#92 Houston Cougars: College Basketball 111 in 111

houston cougars mascot

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With the exception of their unexpected run in the 2010 Conference USA Tournament which earned them the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, the Houston Cougars have been absent on the national scene for the past twenty years.  James Dickey is hoping to turn that around and brings in a pair of major recruits this season.

Click here for The Sports Bank’s Houston football preview

[Read more…]

#70 Houston Cougars: College Football 77 in 77

cougars

For the Houston Cougars, there is nowhere to go but down, sadly. 13-1, 8-0 in conference, a destruction of Penn State in their bowl game (destroying Pedophilia State mere weeks after the Jerry Sandusky scandal first came to light, no doubt gave UH some “America’s Team” type feel last winter), just a slip up versus Southern Miss in the C-USA title game kept them from BCS glory.

Quarterback Case Keenum set the NCAA passing record and left school as the most decorated signal caller (at least statistically) in college football history. But he’s gone now, as are all the main receivers and the entire coaching staff. Enter a rebuilding year.

[Read more…]

If LSU or Oklahoma State Falls, Who Should Play in New Orleans?

If there is anything that we have learned in college football over the years, it’s that the most chaotic situation is the one most likely to happen. Whether it is a two-loss team like LSU getting a berth in the national title game due to several late losses by other contenders, or a team like Michigan getting passed over because voters didn’t want a rematch between the Wolverines and Ohio State, the mix of human emotion and computer analytics that the BCS provides always ensure that plenty of people will be talking about the outcome.

[Read more…]

LSU, Alabama Top First BCS Rankings

With seven weeks done in the college football season, the first edition of the BCS rankings came out on Sunday night, and there were a few surprises through the list. The LSU Tigers ended up edging the Alabama Crimson Tide on the list, finishing a mere .0003 points ahead of them in average. The Oklahoma Sooners ended up finishing in the third spot, followed closely by conference rival Oklahoma State at fourth. Boise State rounded out the top five, with Wisconsin, Clemson, and Stanford close behind.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Houston QB Case Keenum for Heisman

case_keenum_vs_air_force_falcons_in_2008

By Paul M. Banks

You know these quarterback names: Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow. Even people who have never been interested in college football have heard of Tebow, or at least they’ve heard the ginormous hype surrounding him. But there’s no ginormous hype surrounding Houston Cougars QB Case Keenum, who’s put up the biggest passing numbers in the nation. Compare these stats:

Keenum
Comp Att % Y Td Int
144 210 69 1696 13 2

3rd nationally for TD passes and Yards, 5th in completion percentage

Tebow
44 68 65 643 6 1

McCoy
103 145 71 1145 9 5

Keenum doesn’t play in a power conference, therefore his team receives little national publicity. However, prior to last Saturday’s 58-41 loss to UTEP (Hey, he doesn’t play defense) his Cougars were ranked #12 in the nation. In 2009, Keenum has victories over another pass-happy program in Texas Tech and also Oklahoma State, ranked 5th at the time. But the buzz that started to gather dissipated last week in the wake of the loss to the unranked Miners. Keenum did his part though, going a ridonkulous 51-76 for 536, 5 TDs, no INTs. “It’s not really a whole lot of fun when you don’t win. You can put up a bunch of stats, but it wasn’t the way we wanted it to turn out,” Keenum said on conference call Tuesday.

Keenum was also asked about the eye-popping stats he and his team have put up so far this year. “We look at a few stats that matter, how we do on 3rd downs and in the red zone. And of course, the Ws, but we don’t really look at those other stats right now. The rest are for the end of the year, when we can reflect,” he responded.keenum

His Cougars are 2-0 against BCS schools this season and will face another opponent of that sort in the SEC’s Mississippi State. It’s yet another opportunity for him to step up as the bright lights shine upon him, perhaps prompting more people to compare him to recent Houston QBs with legendary careers: David Klingler, Andre Ware, Kevin Kolb (a name somehow pronounced Cobb).

“It’s definitely cool and an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys, I take it not lightly. I know Kevin pretty well. They’ve all done great things and continue to do great things. I appreciate those kind of compliments,” Keenum stated.

Being this is Armed Forces appreciation week in college football I asked Keenum his reflections on playing in the Armed Forces Bowl. “I remember being on the field for the coin toss, and I wasn’t paying attention to who I was shaking hands with, but I saw 4 stars and it was General Petreaus, so it was petty neat to meet a guy like that. It was pretty cool there, the atmosphere, all the different armed forces at the stadium, the events surrounding the game, the different speakers they brought in. And it’s something that there needs to be more of. I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” he articulated.

I followed up by asking his thoughts about comparing football to war. “You always hear “It’s a fight, it’s a battle, it’s a war,” every week and I’ve never really agreed with it, especially in times like now. I don’t think we can really compare what we do to what they do overseas, laying down their lives so that we can do what we do. In football there’s injuries and stuff, and a few people do lose their lives here and there, but it’s nothing like the risks those men and women take. So I don’t like to compare it in that way, because they’re doing something that means so much more,” Keenum responded.

College Football Live Blog, Part 2! Now With More Night Games!

We’re back for the evening, and it’s been a “great” day of football so far.  You know, unless you happen to like Illinois.  Then you’re surly. 

I’m not saying…I’m just saying.

You can expect to see some commentary on a lot of games this evening, including, but not limited to:

Iowa at Penn St.
Notre Dame at Purdue
Texas Tech at Houston

Should be fun, come on in and thrill us with your brilliant insight!

