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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.