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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Football

Houston could face Power schools in year-end bowl game


Houston faces Navy every year, which uses the same triple-option system of offense and tough style of defense as Army. It would be a matchup with a familiar style for the Cougars. | Richard Fletcher Jr./The Cougar

The Cougars are bowl eligible this year thanks to their 7-1 start to the season. Since there are so many potential bowl game opponents for Houston, we are going to look at the most likely matchups.

The Cougar made predictions on the most probable bowl game destinations earlier this month.

TCU

According to Athlon Sports, the Cougars will see the Horned Frogs in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 22 in Fort Worth.

TCU used its final regular season game to hit the six-win plateau and become eligible to play in a bowl game after finishing at 6-6.

The Horned Frogs finished in the middle of the pack in the Big 12 this season, but four of its six losses came against teams that finished the year ranked in the Top 25.

TCU can pose real problems for Houston’s offense by virtue of its good, but not great, defense and the fact that true freshman Clayton Tune will be starting his second career game.

Wake Forest

Another 6-6 team, this one from the Atlantic Coast Conference, is a potential foe for the Cougars in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa, Florida, according to ESPN.

The Wake Forest’s Demon Deacons are mediocre on offense, finishing No. 35 in total yards per game and No. 39 in points per game.

Houston would need to exploit a Wake Forest defense that is one of the worst in the nation, allowing more yards per game than all but 14 teams in the country.

The Demon Deacons also give up over 33 points per game, which makes them an enticing matchup for a Cougars team that had a potent offense for much of the season.

Miami

The Hurricanes fell back down to Earth a year after going 10-2 in the regular season. This season started with a 16-point defeat to LSU and featured a four-game losing streak in which Miami failed to score more than 21 points in each game.

Despite all of that, the Hurricanes finished with a 7-5 record and could potentially face the Cougars in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, according to ESPN.

The Hurricanes allow the second-fewest yards per game in the country and are also top 15 in points allowed per game, but its offense is a below-average unit, gaining just 375 yards per game.

Essentially, Miami is the reverse of Houston, which has a great offense paired with a subpar defense. The contrasting styles would make this game intriguing.

Army

Sitting at 9-2, Army is currently ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25 Poll and is slated to play Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl, according to Sports Illustrated.

The Knights are statistically similar to the Hurricanes on offense. Army gains about 10 more yards per game than Miami and scores virtually the exact same amount.

It has also dropped just two games this season: its season opener to Duke and a one-score loss to No. 5 Oklahoma. The Knights have scored at least 28 points in eight of its nine wins and will put pressure on the Cougars to stop its offensive attack.

Ohio

The Bobcats are currently 8-4, but three of their four losses have come by a combined nine points. Ohio has the most explosive offense of the five potential opponents for the Cougars, ranking No. 16 in yards per game and No. 10 in points per game.

While the Bobcats would arguably not attract as much attention in a potential matchup with Houston, it would present the most explosive matchup available. As a result, fans could be treated to a more aesthetically-pleasing bowl game to end the Cougars’ season.

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