RANKING THE STATE

Texas Div I Football Rankings: Texas falls as we have a new No.1

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

They lost again, they keep losing, they keep losing by serious margins. At some point there have to be questions about how are the coaches preparing the players? How are the players feeling about this program? Are players going to want to come here? Is Rice now just a place poor but smart student-athletes go if they want a free but good education and can handle a little body trauma while they do it? The Thundering Herd come to town and probably leave town with an easy victory.

11. UTEP

More losing, and losing and losing. I know the expectations coming into the year were low but they couldn't have been this low. No one could have been looking at a schedule like this one and saying "wow, will we even win three games?" This is not a good campaign from this program. This week they travel to North Texas and I suppose are most excited about the travel back so they can get this season over with.

10. UTSA

I really labored with moving UTSA up on their off week because of how bad North Texas played, but honestly these guys are going to Kyle Field and will likely be right back in this spot next week. Now a win or even a close loss could do wonders for this program but it's likely going to be very much the other way with this and they lose big to the Aggies.

9. NORTH TEXAS

The 49ers beat them. North Texas was the first in conference win for Charlotte which I specifically said the Mean Green should avoid being (are they not reading this column?!). They do get to welcome UTEP to town so if ever there was a chance to bounce back from embarrassment, this is it. However, things could quickly get out of hand with another loss to what is considered an inferior opponent.

8. TEXAS STATE

After another loss, this time to Arkansas State, Texas State now gets to take on the role of spoiler for the rest of the season. They travel to Louisiana and face the Ragin' Cajuns who are still in first place in the West Division of the Sunbelt Conference. While in conference these teams are only one win apart in reality the Cajuns are 5-2 and looked good against Arkansas State two weeks ago and have a long time to sit and watch Texas State play a common opponent; not good news for the Bobcats.

7. TEXAS TECH

It turns out it was the good version of the Jayhawks last week and the Red Raiders didn't have enough to pull it out. Every loss makes the Baylor game matter less and less because it starts to become "well if you couldn't beat Iowa State and Kansas then it doesn't matter if you upset Baylor." This starts to become a doomed season no matter what which is a hard pill to swallow for a team that felt pretty good I bet earlier this year. This week they get to lick their wounds and make a list of reasons the season isn't over and try and finish strong.

6. HOUSTON

They lost but stayed competitive against SMU and it's more of a testament of what could have been than what is happening. Think about it, if they still had their star players, would they have lost the close games they dropped? Where could this season have taken them? But then again they were 1-3 when they did it, so maybe the season was lost for other reasons. They travel to Central Florida where I think the losses continue to add up for this program.

5. TEXAS A&M

So I broke a rule of mine this week and moved A&M down after winning because of who they beat, Mississippi State in comparison to who TCU beat, Texas. I think A&M is finally feeling good and playing great and will likely win again this week as UTSA comes to town. When they do, I'll come back to this, it's a lot more about what else happened this week than it is about how these guys performed. This will be revisited and I want to give full honesty about this, I feel bad, if it makes Aggies feel better of all these schools in Texas the ESPN Football Power Index has A&M the highest over TCU, Texas, SMU and Baylor tied with Washington at 15th in the country.

4. TCU

I was wrong about the Horned Frogs and I apologize. I said they might not win the rest of the year and then they pull away from Texas with 2 minutes left in the game and win by 10. It's a great win and they should feel awesome about it and it puts TCU back in the driver's seat for their season because just as much as I said they face a hard schedule, it means if they keep winning they can really make a year out of it. They travel to Oklahoma State where another win would be another awesome accomplishment.

3. TEXAS

Well last week was my last week making assumptions about this Texas team. It's time to face facts and admit they lost when they shouldn't have including this loss to TCU, bump them down and just move on. They have a month of football left starting next weekend and we'll see what they can make of what's left of their season. This is a big drop but look, SMU and Baylor have been winning and at some point they need to be rewarded for their record and Texas needs to take the hit for their losses.

2. SMU

They tried to screw it up but they managed to save the game and therefore their season and beat Houston. They enjoy the bump up to number 2 this week as much for Texas' failures as for their own successes. It honestly wasn't a great win over Houston and now they travel to Memphis where the oddsmakers are picking Memphis but it's close. That's odd to me because they have Temple in common and while SMU beat Temple soundly, Memphis actually lost close to Temple, making me think this is an SMU win but close.

1. BAYLOR

Baylor hosts West Virginia tonight and are hoping that all the Halloween scares happen off the field. This team is undefeated and playing good football but aren't getting a ton of love in the rankings being outside the Top Ten even though they are undefeated in a power five conference and behind six teams with at least one loss. Baylor does get the love here though, with all that winning putting them in the number spot in this week's rankings.

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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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