College Football 77 in 77: #54 Houston Cougars


The true mark of how much you love a sport/league is your devotion to watching out-of-market games that you have no connection/allegiance to. In 2009 I couldn’t wait to DVR Houston vs. Mississippi “I gotta have LESS Cowbell” State so I could see Houston Cougars QB Case Keenum play. I had just interviewed him on conference call (you can read that here) a couple weeks earlier and found him to be quite a mensch. And his ridiculous stats gave him a dark horse chance at the Hesiman, at that current time.

Yes, I truly am a college football DORK, as Keenum quickly became one of my favorite players to watch in the nation.

Unfortunately, Keenum went down with a season ending injury versus UCLA in week 3 in 2010, and the Cougars stumbled to a 5-7 record. However, Keenum is back on the Case this fall as the NCAA gave him an Evan Eschmeyer style sixth year of eligibility.

2010 was:  a losing year, as the Cougars lost second string QB Cotton Turner for the year in the same game. (In other words, it was EXACTLY a real life version of that opening game in the 1999 film “Any Given Sunday.”) Third stringer David Piland filled in just fine as the Cougars finished first in C-USA and 5th overall in the nation in passing.The offense was all that. It’s the defense, especially the run defense which refused to show up. UH was 114th in stopping the run. But it’s a new year and I think luck, providence, circumstance, chance, flukiness or divine intervention will all be on their side this time around. The karma exchange is in debt to them.

BMOCs: Keenum obviously, but the other two QBs mentioned can ball too. Enjoy watching Keenum while you can. His NFL prospects are more Andre Ware and David Klingler than Kevin Kolb (yes all three of those guys knocked the boots off opposing DBs in H-Town) But the RB derby in training camp features even more talent. Get to know the names Bryce Beall, Charles Sims and Michael Hayes. And at least one of the WRs among Patrick Edwards, Tyron Carrier and E.J. Smith could all put up Biletnikoff Award winner numbers.

2011 will be fruitful if: the defense makes big strides during its second year in the 3-4 scheme. They were an abysmal 103rd overall last season so there’s plenty of room for improvement. “The stars at night, are big and bright (on offense) deep in the heart of Texas” so it’s up to the d to step their game up.

2011 will be awful if: The ‘Cougars defense embarrasses itself again and Keenum gets hurt. The Cougars should finish ahead of Tulsa and match SMU stride for stride when it comes to the C-USA West Title. Anything less would be a disappointment.

Bottom Line: If they play with a “Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. CAN’T LOSE!” mentality in Texas, they should go 8-4 or 9-3. Maybe even better?

ISU Rankings: #58 Athlon, #54 Lindy’s, #32 Phil Steele


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Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter

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