FALCON POINTS

Out-of-nowhere Baylor-Houston football matchup gives fans an unexpected surprise

Photo via: UH Football/Facebook

The college football season is off and running with some fits and starts. The Covid-19 crisis has caused cancellations, postponements and difficulties of all kinds.

But one positive is the unexpected matchup we will get this weekend when Houston plays at Baylor.

Houston's Friday night opener against Memphis was postponed when multiple Memphis players tested positive. Baylor faced the same situation with Louisiana Tech. The result? Both schools worked out a deal to play on Saturday in a nationally televised game. It will be a good test for the Bears, who break in a new coach with Dave Aranda. And for UH, it will also be a test to see where Dana Holgorsen's program is in year No. 2 against a Power Five opponent.

The schools were rivals in the Southwest Conference, but have not played since 1995. They were also linked by Art Briles, who began his career at UH and then went to Baylor, where he brought unprecedented success on the field and shame off of it.

The Bears have a new coaching staff, with Matt Rhule bailing for the NFL after competing for the Big 12 title. Dave Aranda won a national championship as defensive coordinator at LSU last season, and he brings veteran OC Larry Fedora, an offensive mind who was head coach at both Southern Miss and North Carolina. It is Aranda's first head coaching job, so it is hard to say how the Bears will look, but you can expect them to be defense-oriented. The offense returns four starters on the offensive line, a group that struggled last season, and quarterback Charlie Brewer. Top receiving threat Denzel Mims is gone to the NFL, but the Bears still have talent.

Defensively, they lost nine starters off what was a stellar group, so Aranda and DC Ron Roberts have their work cut out for them. Roberts was DC at Louisiana last season.

The Cougars return a lot of solid talent on offense, and if Clayton Tune can take a step in Year 2 and throw fewer interceptions, the offense should be pretty good. Last season was one of the rare years when Holgorsen didn't have a solid offense. Their top five WRs from last season return, as does four of the five starters on the offensive line. They also bring back a solid 1-2 punch at running back in Kyle Porter and Mulbah Carr. The defense was a disaster last year, but they return 16 of 17 of their top tacklers, and mix in several transfers. The experience they got last season should make a big difference. Baylor is a seven-point favorite and the over/under is 60.

It's a fun, unexpected matchup. It's nice to see schools work together to make something like this happen, because in the RonaVerse, it will probably be an ongoing thing. It's rare to see a game come together one week out, but it makes sense for both teams.

It also gives the fans a nice surprise and something to look forward to this weekend.

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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