RANKING THE STATE

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

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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

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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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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