HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Astros aren't going anywhere, except the playoffs, of course, but football season is finally here in Texas.
Houston Chronicle columnist Brian T. Smith joins ABC13 anchor Jonathan Bruce to break down the biggest stories in Houston sports. Are the Texans on the verge of respectability this season? Can the University of Houston challenge for the College Football Playoff? Is Justin Verlander's injury a concern for the Astros? Watch in the video above.
In addition, check out Brian's column this week about a suicidal Army veteran who turned to a dog and the Astros to save his life.
JB's Big Things to Watch This Week:
No. 24 Houston Cougars kicks off their 2022 season on the road against UTSA on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Coogs are coming off a 12-2 season with a bowl win over SEC sort-of-power Auburn. Coach Dana Holgorsen received a six-year extension through 2027 back in March.
They are loaded with talent, starting at quarterback with returning senior starter Clayton Tune, who threw for 3,544 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2021. This weekend's opener in San Antonio against the UTSA Roadrunners will prove to be the toughest challenge on their schedule. UTSA is also a program on the rise, looking to make a statement after their own 12-2 season a year ago.
Some of the top offseason UH stories:
- University of Houston athletes partnering with auto dealership, clothier with endorsement deals
- University of Houston receives $10 million for new football development center
- University of Houston cleared to join Big 12 Conference on July 1, 2023
The AL-best Astros head west and further west this week with road series at the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels, two teams who are a combined 49.5 games under .500.
The Rangers spent a whopping $580.7 million this offseason but are set to miss the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season, firing both their manager and team president earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the Angels boast two of the biggest stars in baseball over the last decade: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Yet they'll miss the playoffs this year for the seventh straight season.
The Astros? Well, get in line early again for those playoffs tickets. Friday's pitching matchup of Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. vs. Ohtani is the best of the fare this week for fans.
Looking for a can't-miss heavyweight fight? The college football opening weekend is definitely for you.
This Saturday, an ABC doubleheader pits No. 11 Oregon against No.3 Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at 2:30 p.m.
That's followed by No. 5 Notre Dame's trip to No. 2 Ohio State at 6:30 p.m.
That's the best program on the west coast, the defending national champion from the SEC, college football's biggest brand, and the Big 10's Goliath, if you're keeping score at home.
These trendy slates of mega-games on opening weekend are more than salvation for fans who've been waiting months for football. Get your popcorn and recliner ready!