Commentary: A monumental debut, projecting the Cougars’ record
As with all seasons, there are several games along the way that determine the fate of the team and whether or not it will be considered a success.
I have picked a few games on the schedule that will be key down the road for the Cougars, for one reason or another.
Key games on the season:
9/12 at Louisville: Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals represent the first real threat that the Cougars will face in 2015.
This team is coming off of a down year by Louisville standards, finishing with a 9-5 overall record and a 14-37 drumming at the hands of Georgia in the Belk Bowl.
Herman’s team should have a decided advantage on both defense and in the run game.
If the Cougars can turn in a victory on their trip to the Bluegrass State, it just might gain them a little more national attention and confidence to start the season.
Prediction: 31-24, Cougars.
10/16 at Tulane: Last year, The Green Wave finished with a 3-9 record, good for eighth place in the American Athletic Conference.
One of those wins however, came against the Cougars on their own field during the annual homecoming game.
That makes this years match-up a straight-up revenge game.
Overlooking bad teams is a problem that truly great teams simply cannot do.
Beating Tulane will bring revenge for last season’s stumble and serve as a sign that this team has matured.
Prediction: 44-17, Cougars.
10/24 at UCF: Keeping with the revenge theme, this game should get the Cougar players pumped up.
Ward in particular should be excited to send a statement to the Knights.
Last season, Ward was put under center for his first start in an attempt to turn around a bad game.
Ward nearly did just that, but came up one yard short, fumbling at the goal line in the final seconds.
Putting the ghost of last season to bed while simultaneously taking down one of the top teams from 2014 would help cement Houston as a top dog in the AAC.
Prediction: 27-24, Cougars.
11/14 vs. Memphis: Last season, the Cougars came back from an early deficit to take down the Tigers 28-24, marking the fifth straight victory over their conference rivals.
It seems like the Tigers might be due for a win in this series.
Fresh of a 55-48 win over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl, I expect them to be confident headed into 2015.
Despite the recent success against this team, I can’t shake the feeling that this will be a game where the Cougars stumble a bit.
Prediction: 35-31, Tigers.
Final record: 11-2 overall, 7-1 AAC
Boldest of the Bold: The Cougars crack the FBS top 25 rankings
With an already stingy defense only looking to get more aggressive after finishing in the top 15 nationally and an offense that should grow into a force of its own, the Cougars’ 2015 season should turn out to be their best in recent history.
Fresh off a national championship season as offensive coordinator with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Tom Herman aims to take the Cougar football program to the next level.
If this new staff can coach this team to its potential, look for this team to finish the season in the top 25 of the FBS College Football Rankings for the first time since 2011.