RANKING THE STATE

Texas Division I Football Rankings:

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. 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

​Another 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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Game One Is Pivotal For Both Teams

ALWC Game 1 Preview: Astros vs. Twins

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It might not have been pretty, and may not have met pre-season expectations, especially with all the injuries and headwinds along the way. Yet, the Astros' regular-season was enough to get them into the playoffs, and as we are likely to find out with this aptly-named Wild Card Round, all it takes is a ticket to the dance.

A losing record at the end of the first 60 is now a thing of the past. Everyone starts 0-0, needing to take two of three against their opponent to move forward into the Divisional Series. Here's a quick breakdown and some facts about Houston's first game against the Minnesota Twins:

Game Facts

When: Tuesday, 1:00 PM Central

Where: Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ABC

Streaming: ESPN App

Pitching Matchup: Zack Greinke vs. Kenta Maeda

Series: Tied 0-0.

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central) Location Pitching Matchup
Game 1 Tue 9/29, 1:00 PM Target Field, Minneapolis Greinke vs. Maeda
Game 2 Wed 9/30, 12:00 PM Target Field, Minneapolis TBD vs. Berrios+
Game 3* Thu 10/1, TBD Target Field, Minneapolis TBD vs. Pineda+

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Did Houston pack their postseason bats?

Over the last three years, the Astros have started the playoffs with wins in their first game, and it may be in part due to one key component: scoring first via home runs. In 2017, it was an Alex Bregman solo homer off of Chris Sale in the first inning to start the scoring against the Red Sox. In 2018, it was Bregman again, this time a solo shot in the fourth off of Corey Kluber of the Indians. In 2019, it was Jose Altuve with a two-run bomb against Tyler Glasnow as they'd go on to take game one against the Rays.

Can they make it four straight years? If so, they'll have to do it against another formidable pitcher in Kenta Maeda, who allowed just nine home runs in his eleven regular-season starts, only two of which were at Target Field. Also, those three games mentioned earlier were at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros had the support of their home crowd, along with the comfort of their own stadium. This year, they'll start on the road, and in the now-normal audience of cardboard cutouts. Having said that, if they can get their signature score-starting home run in the top of the first by one of their key bats, that could very well set the momentum in their favor to upset the Twins.

Which Greinke will we see?

On September 3rd, Zack Greinke went six innings while allowing three runs to the Rangers, still coming away with a win to improve him to 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA. That was his eighth start of the season, two of which he went six or more innings without allowing a single run, including an eight-inning gem at home against the Rockies.

In his final four starts after that, Greinke went 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA over that span, allowing four, five, three, and three earned runs, respectively, and unable to go more than six innings in any of them. That finished his year at 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA, not exactly riding a high into the postseason. So, can he hit the reset button and deal as he did in the early parts of the season? Or, will the Twins, who own the sixth-most homers as a team in 2020, find a wrinkle against him early that they can exploit? The answer to that, along with what run support his offense provides him, will be one of the game's deciding factors.

I don't need to tell anyone the obvious here; in a best-of-three series, taking the first game will be pivotal for both sides. Winning the first game and only needing one more is a tremendously more advantageous position to be in, instead of needing to win two straight to advance. It sets up for an entertaining series and set of matchups across the league. Get your popcorn ready.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome