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 is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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