RANKING THE STATE

Texas Division I Football Rankings: North Texas falls as Oklahoma comes to Baylor

TCU football coach Gary Patterson
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

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12. RICE

Rice University was off this weekend and that's about where the good news train ends. This week they go to Middle Tennessee and play the Blue Raiders, who are heavy favorites to continue Rice's losing streak. It's tough to keep kicking this program while it's down and obviously it is very down but there seems to be no opportunity for the beatings to cease. The other issue for Rice Football, it's a newer regime and it isn't going well, if they decide to pull the plug then they'll be consistently making changes and keep losing and starting over; patience is hard through the losing but there seems to be no other way.

11. UTEP

The losing continues for the Miners and somehow they have fallen behind Rice in the Conference USA - West division to the very bottom of the standings. Rice and UTEP play at the end of the year and therefore there will be a winner decided in the conference between these two bottom feeders but it's tough to say who matters less at this point.

10. NORTH TEXAS

Man was it a bad weekend for The Mean Green or what? Losing huge to Louisiana Tech is not the way to go after winning big the week before against UTEP. The massive loss kills any momentum they built the week before and they go from a team trending up and strongly to being inconsistent and questioned from all sides. The team is off this week which probably isn't as great of a thing as they thought it was a week ago, but there it is, a bye week.

9. UTSA

On top of winning against Old Dominion, The Roadrunners also moved up a spot because North Texas lost. With three wins over the last five weeks, they're playing some of the best football in this half of the list but that isn't saying much. This week the Roadrunners are facing University of Southern Mississippi who is near the top of the Conference USA West division and this game gives them the chance to gain some serious ground in the standings. This season isn't over and there's still some good football to play.

8. TEXAS STATE

In the battle of big cats that I get confused about The Texas State Bobcats beat the South Alabama Jaguars and are now hosting Troy. With only three wins so far this season, they need some help but they aren't done yet as their Sun Belt Division hasn't run away from them. The Troy game has some implications for a program that can't figure out if its coming or going.

7. TEXAS TECH

Able to finally put the brakes on a three game losing streak, The Red Raiders beat West Virginia. It was an important game and they needed the win far beyond the standard "every game is important" as this win sets up Texas Tech, who last week I wrote needed four in a row and got win one last weekend. If they keep winning they finish bowl eligible. It's an exciting opportunity for The Red Raiders to save a season that two weeks ago looked pretty bad.

6.  HOUSTON

Houston was off this week and I had an interesting conversation with a buddy of mine who is a wealth of college football information. He's confident in the new regime at Houston and believes that in a few short seasons the Cougars will be a relevant program nationally. I told him how much I hated all of their moves and decisions and he wisely pointed out, that it's a new coach and most of this doesn't matter, this isn't really his program yet and there is nothing but time. I was impressed by his arguments and I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if my buddy is right or not as Memphis comes to town.

5. TCU

Well for a second they had even me believing they could pull it off. After the surprise upset against Texas a few weeks back and now facing Baylor and forcing Baylor to need a last second field goal to force overtime and then pushing it a few overtimes but staying in it none the less, TCU had me believing. If only they could have turned any of those first half field goals into touchdowns then this may be a different story for the Horned Frogs but for now the story stays the same. There aren't many wins left on TCU's schedule but the role of under dog seems to suit them just fine. This week they travel to Texas Tech in what should be a fun game.

4. TEXAS A&M

The Aggies enjoyed some much needed downtime but now they host The Gamecocks and they need all the wins they can get as the in what has been a rough second season foJimbo Fisher. WIn and win and win some more is the only real option for The Aggies who still have Georgia and LSU on their schedule, so they need this win.

3. TEXAS

Honestly, they won and they should have but it almost doesn't matter because you just never know with this team. With the Longhorns traveling to Iowa State and Baylor still ahead on the schedule, The Longhorns can still finish strong and save some face for this season but at this point it's hard not to look at this season as anything other than disappointing for The Longhorns.

2. SMU

After a close loss the week before, The Mustangs did exactly what you expect a good team to do coming from a loss, they won 59-51 against East Carolina. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't what you're looking for if you're trying to make a case nationally that you are worthy of ranking and attention but they won the game they had scheduled and that's the first step towards success. SMU is off this week and will get to sit back and look at their season thus far with great pride and hope they can finish as strong as they started.

1. BAYLOR

Well that wasn't supposed to be that hard. A few weeks ago I was writing TCU off with several big games left on their schedule and not having won any games of merit. Then they turn around and upset Texas and suddenly you start thinking they're on to something but Baylor comes along and you have to expect that TCU is going to give it their best shot and remarkably Baylor survived. They didn't look great, which is starting to become a theme for this program as they looked awful in the first half against Oklahoma State and have struggled to put together four quarters of good football, but they are unbeaten and they are ranked and they have a shot to keep winning and shocking the world as this week they face Oklahoma. There isn't a lot of meat on Baylor's schedule so this game and Texas will go a long way to deciding how the voters and ranking algorithms feel about this program.

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Rockets defeat Magic, 118-106. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 37 points and the Houston Rockets snapped a five-game skid with a 118-106 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.

The Magic fell into a tie for fourth place with Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. They came into the night with a chance to clinch the Southeast Division title with a win and a loss by the Miami Heat, but they couldn’t get it done against Houston and the Heat beat the Hawks 117-111 in double overtime.

“We can't hang our heads,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “We've got to come out and go after Milwaukee tomorrow. That's what it's got to be. Take the lessons from this one. Bounce back tomorrow.”

A basket by Markelle Fultz got the Magic within eight with about four minutes to go but VanVleet made a jump shot followed by a three-point play to make it 114-101 about a minute later to secure the victory.

Paolo Banchero and Jalen Suggs scored 21 points apiece for the Magic and Fultz added 18.

VanVleet made six 3-pointers and had eight rebounds and six assists. Jabari Smith Jr. added 23 points and Dillon Brooks had 15 as the Rockets played their last home game of the season.

“We wanted to continue to build and we know we're out of the race but we have four to go,” coach Ime Udoka said. “We don't want to just lay down and chalk it up... we fought hard and played well.”

The Magic scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, with the last five from Joe Ingles, to cut the lead to 97-91 with about nine minutes to go.

Houston got its first points of the quarter on a 3-pointer by VanVleet, but Fultz made a layup seconds later.

The Rockets hadn't forgotten about the 116-86 loss they suffered to Orlando in their season opener.

“They kicked our butts the first game of the season,” VanVleet said. “We definitely remember that. So it was good to get some get back there.”

The Rockets led by 12 at halftime and opened the second half with an 11-4 run to make it 74-55 with nine minutes left in the third. Jalen Green had the first five points in that stretch and VanVleet added a 3-pointer.

Houston was up by 18 after another 3 from VanVleet later in the third quarter before the Magic went on a 10-4 run, with five points from Suggs, to get withing 90-78 with 3 ½ minutes left in the quarter.

Soon after that Ingles and Houston’s Cam Whitmore were both given technical fouls after bumping into one another and jawing at each other. Whitmore was ejected 14 seconds after that for arguing with an official after being called for a loose ball foul.

Ingles made two free throws but the Rockets outscored Orlando 5-2 to close out the quarter and take a 97-82 lead into the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT

Magic: Visit Milwaukee Wednesday night.

Rockets: Visit Utah Thursday night.

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