University of Houston Football: Bye Week in CougarLand


Well, Cougar Nation, our beloved Coogs don’t play this week. They are 2-2, which means we’re right where we started at… .500. Given the crappy start they had against UTSA in the season opener (that doubled as the stadium opener) and the loss in Provo against the BYU Cougars, realistically they have hope going into the conference part of the schedule.

Ok, we know the Cougars aren’t making the new College Football playoffs, we figured that out after week 1. But both of the Coogs’ losses came in the non-conference schedule. Sure, we all would love a 4-0 record or even a 3-1 record into the bye, but if they run the table (Which the schedule does seem kind of weak) in conference play, win the American Athletic Conference Championship, they might just be in the running for a big bowl game this New Year. Now, this vision does seem a little far fetched, but here’s what I have learned so far:

Sep 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback John O

1. John O’Korn isn’t “Johnny Cougar”. –  John has started as quarterback for three years IN HIS LIFE. I just recently learned this. This is his third. Last year and his senior year in high school were his two previous years. This is baffling. He looked so good last year, but apparently his experience is showing this year. Specifically in the first game, when he threw seemingly a slew of interceptions against UTSA. He also did that against BYU, but he broke out of that slump, thankfully. From this point on, the offense must get back to what it used to be (Not Keenum-era, putting up 60 per game, but still), and he is the leader of the offense.

2. O-Line issues – One of the reasons why the offense has issues is because of the offensive line. The running game has problems currently with Ryan Jackson (Affectionately known to me as RyJack) and Kenneth Farrow, two very good backs ordinarily, but they really don’t get time to run. Also, one of the reasons why O’Korn has been struggling is because of a subpar offensive line. O’Korn looked frantic at first, then eventually he cooled down mainly due to the O-Line finding their rhythm.

3. Special Teams – Now, the special teams, this really baffles me. My motto is “Never Trust College Kickers.” Our kicker is decent…for college kickers. On the other hand, there was that time he missed that field goal and two PATs. So, there’s that. As for the other aspects, I see no blocked kicks, no blocked punts, the special teams allow a great return every now and again. To say that the Coogs are coached by a “Special Teams Guru,”  ehh come on. Which brings me to…

4. Coaching – Now, Coach Levine spoke in some of my classes in the past. He seems cool. However, his coaching is a whole different story. When I see him coaching, I sometimes think of Gary Kubiak. That’s not a good thing. The play calling is somewhat predictable. The funny thing is, I was late to the party learning that the Coogs’ old offensive coordinator moved on to TCU. They miss him sorely. Sure they scored 40-plus in their wins, but they were against UNLV, a bad offense with an even worse defense, and Grambling… Who is Grambling. They are comical.

Now, the real test begins. Next week, the Coogs’ first conference game happens to be against the reigning defending conference champions, the University of Central Florida. Now, they lost their quarterback and best receiver to the NFL, so they might be rebuilding a bit. The following are my bold predictions to the rest of the schedule.

UCF: Win, but it will be physical like previous years. The offense and special teams would have to show up for the Cougars. It is imperative that O’Korn and the running game do their work this game.

Memphis: Win, because… Well, it’s Memphis.

Temple: Win, because, well… It’s more of a styles clash. As I saw last year, the Cougars beat the brakes off them. I don’t think they can keep up.

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USF: The Bulls have a good defense. Not much else though from what I heard and/or saw from last year. That’s a win.

Tulane: No offense to New Orleans, but who names their team the Green Wave? I have distant memories of them in C-USA, but they are distant for a reason. I’m sure they’ll give them something but not worried. Win.

Tulsa: Oh, the Golden Hurricane. Sweet name. I have fond memories of them too. I think Tulsa will be more than the Coogs bargained for. I remember 2011, we beat them to become 12-0. The next year, they best the brakes off us. Nonetheless, I think this may be a win.

SMU: Win. That simple. I legitimately feel sorry for every SMU fan since 1991.

Cincinnati: This, I’m predicting as the only loss in conference. Them Bearcats play ugly, rugged football, and they have fun doing it. They dominated us in BBVA Compass Stadium last year, and I think that the Bearcats could just be a power in this conference, along with the up and coming ECU Pirates.

In summary, due to the Cougars’ weak in conference schedule, I myself only see 1 or 2 losses in conference play at the max. Barring a meltdown in Cougarland, I don’t see any reason for Cougar Nation to worry… Yet. Until then, whose house is this?

Sep 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars defensive end Eric Eiland (21) celebrates with teammates after making an interception against the UNLV Rebels during the second half at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

And if you don’t know… Now you know.