RANKING THE STATE

Texas Division I football rankings: A&M is on the move

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12. RICE

Well, another week, another loss. This time the role of winner was played by Marshall. Mercifully Rice is off this week. Resting comfortably numb in last place of what is not exactly a strong Conference-USA. Zero wins through nine weeks, this has got to feel like the year that never ends. I feel truly sorry for any seniors on the roster and every guy playing through injuries to keep showing up and losing by multiple scores.

11. UTEP

They gave up seven passing touchdowns to UNT's quarterback, Mason Fine. I think Mason's grandkids will hear about this game, "did grandpa ever tell you about that time he threw seven touchdowns in one game?" This year isn't over but UTEP has to be wishing it was, as the Charlotte 49ers come to town and they are heavy favorites to win. So there's that.

10 UTSA

I'm not going to be mean about this one, when UTSA scheduled Texas A&M they had to know what this game was going to look like. There's just no way around this game, and if we're being honest they played this game closer than the Baylor game so in some ways, this isn't a total waste. I know why programs schedule these games, the money helps offset costs these smaller programs have to deal with and I completely understand that, but honestly, this is going to be a loss every time. Good energy and effort, way to stay in there and now you get to travel to Old Dominion University which is basically an even match up; here's hoping things go the Roadrunner's way.

9. NORTH TEXAS

Seven passing touchdowns is the kind of "get right" game Mason Fine and the offense needed to feel way better about themselves. It doesn't erase the loss to the 49ers but it does make the team feel a lot better about the direction and future of this season. They travel to Louisiana Tech for a winnable game this weekend.

8. TEXAS STATE

The Ragin' Cajuns hurt the Bobcats really bad, winning 31-3. Texas State is flailing in free fall and hoping they can catch onto something even remotely resembling momentum. Thankfully the University of Southern Alabama comes to town, and the Jaguars have one win all season and are winless in conference. The Bobcats can turn things around right here if they care enough to. Let's see if they can make it happen.

7. TEXAS TECH

Well now the Red Raiders, who have had a disappointing season in conference so far, travel to West Virginia and have a chance to get a much needed in conference win. There's really no wiggle room for Texas Tech at this point, with five losses they can hope for seven wins and maintain bowl eligibility but only by winning out. They need four in a row.

6. HOUSTON

After a brutal, physical and emotionally draining game, The Cougars are blissfully off this week. Houston has to be in a confusing place as a program. I've made it clear in these rankings what I think of the coaching and the roster decisions that are leading this program and I think the program is going to look back on this brief period of time wondering what were they thinking. They are off this week, so hopefully players are doing their best to prepare for a few more games in spite of everything around them.

5. TCU

It wasn't like they were expected to win all of these crazy games on the back half of their schedule and that's the thing to remember as the last of the season happens. Beating Texas was awesome and raised eyebrows and perhaps expectations but losing to Oklahoma State was likely and therefore isn't and shouldn't be a big shock. Keep in mind even after playing Baylor this week, TCU still has Texas Tech and Oklahoma on the schedule so the losses might stack up.

4. TEXAS A&M

The Aggies laid down a beating on UTSA and they should have but TCU lost so they get the bump. It isn't in doubt who has the better athletes and coaching and the most money etc. If the Aggies would have lost that would have been a bigger problem for the program. That being said, the Fighting Texas Aggies are off this week and then play South Carolina before finishing the year on the road traveling to both Georgia and LSU. These aren't games they're likely to win so seven wins may be the goal for this team at this point.

3. TEXAS

They were off last week and this week Kansas State is coming to town. Texas desperately needs this win to get back into the Top 25 and honestly to save what started off as a season with promise and has had some big setbacks. There were people who were ready to say The Longhorns were back and now, not so much.

