College Football Preseason Top 25: #21 Houston

Al Dannity | Updated Jan 05, 2023

Case Keenum and the Cougars look in good shape to improve on a 2009 season that delivered less than it promised. Al Dannity however urges Houston fans to be wary of some bumps in the road.

The schedule Houston’s fans will demand vengeance when the UTEP Miners come to Robertson Stadium on September 10. The Miners ruined the then #12 ranked Cougars’ hopes of busting the BCS with a 58-41 upset last season. Victory here would put Houston on course for another charge at the big money bowls.

The Cougars will be favorites on the road to UCLA and at home to Mississippi State in non-conference games. Neither will be blowouts and I like UCLA to play tough in the Rose Bowl. The biggest banana skin in Conference USA will be divisional rivals SMU. The Mustangs took a big step forward under June Jones last season and look set to be even better this year. Running the table with this schedule and winning the Conference USA title game might not be enough for Houston to earn a BCS berth. Cougars fans will be pinning their hopes on Texas Tech to be ranked by the time Houston travels to Lubbock for the regular season finale.

The players

In 2009 Case Keenum put up the kind of numbers you only see in games of Madden. This year I like the quarterback to post similarly gaudy stats along with his three All-Conference USA receivers Patrick Edwards, Tyron Carrier, and James Cleveland. The Cougars are stacked on the ground with three veteran running backs. With the bulk of the offensive line back as well, this promises to be a lethal offensive unit in 2010.

Houston needs its veteran talent to come good in 2010. In total the Cougars return 17 starters from 2009, including kicker Matt Hogan. The big College Football betting questions for Houston will be on defense. UTEP, like so many opponents, recognized the Cougars’ weakness was in defending the run. The offense will ensure Houston wins the bulk of its games but the difference between a good season and a great one will rest on the arms of this defense.

The forecast Last year was one of unfulfilled potential. A 10 win season, including 3 victories over BCS conference opponents, ended in Houston failing to win the Conference USA title or the Armed Forces Bowl, losing the latter to Air Force. Kevin Sumlin is serious about having Houston thought of in the same light as Boise State and TCU but he needs to fix his defense before we can start talking about a perfect season. I like Houston’s chances of another 10-2 regular season, possibly even 11-1 and I love their post-season opportunities. I like the Cougars to win the Conference USA title and win a bowl game, albeit not a big one. Bet on Houston to light up Conference USA in 2010.