With back-to-back victories, including a 35-14 win in their conference opener against Rice, the Cougars exemplify why this year in particular, Conference USA could be anyone’s for the taking.
In the West, UH (2-3; 1-0), SMU (2-3; 1-0) and Tulsa (5-1; 3-0) are the front-runners and undefeated programs in the division while the East could be the most wide-open division in college football. With the exception of UCF (3-2; 1-0), who received a postseason ban from the conference and NCAA for recruiting violations, it’s anyone’s game out East.
At home, this week will be a pivotal stretch of the season for the Cougars’ journey to the championship game. UAB is a program on the rise and a trip to Dallas to take on SMU on Thursday could indirectly decide who wins in the West.
While keeping in mind that the Cougars’ victories came against Rice and North Texas, to be in contention — for now — following the unthinkable loss against Texas State to open the season is exciting.
Last week, UH looked impressive on all three phases of the ball. Offensively, redshirt sophomore quarterback David Piland had time in the pocket resulting in no sacks or interceptions. Defensively, UH picked the ball twice and made stops at key moments. On special teams, redshirt senior kicker Matt Hogan reversed his fortunes from the week before while connecting two-for-two on field goals.
Prior to the first game against Texas State, head coach Tony Levine suggested he would know more about his team around 11 p.m. The same could be said regarding Thursday’s match against SMU.