Take It To The Bank!! Week 4, College Football

lasvegas-pano_1

By Paul Schmidt

Welcome back to Take It To The Bank! First things first — let’s clean up after last week.  It was a respectable 2-2, with two things blindsiding me: 1) Florida, by Urban Meyer’s own admission, saying they didn’t need to run Tennessee out of the stadium because he knew they were only playing to not get blown out.  Awesome.  Next time, could someone tell ME??  Is that really too much to ask??  2) Texas and Texas Tech playing some defense. Defense in the Big 12?  Really?  Next thing you know, someone is going to tell me Tim Tebow isn’t Jesus!

This week we’re adding a new wrinkle to things, by bringing in a guest picker.  I select the games and send them out. That week’s guest makes their picks and then I make mine.  Since I also only pick 4 games, I have a tie-breaker pick for the week, something tailored to how skilled of a gambler I think the person is.  This week, we have The Bank’s other degenerate gambler, Peter Christian, taking the podium.  Though many of you may know Pete, I asked him to write a quick intro for those of you that don’t:

“My gambling resume: I learned the ropes from one of the worst gamblers on the planet, though he’ll never admit it. Watching him gamble was like watching Paris Hilton act. It was clear he was going to keep wasting time and someone elses money trying but there was no way he was ever going to get better.

He showed me the ropes however and put me on the path to learning the way to follow the way things worked. To this day I’m still a small timer but I’ve had more big wins than big losses (though my small losses probably outweigh the small wins) with the biggest coming on the opening day of the NCAA Tournament in 2005 when I parlayed the four afternoon games into a months salary (minimum wage in Wisconsin). I haven’t won a parlay since.”

Wonders never cease — Apparently I taught Pete how to gamble.  Who knew?

Anyway, here’s this week’s games.

TCU at Clemson (-2.5)


Peter Christian: Clemson has fans with heart. We recently saw some of that “heart” after a tough loss to Georgia Tech. That kind of passion can only be found in what we’ve come to call a group home but is more well known as an asylum. Crazy things happen to crazy people, the Tigers go crazy and cover the points. PICK: Clemson -2.5


Paul Schmidt: Tiger fans definitely go crazy, but the team does too — just not in a good way. Clemson is typically one of the more schizophrenic teams in all of football, and that won’t change again this week.  TCU has something to prove, and they saw last week what happens to “BCS Buster” teams that don’t come out for big games (Utah and BYU). This is the Horned Frogs’ chance to make a statement. PICK: TCU +2.5

Michigan State at Wisconsin (-3)


PC: Let me be clear, I hate betting on the Big Ten. Despise it. I dislike it more than thinking about the type of exam I have to get when I turn 40. That being said I hate this Wisconsin team even more. I’m not sure I like Michigan State either but I want the points and the Spartans. PICK: Michigan State +3

PS: Michigan State is terrible.  I’ve been operating on that premise for several weeks, and it certainly is beneficial for betting purposes. Good teams, quite simply, don’t lose to Central Michiagn at home (no matter how good I think they are).  If you’re good, that just doesn’t happen.  Now I’m supposed to expect them to hang with Wisconsin on the road?  I don’t think so.  Remember, home teams essentially get a 3-point bump — think these teams would be equals on a neutral site?  No way.  NO WAY.  Sconnies roll. PICK: Wisconsin -3

Illinois at Ohio St. (-14)

PC: Remember when I said I hate betting on the Big Ten? I lied. If I was in one of the states where it is legal to gamble, I would bet on this game so fast that Usain Bolt would do a double take. Buckeyes at home could cover 1,000,000 points against Illinois… Though I’m only gonna lay the 14 required.  PICK: Ohio State -14

PS: Call it a hunch.  However, was there really any doubt where I was going when I decided to pick this game?  As I’ve said, you never bet with your heart, you bet with your head.  And I’ve only ever wagered on the Illini once…of course, that was November 10th, 2007, against Ohio State…and we know how that turned out.  Funnily enough, that was considered by many to be a trap game…and I got 13.5 points that day too. Again…just a hunch. PICK: Illinois +14

Texas Tech at Houston (-1)

PC: This is definitely the hardest of the four games to pick. Not because the teams are evenly matched but because you can’t ever predict what is gonna happen with Tech. They could explode for 50 or they might puke on the coffee table and struggle to find the end zone. I’m taking Tech and the point and rolling the dice on a shootout. PICK: Texas Tech +1

PS: I watched Texas Tech and was really impressed last week. I was really surprised that they could handle McCoy and the Longhorns offense, with so many weapons. Just a great effort.  However, Houston’s got the best offense in the country, hands down. Case Keenum is a helluva QB, and I think he can exploit the Red Raider D.  Especiually after finding out that, yeah, Colt McCoy probably could have too, but he was sick with the flu and on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Pedialyte…PICK: Houston -1

TIEBREAKER: Select one over/under number and make your pick.

PC: Minnesota at Northwestern O/U 48.5

I LOVE betting the over/under line. Mostly because it let’s me watch a game I normally wouldn’t watch with a reason to get invested in both teams’ offense or defense without really causing my blood pressure to go through the roof. With this game I feel obligated to take the over. After last years’ shootout I expect more of the same and the points will add up on both sides of the scoreboard. PICK: Over 48.5 points

PS: Arkansas at Alabama O/U 58

I think I developed a little bit of a man-crush last week on Ryan Mallett. He was simply unreal against Georgia, and that game and the offense in it was ridiculous.  However, Alabama’s D is juuuuust a little better than Georgia’s.  So why would I bet the over here?  Because while Alabama’s D might hold Arkansas to 20 points or thereabouts, Alabama’s offense is DEFINITELY a threat to put up 50 points on their own against a Razorback D that was…well, let’s say they were performance-challenged against Georgia. And given Bobby Petrino’s history of not necessarily caring about that so much, one has to believe that isn’t something that’s going to change. PICK: Over 58 points

Last week: 2-2
For the Season: 5-7