RANKING THE STATE

Texas Division I Football Rankings:

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12. UTEP

This wasn't their year and it ends even worse for these guys, losing to Rice. The Miners won one game over three months ago against Divison II Houston Baptist, and it's been a long season since then, but blissfully it's over.

11. RICE

Unbelievably we're here at the end of the season and Rice is sitting better here than they were at the end of the year last year. Improvement and growth is always the name of the game when you're bringing a program back from the dead and they did it here. Congrats Rice.

10. NORTH TEXAS

‚ÄčAnother week, another disappointing loss. While the odds were tilted slightly in favor of UNT, I didn't believe for a second this team would finish strong after losing to Rice last week. Honestly this is a program trending badly and trending in a bad direction, it would surprise me if there aren't talks of maybe changing play calling duties or coordinator responsibilities because what was working in the beginning is no longer working at all for these guys.

9. TEXAS STATE

This was a tough loss for a program that was trying to get right. Coming off the Appalachian State game where they weren't supposed to win at all, it's hard to believe this is a program that only a few weeks ago had managed to win big, but they had. Since then they've struggled to get leads and pull away from teams and this week was no different. A bad season is just good enough for fourth place in the Sun Belt West.

8. UTSA

That was a meaty loss to a better program. It's tough to be too critical of a program or say too many mean things when ultimately they weren't supposed to win this game or too many of the other ones they've been playing lately and perhaps it's time to re-evaluate where we consider The Roadrunners? Maybe next year, we'll start them much lower and just see how high they can rise.

7. TEXAS TECH

Well they certainly didn't come close to "getting" the Longhorns. A season that will be remembered for its close calls and almost wins ended on a heck of a thud with an old fashioned beating at the hands of Texas. Mercifully the season is over and The Red Raiders can stop looking back and thinking about what almost was.

6. HOUSTON

To score 41 in a loss has to be heartbreaking but to lose by 15 has to hurt a little more. Houston is now mercifully done, we'll see what happens with the redshirted quarterback now, we'll see what happens with this program coming into the off season. Will things start to trend a little better or is this rough season a sign of things to come under the new regime?

5. TCU

This is a confusing season for these guys, there's no way going 5-7 is a good feeling but considering how angry the back half of their schedule looked at one point, I think it's a good year. The loss to West Virginia isn't great but honestly there are some other games they should be more disappointed about. I think the Oklahoma game is a big one where there is some obvious disappointment. Yes they finished below .500 but they played good football at times and just managed to play bad football at the worst possible times.

4.  TEXAS

Well, well, well. Look who is feeling themselves again. The Longhorns haven't looked that good since they played Rice early on in the season. The desperately needed the win to clinch a winning season and now there are some people clamoring for a Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl between Texas and A&M which would be exciting but it's tough to gauge how Texas fans would handle losing this game considering how heartbreaking this season has been so far.

3. TEXAS A&M

Man that was a bad game against LSU. The Aggies have been defended all season long for the fact that their schedule is so tough, but in a lot of these games they've come up short. It's one thing to schedule the game but another to just go out there and play bad football. I still think their season is one worth celebrating but this kind of poor performance is not the thing to go out on.

2. SMU

This is the way you finish a season. The SMU Mustangs deserve all the accolades and kind words that can be said about them. They deserve all the great things and praise that are hopefully coming their way this off season. It's been a long road from the Death Penalty to here and it's worth celebrating. Congrats guys!

1. BAYLOR

Currently ranked ninth in the country and looking up at a top four that will likely only feature one SEC program this was the best chance for a program like Baylor to get into the dance. That one loss to Oklahoma isn't going to go away, record setting comeback in a situation where the win was needed. Now because of that one loss, the committees and voters don't have to put Baylor anywhere near the top 4.

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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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