RANKING THE STATE

Texas Division I Football Rankings:

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

​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.

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What does the future hold for Justin Verlander and Kyle Tucker? Composite Getty Image.

It doesn’t quite equate to scaling Mount Everest, but from their shockingly inept 7-19 start to this season and being twelve games under .500 most recently at 12-24, the Astros reaching the break-even mark one game short of the exact midpoint of the regular season schedule is a fine accomplishment. Since 12-24 they have gone 28-16. Of course, that becomes a hollow accomplishment if it's not built upon in the direction the Astros expected to be from the jump.

Less than a week and a half ago, the Seattle Mariners held a 10 game lead over the Astros in the American League West. The gap is now four and a half games. On July 4, 1979 the Astros beat the Cincinnati Reds to build their National League West lead to ten and a half games. The Astros were on pace to win 101 games, the Reds were at .500. Unimpressed Reds’ pitcher Tom Seaver predicted the Astros would “fall like a lead balloon.” He was right. The rest of the way the Astros went 37-42 and the Reds roared from behind to snatch the division by a game and a half. The Astros would have to wait until the following year to make their first ever postseason appearance. Now here they are very reasonably positioned to make a run at an eighth consecutive postseason appearance.

The same night the Astros went to sleep ten games back of the Mariners, they sat seven and a half games out of the third AL Wild Card spot. That gap is now three games. Given how far the Astros are behind the Yankees, Orioles, and Guardians, it's unlikely that the Astros wind up with one of the two best records in the AL and secure a bye past the best-of-three Wild Card round. As such, whether it's winning the West or nabbing any of the three Wild Cards, the point is to make the tournament and take their shot. Remember, last season both the World Series winning Texas Rangers and runners-up Arizona Diamondbacks were Wild Cards. The Diamondbacks squeaked into the postseason with an 84-78 record.

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This weekend, the Astros are in New York for three games against the Mets. Like the Astros the Mets have overcome a lousy start to sit smack-dab at .500 (39-39). Since their bottom of 24-35 the Mets are 15-4. While the Astros have the good fortune of the AL West being the worst division in the Majors, this season and being just four and a half games off the lead, the Mets National League East location means it's pretty much Wild Card or nothing with them 13 games behind the high-flying Phillies.

There will be no Justin Verlander pitching for either team. It's moving toward done deal status that neither the Astros nor Mets will be on the hook for the 17 and a half million dollars each would owe him if Verlander's 2025 35 million dollar option became guaranteed by him reaching 140 innings pitched this season. At just 57 innings banked as the first half wraps up, he's 83 innings short. Verlander's sore neck seems likely to keep him in moth balls until at least the All-Star break. With perfect health from day one after the break, the absolute maximum number of starts Verlander could get is 14.

Other collateral damage with Verlander's repeated physical breakdowns in his 40s: his chance at getting to 300 career wins is fading. Only 24 pitchers in Major League history have reached 300. There will likely never be a 25th member of the club. With just three victories in 2024 Verlander is presently stalled at 260. Squeezing out 40 more seems a Herculean task. The next pitcher on the winningest active list is Max Scherzer with 215, he's followed by Clayton Kershaw with 210. It then drops off a cliff to Gerrit Cole with only 145. Zero chance at 300 for any of them. “J.V.” finished his 20s with 124 wins. Larry Dierker booked all but two of his 139 career wins before turning 30. Roy Oswalt put up 111 wins pre-30. The current win leader yet to turn 30 is German Marquez with a mere 65 victories.

Astros winning despite Kyle Tucker's absence

Before fouling the ball off his shin June 3 that (eventually) put him on the injured list, Kyle Tucker was the Astros' best everyday player this season. In fact, no one else was even close. In the 19 (and counting) games Tucker has missed, the Astros are 13-6. While “Tuck” need not familiarize himself with Wally Pipp, this is the latest example that one player, no matter how great, can only lift a baseball team so far. It probably isn't making Jim Crane think that eight years 240 million or the like is the way to go in a contract extension for Tucker. Crane's dream Astros' outfield in 2026 could have Jacob Melton in center flanked by Luis Baez on one side and Joey Loperfido on the other, with Yordan Alvarez in left of course when not DHing. Melton and Baez may be the Astros' top two minor league prospects. They'll be 25 and 22 years old opening day 2026. Add Loperfido with them and the Astros could pay their whole outfield under two and a half million dollars for the season.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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