Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Christian Smith/AP/Shutterstock (13398239j) Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen celebrates after a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas, in Houston Kansas Football, Houston, United States – 17 Sep 2022
Fred Faour: Football might be over, but there is a lot to look forward to, especially at UH
The Monday after Super Bowl is one of the saddest days in sports. Football is over, and the finality of that is always a bit depressing. When the Chiefs left the field with a 38-35 win over the Eagles, it hit home.
But there is so much to look forward to in the sports world in the coming months that this one feels a little different. The Texans are assembling what looks to be a really strong coaching staff and will be able to draft a franchise quarterback. UH basketball will likely be a No. 1 seed, and March Madness is on the horizon. Oh, and the XFL returns with the Roughnecks. Those games are fun and entertaining. (At least they were in 2020). It gives people from out of state a team to rally around.
Then, of course, the defending champion Astros are about to begin spring training and a quest for yet another World Series appearance.
But the quiet story is the University of Houston moving to the Big 12 when football starts in the fall. While that is still a ways off, the move is a game-changer for UH athletics. From a basketball perspective, it will be one of the best conferences in the country. But football is still king, and finally, UH will be in with the big boys.
There is a lot that needs to happen. Facilities need to be completed. NIL money needs to flow in. The UH community needs to step up beyond Tilman Fertitta.
And Dana Holgorsen knows his team needs to be better than it was this past season. There are no Tulsas and South Floridas on the schedule. The Big 12 – even when Oklahoma and Texas leave after next season – is loaded. TCU just played for a national championship. Cincinnati recently made the playoffs. Baylor and Oklahoma State are serious programs.
For the Cougars to compete, they will have to improve significantly, especially with a defense that was a nightmare last season. Offensively, they lose steady QB Clayton Tune and explosive receiver Tank Dell.
But Holgorsen has recruited well at the receiver position and will have two highly regarded transfers competing at quarterback (Lucas Coley, Arkansas and Donovan Smith, Texas Tech).
The schedule is no joke. The Cougars will open with UTSA on Saturday, Sept. 2, a team UH had to go to overtime to beat last season. They then play at an improved Rice before opening the Big 12 slate at home against TCU, who made the title game last season. After hosting Sam Houston, the Cougars play West Virginia and Texas, have road trips to Kansas State and Baylor, host Cincinnati and Oklahoma State, then finish off the season at UCF.
That’s big boy football. It’s what UH fans have always wanted. With that comes a daunting schedule, and the Cougars will have to be much better to compete.
But at least they have made it, and that is exciting.
What they do with it is to be determined.
I doubt Holgersen finishes the 2023 season. His sideline behavior last season bordered on psychotic and that’s with an 8 win season against a diminished schedule when compared to what they’ll face in ’23.
Holgersen isn’t a great recruiter. Remember, Tom Hermann will be available and UH will be a promotion since it’s going to be in the Big12 now.
Your such an amazing writer and always spot on.