2. SMU

While the game was close in score it actually wasn't that close and SMU spent the entire second half chasing Memphis. It's surprising considering that Temple in common made it look like a much closer match up but the reality was in the 3rd quarter when Memphis put touchdowns on the board, SMU just didn't respond. This is that difference of being the team people are looking at instead of being the team people look past. The success is new to these guys and they'll shake it off and figure it out. They have played good football all year until now but they can get their mojo back with the East Carolina Pirates coming to town.

1. BAYLOR

Baylor survived a close call against West Virginia and now they are number 12 in the country. They go on the road to TCU who just lost a game to Oklahoma State and might be looking to try and get another upset in just two weeks after upsetting Texas. Baylor better be on guard or this season could sneak away from them.

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After splitting the first two games of the series, including the extra-inning affair on Saturday, the Astros looked to defeat the Angels on Saturday to secure the series win and leave Los Angeles with a winning record. On the mound were two pitchers looking to shrug off bad debuts to the season. Here is how the game went on Sunday afternoon:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 6, Angels 5.

Record: 5-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Blake Taylor (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jacob Barnes (0-2, 3.86 ERA).

James walks his way into trouble

After a disastrous start to his pitching season where he was unable to record an out, Shohei Ohtani was able to sit down the Astros 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the first. However, Houston would take advantage of his struggling command in the top of the second, working three straight walks to load the bases with no outs. They then would get two more walks with two outs to grab an early 2-0 lead and end Ohtani's day early yet again.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Josh James. He, too, allowed some walks but was able to work around them in the first two innings, erasing two in the bottom of the first and one in the second for two scoreless innings.

That changed in the third when he would walk the bases loaded with two outs before Albert Pujols continued his nearly twenty-year reign of being a thorn in Houston's side, hitting a grand slam, Los Angeles' first hit of the day, to put the Angels up 4-2. James would get the final out of the third, but that would conclude his day, making it two straight starts he would be unable to reach the fourth inning. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4K, 1 HR.

Valdez impresses as Bregman makes it a one-run game in the seventh

Framber Valdez was first out of Houston' bullpen, likely to try and eat up several innings. He would accomplish that mission, getting through the next three innings scoreless, holding the 4-2 score. It remained locked on that score despite Houston getting runners on base in each of those innings, as they would struggle to turn players on base into runs yet again in this series.

Alex Bregman gave the Astros a spark in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with a solo home run to straightaway center to make it a one-run game. Valdez returned for yet another inning, another scoreless frame to keep it 4-3 going to the eighth.

Reddick ties it in the ninth, Astros win in extras

Houston would threaten to tie in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hitting Carlos Correa to third base after a single to leadoff the inning, but would be unable to score him, leaving it at 4-3. Valdez would record another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Astros one more chance to tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth.

Michael Brantley led off the inning with a double and was pinch-run by Myles Straw, who would score the tying run on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, but the Angels would hold the Astros there. Valdez remained in the game trying to push extra innings and would do so, erasing a leadoff walk.

Kyle Tucker started the top of the tenth on second base and moved to third on a sac fly by Carlos Correa to start the inning before scoring on another sac fly, this time from pinch-hitting Garrett Stubbs to give Houston a 5-4 lead. Valdez, well above his comfortable pitch count, was still on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and allowed his first run, though unearned, on a leadoff RBI-single to tie the game again at 5-5. He would get one more out before Houston moved to another reliever, bringing in Andre Scrubb.

After an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, Scrubb would walk the bases loaded before getting a popout, then Houston would turn to Blake Taylor. Taylor would come through, getting a big strikeout to send the game to the eleventh. Springer started on second in the top of the inning and would score and put the Astros back in front on a one-out RBI-single by Alex Bregman. In the bottom half, Taylor would get through the inning, giving Houston the win and series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow before picking up a three-game set with the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Tuesday. The opening game of that series will be at 8:10 PM Central. While Arizona is expected to start Madison Bumgarner, the Astros will have to pivot as they had Framber Valdez slated for that start, who made a lengthy appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday.

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