RANKING THE STATE

Texas Div. I Football Rankings: Houston's up, down season continues

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

12. RICE

Remember how I was saying last week that if they won against UTSA they could essentially save this season? Well, we're on to Plan B which is I suppose is keep losing. I'm honestly not filled with much hope for this program as it's going currently. Six years removed from a division title and five years removed from their last bowl appearance, under Mike Bloomgren they are 2-18 and those two wins were not this season. Where's the light for this team? Where's the hope? Does Coach Bloomgren wear a ski mask when he gets his paychecks? Because he is robbing this program. They are in a bad conference and still somehow watching everyone else pull away. Anyway, Southern Mississippi comes to town and the beatings will continue until morale improves.

11. UTEP

Turns out the Miners were underdogs because they were going to lose. I mean, I think we all knew that but still, it bears stating, they lost. Their season isn't going much better than Rice's but they did beat the 2A Houston Baptist Huskies, giving them something Rice doesn't have, a win. They are both winless in conference play and at the bottom of the standings but hey, someone has to be and they seem happy to be there. Louisiana Tech is coming to town and all projections are that the losing will continue. The Dana Dimel rebuild is in year 2 and at some point there will be questions if even the program whisperer can save UTEP.

10. UTSA

UTSA took care of business against Rice and now get to sit back and watch most of the teams above them in the Conference play. If they're lucky they'll gain some ground on everyone while being off, if not well they get to play A&M next weekend, so good luck with that.

9. NORTH TEXAS

It's a good thing the team with the most words in their name wasn't spotted a touchdown or the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders would have won over the North Texas Mean Green. But in all seriousness North Texas won a close one and are rewarded with traveling to visit the Charlotte 49ers. While the 49ers do have a few wins to their credit, they are winless in conference and I don't think North Texas wants to be the first team to lose to them.

8. TEXAS STATE

Fresh off a loss to Monroe and a bye week to think about it, Texas State is now on the road to Arkansas State. They aren't favored and the predictions aren't pointing to a win but hey, you never know. This is a program that is still right in contention in the Sun Belt being only one win behind the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. If they can rally the troops and get a win this weekend, they stay right in the hunt for a shot at a conference title game and considering how rough the start of the season was, this is great news.

7. TEXAS TECH

I wonder if at the end of this season, Red Raider fans will look back at that Baylor game as their turning point. If the calls had gone their way they win (probably) and then everything is different. As it is, they lost to Iowa State and now are on the road at Kansas who just went toe to toe with The Longhorns and lost on a last second field goal. Now granted the Jayhawks have been up and down all year so it's tough to say which version comes to play this week but if it's the good version, does Texas Tech have enough to pull it out?

6. HOUSTON

Houston won but close. The Cougars now host SMU in a game that isn't likely to go as well for them as last week did. I've made it clear how I feel about this team, the internal turmoil and strife is a product of a Head Coach that is making unprecedented moves that have garnered criticism nation-wide. All that being said, they did win and you can't fault teams for winning. I think there's plenty wrong with this team including Head Coach Dana Holgorsen's son playing quarterback this week after asking a potential Heisman winner to sit after going 1-3 to start the year and also the Coach was caught on camera being completely inappropriate in how he talked about one of his student athletes. Let's see how even more adversity shapes the rest of the season for this program mired in controversy.

5. TCU

That loss to Kansas State may be the thunder before the storm. There is a very real chance this team doesn't win again the rest of the year and that isn't me being mean and I'm not sure they should even be mad about losing the next five with the Texas Tech game being the only one I think they have a good chance at winning. They play #15 Texas this week and then it's a murderer's row of a schedule with Oklahoma State, #14 Baylor, the aforementioned Texas Tech and #5 Oklahoma before finally hosting West Virginia to end this season. Times are tough in Fort Worth.

4. TEXAS A&M

A win has to feel good after the brutal season the Aggies have been having. They are favored in this contest as Mississippi State comes to town and now there's some real hope building in Kyle Field. The next three games actually look winnable with UTSA and South Carolina after Mississippi State before the season finishes off with Georgia and then the juggernaut that is LSU. Finishing 7-5, and getting a bowl opportunity, while technically one game worse than Fisher's first year with the program is still a great finish to such a hard schedule for this season.

