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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sports

Houston’s biggest moments to look forward to


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With the fall semester a few weeks away, a new wave of students will fill Houston’s growing 46,000-plus campus.

A staple of large universities in the United States, college athletics draw devout fan bases from young children to alumni, but no support is as unique as that of a current student, and Houston is no exception. 

Whether a freshman stepping foot on UH’s campus for the first time or a seasoned senior set to graduate soon, here is a list of ten must see events for the 2019-2020 athletic year. 

10.) Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup – Volleyball

Coming off a 17-16 record last year, the Cougars’ will look to new head coach David Rehr to start their 2019 season with success at the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup, the annual tournament the program hosts. With four games between two days (Aug. 30-31), UH will battle two power five conference opponents in Arizona St. and LSU, as well as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and UT-Arlington in its first matches at the Fertitta Center 

9.) Phil Hansel Invitational – Swimming and Diving

Named for nearly 40-year former head coach Phil Hansel, the Cougars’ push for an American Athletic Conference title three-peat will takeoff at the invitational. While the dates and opponents for the annual fall event have not been announced, a mid-November slot is expected and about 10 schools should submerge themselves at the Campus Recreation Natatorium. 

8.) All-American Intercollegiate – Men’s Golf

Another event without official dates or opponents yet, the All-American Intercollegiate is a must see for UH students at the Golf Club of Houston, which once hosted the PGA’s Houston Open every year. A mid-February weekend will most likely be the timeline for the 15-team invitational, and the Cougars will look to improve on last season’s tied-for-second finish. 

7.) Rice – Soccer 

Coming off a 7-10-2 record last season, Houston will try to upend cross-town rival Rice and snap its current two-game losing streak against the Owls, including 2017’s 4-1 defeat. UH will make the 10-minute, four-mile trip to Rice’s campus and battle on Aug. 25 at Holloway Field.

6.) UConn – Women’s Basketball

Goodbye Huskies. UConn is set to join the Big East after 2019-2020, and with its team still undefeated (120-0) against AAC opponents all-time, nothing would say good riddance like a monumental upset. Coming off a 15-16 season and a fourth place conference finish, the Cougars will look to impress a home crowd at the year-old Fertitta Center. While no date has been set for the home meeting, conference play will start in early January.

5.) Memphis – Men’s Basketball

Coming off its best NCAA Tournament finish since 1984, the Cougars’ are looking to repeat another trip to the Big Dance. With a loaded returning roster, including Fabian White Jr., Nate Hinton and Dejon Jarreau, UH will have some key pieces to do it.

Unfortunately for Houston, so will Memphis, who welcomes the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.

UH and UM’s last meeting, a 61-58 win for the Cougars in the 2019 AAC Tournament,  was exciting as is, and given the circumstances heading into next season, the matchup between the two conference powerhouses should be fun to watch.

4.) Houston Alumni Invitational – Track and Field

Houston’s track and field has been the pinnacle of success in recent years, including a second-place finish at the indoor NCAA Championships and third-place at the outdoor NCAA Championships in 2019. Expect an early April date for this fast-paced, all day affair where some of the fastest, strongest and most talented athletes in Texas and the surrounding areas will compete, which will be held at the Carl Lewis International Complex.

3.) Washington St. – Football

Mark your calendars for Sept. 13 as the Cougars take on the Cougars in the Texas Kickoff at NRG Stadium. Houston, welcoming in new head coach Dana Holgorsen off the heels of last season’s 8-5 finish, look to defeat the school that inspired its mascot over 70 years ago. WSU tallied a school-record 11 wins last season, powered by its aggressive offense led by head coach Mike Leach.

2.) Cincinnati – Men’s Basketball

Despite more than 1,000 miles separating the two universities, it’s hard to say the Cougars do not have a fierce rivalry with the Bearcats.

The two programs have split its past six meetings over the course of the past two seasons, including back-to-back AAC Championship games, which Cincinnati has won both times.

UH defeated UC in the programs’ two regular season meetings, and another home meeting in 2019-2020 should be full of excitement, especially since the Bearcats return Jarron Cumberland, 2018’s AAC Player of the Year.

1.) Oklahoma – Football

Three years ago, then-No. 15 Houston knocked off then-No. 3 Oklahoma at NRG Stadium in a 33-23 upset of the Baker Mayfield-led Sooners. 

Come Sept. 1, the Cougars will travel to Norman, Oklahoma and take on the No. 5 Sooners, again, on national prime-time television.

Nothing says “here’s to football being back” like piling in a car and making the six-hour trip to watch Houston battle one of the most storied programs in college football history, and perhaps repeat the success of 2016’s matchup.

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