Saturday NCAA Football Recap

Texas colleges - but not Texas - dominate in Week 1

Jimbo Fisher is off to a fast start. Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Week 1 saw some expected victories and a few surprises from the Lone Star State:

Houston 45, Rice 27

Trailing 24-17 at the half, it was apparent the Cougars thought they were playing the same team they destroyed in the Bayou Bucket last year. They were not. The Owls dominated the first half but D’Eriq King and the Cougars rallied in the second half for their 45-27. King ran 4 yards in the third quarter, then completed scoring passes of 57 yards to Marquez Stevenson and 18 yards to Courtney Lark. Stevenson displayed dazzling speed in his first game after being out last season due to injury. Patrick Carr included a 37-yard touchdown run to seal the deal for the Cougars in their season opener against their city rivals. It is worth mentioning Aaron Cephus caught a few impossible passes with impeccable situational awareness for the Owls throughout the game on Saturday.

A&M 59, Northwestern State 7

In their season opener, the Northwestern State Demons were simply outmatched against the Aggies. However, NW State quarterback Clay Holgorsen completed 9 passes for 105 yards and one touchdown which should translate to more success when they play other FCS schools. As for the Aggies, they had little trouble in Jimbo Fisher's debut as head coach.

TCU 55, Southern 7

As expected, No. 16 TCU dominated both sides of the field in their 17th consecutive home opening victory. The Horned Frogs were favored to win, obviously, but with their second quarter touchdown, the Jaguars became the first SWAC team to score against TCU.

Maryland 34, Texas 29

Tom Herman had an entire game to prove he could outcoach a team with no coach and somehow the Longhorns still came up short. Maryland dedicated its season to their fellow Terrapin, Jordan McNair, who tragically died of heatstroke during the offseason. Freshman receiver Jeshaun Jones ran for a score, threw for a score, and caught a 65-yard touchdown pass, playing a pivotal role in Maryland’s victory. Interim coach Matt Canada was full of pride during his post-game interview. “I just can't say enough about our players, everything they've been through and the way they stuck together,” Canada said. The Terrapins came to play but the Longhorns essentially beat themselves. In addition to three turnovers, Texas committed 10 penalties for 102 yards.

Rutgers 35, Texas State 7

“It’s been three years to get here,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said on starting with a win for the first time in his tenure. Running backs Raheem Blackshear and Jonathan Hillman had two touchdowns apiece, leading Rutgers to their 35-7 win over Texas State.

Mississippi 47, Texas Tech 27

Mississippi racked up more than 500 yards in the blowout of Texas Tech on Saturday. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns, leading Ole’ Miss to their 47-27 victory over Tech

Baylor 55, Abilene Christian 27

The Bears snapped their eight-game home losing streak in their 55-27 win over Abilene Christian on Saturday evening. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer and Jalan McClendon threw for a combined 311 yards, leading the Bears to victory.










 

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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