College football is known for its craziness, unpredictability, and surprises. The top 4 and the top 25 are constantly changing. Teams with a history of dominance lose in upset games, and teams with no spotlight to begin with end up having near perfect seasons. The University of Houston is one of those teams that is beginning to catch people’s eyes and attention.
During his first year as head coach, Tom Herman has been able to lead the Cougars to a 10-1 season. The team remained undefeated until yesterday’s game against the Connecticut Huskies. Though their undefeated streak was broken, the team holds a record that deserves notice. Herman was granted on Friday a raise for his successful coaching career start, making his annual salary $3 million.
With the program on the right track, many are wondering if the U of H has what it takes to compete in one of the bigger conferences. This was a question for Texas Christian University not too long ago when Gary Patterson took over, and we all know how well TCU has dominated since its’ admittance to the Big 12 Conference. Maybe there’s room in the Big 12 for the University of Houston too.
Notable wins for Houston this season include, Louisville, SMU, Vanderbilt, and Cincinnati. The U of H beat Louisville, who was formerly coached by Texas head coach Charlie Strong, 34-31. SMU, who gives a good fight to rival TCU every year, lost to the Cougars 49-28. SEC’s Vanderbilt lost to Houston 34-0. Cincinnati, who beat the University of Miami, was beaten by the U of H 30-33. Of course, as stated in the beginning, college football is so unpredictable and the value of a team can’t be determined by one win against a historically valuable team. But what about 4 wins?
The performance of Houston’s key players is another thing to note when looking at the Cougars’ capability. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. has 2194 passing yards, surpassing Baylor quarterback Seth Russel’s 2104 yards. Wide receivers Demarcus Ayers and Chance Allen also contribute to the team’s success. Ayers’ 979 receiving yards would have him at #5 in the Big 12 for receivers, and Allen’s 624 would have him at #12. Houston’s running back Kenneth Farrow has more rushing yards than Texas’ D’Onta Foreman, and would hold #7 for running backs in the Big 12. Farrow also has 12 rushing touchdowns, which would have him tied for #2 with Deandre Washington of Texas Tech.
Regardless of statistics and schedule, the University of Houston still has a lot to prove. The team needs to prove their consistency. They have to show that the performance we’ve seen in 2015 will be seen again in 2016. They need to clearly prove their dominance in their current conference. A loss to a 6-5 team proves neither of these. With these improvements, I could easily see the University of Houston being placed in one of the top 5 power conferences.