The Coin Toss: How the West was won

During the first three games of the season, the Cougars showed their inexperience. The up-tempo, score-at-will offense was the victim of turnovers and an inability to move the football. The defense appeared to have taken a page from its predecessors.

On Saturday against Rice, UH showed a glimpse of putting all three phases of the ball together —something not seen since the Ticket City Bowl in January — defeating the Owls 35-14. The following week, the weight appeared to be lifted off of head coach Tony Levine’s shoulders. Smiles became more prevalent in practice and press conferences and most importantly, the Cougars moved to 1-0 in conference.

The question of where this team will stand in the ultra-competitive Conference USA West Divisions still looms. Along with the Cougars, the preseason favorites Southern Methodist University and Tulsa have shown their capabilities and even the University of Texas at El Paso could have what it takes to win the West.

Certainly, after what fans were subjected to in the season opener, it is nice to put UH in the conversation. This week, North Texas arrives at Robertson Stadium as a heavy underdog, a similar circumstance to week one against Texas State.

At 1-3, and with uncertainty about which direction the Cougars will head the remainder of the season, every snap will be closely examined against opponents like North Texas and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

As it did last season, the winner of the West could come down to the last game of the season. For now, let’s just focus on beating North Texas.

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