Houston Matters

Houston had an eventful weekend in sports. A local expert discusses the Rockets, Texans, Dynamo, and more

The Houston Texans lost an important game against the division-leading Jaguars on Sunday, and the University of Houston fired its football coach.

C.J. Stroud NRG Stadium
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Houston Texans’ C.J. Stroud (7) celebrates the team’s win as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Houston, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

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It was a busy weekend in the Houston sports world: the Houston Texans lost an important game against the division-leading Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, and the University of Houston fired its football coach. And the Rockets beat the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

Jeff Balke with the Houston Press and co-host of the Bleav in Astros podcast said the Texans were having a good run. But Sunday's loss to the Jaguars, 24-21, showed shortcomings in the second half.

"The Jaguars are a legitimate playoff, and potentially even Super Bowl contender at this point," he said. “So the fact that the Texans did this well, especially coming off two horrible seasons, so really kind of a step forward for them."

Meanwhile, the Rockets beat the Nuggets and could find themselves advancing in the in-season tournament if they defeat the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

"I think that they’ve been very promising this year. I mean they’re ranked, I think they’re first in the league in defense. I think they’re fourth in the league in offense. I mean, they’re really impressive."

Wins and losses will be up and down all season long, Balke said.

"What you really want to see is them being really good game in and game out, and that’s what they’ve been."

The Houston Dynamo also had a good weekend, beating Sporting Kansas City, 1-0. The team has had massive turnover in its roster and looks relatively different from recent years, Balke said.

"And now they get to head into the conference championship, which is a huge deal for the Dynamo," he said. "...I think that this one of the things where fortunes can change fairly quickly in sports. So when you have an influx of talent, and you get the right coach, and you get the right sort of chemistry and things happening all at once, this kind of thing can happen."

Balke said the Dynamo's improvements can be compared to the Rockets.

"I mean, the Rockets, their situation, they’ve literally been building for years. They’ve been getting high draft picks, they’ve been moving in this direction really since James Harden left the team.

"But the Dynamo really had a massive overhaul kind of all at once. So you don’t see that quite as often. And I don’t know what it augers for the future. I don’t know what that means for them going down the stretch in the next few seasons. But for this year, it’s a big deal."

Meanwhile, the University of Houston fired its head football coach Dana Holgorsen on Sunday after five years and a 4-8 record in their first season in the Big 12.

"The biggest problem I think Dana Holgorsen had is he really has struggled to recruit even after they’ve gotten to the Big 12," Balke said. "Now, they’re going to have to pay him $14 million over the next, I think, the next three years."

Houston may not have to shell out the $100 million Texas A&M University will have to in order to replace Jimbo Fisher – $77 million for Fisher, and $5 million to buy out their newest coach, Mike Elko from Duke, and a new contract – but they will have to spend money to look like a legitimate team, Balke said.