texans need all the draft capital they can get. J.J. Watt will always have a hallowed place in Texans' lore but they owed Watt nothing. Over the last five seasons he played just three seasons worth of football and was paid 82.5 million dollars for them.

More Deshaun Watson drama

Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson reportedly directly told new Texans Head Coach Edward Smith that Watson has no interest in playing for him. It's nothing personal against David Culley (Edward Smith captained the Titanic) but Watson wants the Texans' organization permanently in his rearview mirror. We'll see if Cal McNair and new General Manager Nick Caserio have the stomach to not trade Watson through the draft. If the Dolphins offer Tua Tagavailoa, the third and eighteenth picks in the first round, the fourth pick in the second round, and their first round pick in 2022, the Texans should make the trade and move on.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Rockets' starters by most starts in 2001-02: Cuttino Mobley (74) Kelvin Cato (73) Kenny Thomas (71) Steve Francis (56) Moochie Norris (26).

2. It can't soothe Rocket fan nerves that the best bet for the Eastern Conference Final matchup is James Harden's Nets vs. Daryl Morey's 76ers.

3. Most frustrating 2021 Houston-visiting player appearances: Bronze-Harden the Net Wednesday Silver-George Springer the Blue Jay in May Gold-Watt the Titan this fall? Would he really sign with the Titans?

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