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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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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