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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Commentary: Cougars deservedly crack AP Top 25


The Cougars are on a roll this season, and cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011. | Bryce Dodds/The Cougar

The No. 24 Cougars were rewarded with a spot in the latest AP Top 25 Poll following their win over the Southern Methodist University Mustangs, their first time ranked since 2011.

After examining the first five weeks of Cougar football, these are the top five reasons Houston deserves to be ranked.

Head coach Tom Herman

After leaving the defending champion Ohio State University Buckeyes, Tom Herman has brought his fast-paced offensive attack to the Houston.

His departure from Ohio State is proving how efficient his offense is. — OSU has struggled to find their offensive balance all season, while UH has torched the scoreboards.

Herman has forced the Cougars to bring more to the table than the offense that was on the field during the spring game, after which he said that the back-up receivers were less than Division I quality.

The Cougar offense is now one of the highest scoring offenses in the nation and Herman is creating a culture shift on the field as well as throughout the fan base.

The Louisville Game

Going into week two, Houston was a 13.5 point underdog to the University of Louisville on the road.

While the Cardinals 2-3 record may make the win seem weaker, Louisville’s losses came against a couple of SEC teams, including a top-five team and the Cardinals kept the scores close.

Houston came into Louisville and stole a game the Cardinals were supposed to easily win deserves consideration.

No.22 Toledo and No.21 Boise State

The University of Toledo and Boise State University are both ranked higher than Houston, even though the Cougars are putting up similar numbers.

The experts would argue that Toledo and Boise State have a “strength of schedule” advantage, but games against the likes of Arkansas State University and Idaho State University don’t stand out.

Even Toledo’s win over the University of Arkansas has taken a hit, as the Razorbacks continue to lose and drop further away from a poll position.


No team has scored more than 28 points against the Cougar defense at home this year and the defense has only allowed an average of 24.2 points per game.

That is not a small number, but teamed with an offense that is scoring 46.4 points per game, Houston’s defense has forced teams to play catch-up all year.

UH’s defense has forced a total of 14 turnovers – six interceptions and eight fumbles within five games of play. The group’s eight fumble turnovers are tied for first in the NCAA with conference foe University of Memphis.


Houston is ranked sixth in points per game (46.4), sixth in yards per game (2867), eighth in rushing yards per game (287.4), 13th in total points (232) and fifth in third down percentage (51.2).

The Cougars also rank ninth in scoring touchdowns, with 21 of those on the ground, and that mark is tied for second in the NCAA.

The Cougars have proven themselves  rank-worthy, and their body of work contains all the evidence needed for a strong argument for a higher ranking and a bid in a prestigious bowl game.

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