3. SMU

They beat Temple, which they should have. They are looking good, ranked #16 in the country and playing really good football. They now make the short flight down from Dallas to Houston and visit the confusing Cougars. With projections pointing to a likely win, this is one of those "Don't screw it up" games that SMU has to learn to look out for. Playing as the favorite is very different than playing as the other team and that's a difference SMU may have trouble adjusting to.

2. BAYLOR

They pulled out a win but going into halftime this was a close game and Oklahoma State's defense looked like they had the Bear's number. But when the teams came back out onto the field for the second half it's like Baylor had switched jerseys with another team and suddenly they went from down 3 to up 4 by the end of the third quarter and they pulled away in the fourth. Maybe they just had some bad football in their system they needed to play through and they finally are over it, but they looked totally different in the second half of that game. Anyway, they get the week off to celebrate their success before hosting West Virginia on Halloween night.

1. TEXAS

Last week I said if Texas beats Kansas they get to feel better about themselves… That was based on the assumption they wouldn't need a last second field goal to beat them. I also said last week I thought it was clear they were the best team in Texas… That was also based on the assumption they take care of business. Now look, a win is a win and I do think they will finish the year ahead of A&M, SMU and Baylor but I'm less confident about that this week than I was last week, and they were coming off a loss last week. This week they go to Fort Worth and I ASSUME win going away.

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The Marlins are showing interest in Yuli Gurriel. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

As the reporting date for pitchers and catchers draws near, there are still some decisions hanging over the Astros. One of them is whether or not to bring back Yuli Gurriel. “La Piña,” as he's affectionately called, is 38 years old. He turns 39 in June. His leadership and instincts cannot be matched. The man has seen a ton of baseball and comes from a family of baseballers. So, what's the holdup?

Enter the Miami Marlins. The ownership group, led by Bruce Sherman, is undoubtedly trying to capitalize on the heavy Cuban population in the Miami area. Bringing in the Cuban Babe Ruth is a great way to attempt to get more fan engagement. The franchise has only been to the playoffs three times. First two times (1997 and 2003), they won it all. In 2020, they were swept in the NLDS. They're most likely offering him a ridiculous amount of money to come to a team with a losing history. Knowing the Marlins are willing to hand out stupid money, would you blame La Piña for taking one last ridiculous payday?

Think about it. He's got two rings and made a ton of money. He can safely retire very comfortably. The lure to come back for another year or two would definitely be about money. The Marlins aren't a real threat in the next couple of seasons to do anything, but are willing to pay me like I'm still a star? Plus, I'm closer to my home country with all my family and friends? Sign me up!

This is where the Astros have to make a decision. Bring Yuli back for another year or move on. If he follows through with his last four years, this should be a bounce back year. Since 2016, his first year in Houston and MLB, he's hit .262, .299, .291, .298, .232 (pandemic shortened season), .319, and .242 last season. The man is a professional hitter. He knows how to work an at-bat and can drive pitchers nuts. His defense isn't bad either. He's a more than capable first baseman.

This won't win me any favor, but I think it's time to move on. Yuli will always have a place in my heart because he was a major factor in the Astros' two World Series wins. Last season's title run was even more satisfying since it helped silence the haters. That was the mouthwash that got rid of the stench of the sign stealing scandal. Piña was there through it all.

Now, it's time to start transitioning towards the future. Piña, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers Jr were the only holdovers from the 2017 team. Verlander was one of the guys the Mets backed the Brinks truck up for this offseason. Altuve (32), Bregman (28), and McCullers (29) should be all that's left of that group. While it would've been great to have Verlander (39) back, the emergence of the youth movement in the pitching staff made his loss somewhat expendable. At some point, the nostalgia wears off. Father Time and Mother Nature are both undefeated. If they were to bring Piña back, he should be a part timer transitioning into a hitting coach. Careers come to an end. It's time to start looking at his exit.

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