HARRIS COUNTY - HSA INSIDER

A weekly look at all things Houston sports from the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority: Stars will be out at awards

Jose Altuve is up for athlete of the year. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider will take you inside Houston Sports each Friday because #WeAreHoustonSports!

It’s a #HoustonStrong red carpet that we’re pretty sure will outshine the ESPYs. And maybe even the Oscars.

You already know the Legendary 34s will be on hand – Nolan Ryan, Earl Campbell and Hakeem Olajuwon – along with Academy Sports + Outdoors Sportsmanship Award winner J.J. Watt, Executive of the Year Jeff Luhnow and Lifetime Achievement winner Leslie Alexander.

But have you seen the finalists for some of the other awards?

We’re talking a ballot filled with your favorite H-listers and some of the nation’s best athletes, all of whom will be on hand for the inaugural Houston Sports Awards February 8 at the Hilton Americas.

Take the finalists for Papa John’s Athlete of the Year. American League MVP and batting champion and one of Sports Illustrated’s cover boys Jose Altuve may top the list, but he’s got some impressive competition in Houston Astros teammate and World Series MVP George Springer. Add two of the best in their respective games in Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Houston Texans wide receiver Deandre Hopkins and, well, it has the making of a close race.

POWERADE’s Coach of the Year finalists are a diverse group which includes Astros manager A.J. Hinch, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, Houston Dynamo rookie coach Wilmer Cabrera and two high school coaches -- Cy Falls’ Richard Flores, who coached his team to the state basketball title, and Cy Fair’s Ed Pustejovsky, who coached the Bobcats to a perfect 15-0 season and the state title.

Houston sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver, the 2017 Outland Trophy winner and Westfield grad, will be challenged for College Player of the year by OU sophomore softball player Nicole Mendes, who was homeschooled in Houston, and ACC Player of the year  Justin Jackson, who led North Carolina to the 2017 NCAA title.

The Event of the Year ballot is stacked. Starting with Super Bowl LI, which featured an overtime comeback win by the New England Patriots and continuing through the fall with the Astros’ incredible run to the team’s first World Series win and a ticker-tape parade downtown to celebrate that drew more than a million fans.

And there’s moment of the year finalist list, which has a little bit of something for everyone. Jeff Bagwell’s weekend in Cooperstown where he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame. Pearland Dawson’s kicker and homecoming queen Claire Jeffress, who kicked five PATs in the homecoming game, then nailed a winning field with 1:08 to play the following week. And for World Series fans, you can choose from Game 5’s wild twists and turns and George Springer’s exclamation point of a walk-off single, or Game 7, which clinched the title and led to a long-into-the-night celebration filled with selfies, a marriage proposal and a champagne soaked locker room.

And that’s a start. We still have more finalists to reveal. Both the CBS Sports Radio Fan of the Year and the Texas Sports Nation High School Player of the Year finalists will be revealed early next week.

To see the finalists and details on their seasons, go to www.houstonsportsawards.com

The ballot will be voted on by a select group of sportswriters and sportscasters who have collective decades of experience covering Houston Sports.

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Texans fall to 1-6. Photo by Getty Images

Don't you worry, son. It will all be over soon.

- Teddy KGB, Rounders

The Texans horrible season continued on Sunday when they were soundly beaten by the Green Bay Packers. The Texans got some garbage points to make the score look better late, but they were never in this. They could not run the football, and even though he had a receiving score, maybe it's time the David Johnson experiment ended. Aaron Rodgers ate their souls with four touchdown passes and the Texans fell to 1-6. Five thoughts on the game:

1) First impressions? Not so much. For the seventh time this season, the Texans failed to score on their opening drive. They had ONE touchdown last season on their opening drive, week 17 against the Titans. While Bill O'Brien still gets a lot of that blame, Tim Kelly is now 0 for 3 as an OC. Whoever takes over next season has to fix this. Especially against good teams, the Texans simply can't afford to get down early. They were down 21-0 at the half and never had a real chance.

2) There is good news! Hopefully this lets the team know that there is no chance of anything this season. With the trade deadline looming, any veteran not named Watson or Tunsil should be available for draft picks. It remains unlikely they will do anything, but they have some pieces that might bring a return. Hopefully they no longer think the season can be salvaged.

3) They really aren't close against good teams. The little things continue to be a problem. Key penalties to hurt drives; untimely failures on third down. The offense has to do a better job staying on the field, because the defense just is not good enough to stop solid offenses. Things got worse when their best corner, Bradley Roby went out with injury. Overall, the Packers were better on both sides of the ball, and they made the Texans look bad throughout. The Texans needed some breaks to go their way in order to be competitive, like what happened last week against Tennessee. That didn't happen, and they were never in the game.

4) They won special teams! They blocked a punt in the fourth quarter that helped make the final score a little closer. They also blocked a kick last week. Other than their overpaid kicker (who missed a field goal), the special teams have been solid. Their punter might be the best player at his job on the entire team. So there's that. A positive, right?

5) The future? Meh. The Texans get the Jaguars, Browns and Patriots next, so they should have a chance at some wins, but they could also lose to all three of those teams. And with no high draft pick reward at the end of the year, there is little left to play or root for in this season.

With nine games left, you would like to think there was something left to care about. But if it isn't over yet, it's as Teddy said: It will all be over soon.

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