Texas College Football Rankings Part 2

Kenny Hill leads his team onto the field against Oklahoma Via: TCU Athletics

So, I said every three weeks and clearly that did not happen. Life comes at you fast, but here is my new grantee: I will update these ratings one more time post-bowl season for a final ranking.

For this ranking, I have decided to only give you the top 5 teams. No offense to any program not listed here, but outside of the top five there is not much excitement. (Technically there are six teams here sharing five spots.)

No. 1, TCU

Without a doubt, the Horned Frogs are the best in Texas. Yes, they just were slapped around by Oklahoma, but that does not discredit their body of work this season. They play solid defense and have a strong offense. Gary Patterson continues to be worth every dime TCU pays him, and while the Frogs are out of the playoff picture the Big 12 title is still very much in sight.

E Washington Texas Tech Football
Justin Stockton rushes against Eastern Washingtoon Via: The Spokesman-Review

 

No. 2, Texas Tech/Texas A&M

These two teams have both been a major disappointment to their respective fanbases. For Tech, an improved defense led to hopes of a prosperous season. But kicking woes and an oddly anemic offense at times has sunken those hopes.

We can pretty much say goodbye to Kevin Sumlin, barring a miracle, so that should tell you where the Aggies are at this season. These teams could very well end with the same exact record on the season, so I feel they should share the two spot.

No. 3, Texas

Tom Herman energized the Texas fanbase, but was quickly derailed by Marlyand. Since then, the season has not been much better. The Longhorn offense has been hit by injuries, and has been inept most of the season.

That defense is scary talented, but has not been good enough to carry this team to victory often. Bowl eligibility hangs in the balance with two games left, a rough start for Herman’s tenure.

No. 4, Houston

The Cougars have fallen off following Herman’s departure, but are not a bad team. Ed Oliver is still the best defensive lineman in the country, and the offense can still produce. Mystifying collapses against Memphis and Tulsa have been a major damper on the season, but a win over Number Five SMU gives them the nod to Number Four.

No. 5, SMU

The Mustangs are finally going bowling! The downside to this is you can basically kiss Chad Morris goodbye. The program is far from rebuilt but there is finally hope for the future. The Mustang offense continues to cruise carrying this team. Defensively, the Mustangs struggle a bit allowing Navy to run all over the yard against them last week.

Tune in post bowl season for my final ranking! Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with these rankings. Enjoy the end of college football season, the most magical time of the year.

AL West: Every Team’s Most “Under the Radar” Player

Texas Rangers

Robinson Chirinos

Robinson Chirinios .jpg

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Being a backup catcher isn’t the most desirable big league job, but Chirinos is arguably the best in baseball. With Lucroy ahead of him, Chirinos’ at-bats are limited, but when he does get to hit, he does real damage. Last season, Chirinos hit nine home runs in only 147 at-bats, posting a .483 slugging percentage (.797 OPS). In 2015, he hit 10 in 233 at-bats, posting a .762 OPS.

He’s a solid defender, too, putting up 1.4 dWAR over the past two seasons. When the Rangers want to rest Jonathan Lucroy, they need not worry, because Chirinos is an excellent backstop.

Seattle Mariners

Danny Valencia

Danny Valencia

(Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times Photo)

A guy who can play all over the field, Danny Valencia has quietly put up back to back great seasons. In 2015, betweens two teams (Toronto and Oakland), Valencia hit 18 home runs in 345 at-bats, and posted an outstanding .864 OPS. Probably a career year for him, Valencia’s slugging percentage fell from .519 in 2016 to .446 in 2015. His OBP was almost identical, though (.345 in 2015; .346 in 2016). Danny Valencia’s OPS should hover right around .800.

Trading for Valencia in the offseason was a solid move by GM Jerry Dipoto.

Houston Astros

Evan Gattis

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros

(Thomas B. Shea/USA Today Photo)

The Houston Astros have a lot of star power, which might be the reason Evan Gattis is overlooked. I’m sure fans of AL West teams know all about him, but around baseball he’s under-appreciated. Gattis put up the best numbers of his career last year, hitting 32 home runs and slugging .508. His .826 OPS was also a career high. His strikeout percentage rose from 2015, but his walk rate did, too. Bonus: He doesn’t wear batting gloves.

El Oso Blanco has quietly become one of the most productive hitters in baseball.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Kole Calhoun

Kole Calhoun

(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

It’s hard to stand out when you’re playing next to Mike Trout, so it’s understandable that when people think about the Angels, Kole Calhoun doesn’t come to mind. After setting career highs in a number of categories in 2015, Calhoun only got better. He hit fewer home runs in 2016, but his OPS rose to .786, he slashed his strikeout rate from 23.9% to 17.6%, and his walk rate rose from 6.6% to 10%.

Kole Calhoun is such a solid player.

Oakland Athletics

Liam Hendriks

Liam Hendriks

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Outside of the division, most people haven’t heard of Liam Hendriks. The Australian was one of the Athletics’ most reliable bullpen arms in 2016, building on his excellent 2015 season with Toronto in which he posted a 2.14 FIP. Last season with the A’s, his FIP was 2.85. Hendriks’ run prevention is obviously excellent, but he’s dependable, too. He led the Oakland bullpen in innings pitched with 62 ⅔.

Hendriks should be the Athletics go to reliever in 2017.

All data courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.