Football Sports

UH rivalries you should know about


In 2017, the Bayou Bucket was contested for the first time in four years. The Cougars defeated the Owls 38-3 in a blowout win. File Photo / The Cougar

Incoming freshmen and transfer students, or even just someone trying to get caught up with the team, have to know who UH’s main rivals are. From decades-old rivalries to a modern nemesis, The Cougar has got you covered.


For 33 years, Houston and Rice competed in the Southwest Conference alongside other Texas stalwarts like Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor.

Though the Silver Glove baseball series has usually gone in favor of the Owls, the cross-town rivalry has been dominated by the Cougars in football’s Bayou Bucket.

This football season should be no different when the Cougars travel to Rice Stadium for the opening game on Sept. 1.


Another rivalry from the days of the SWC is Southern Methodist. Over the years, the Cougars had a comfortable win lead over the Mustangs.

But in 2016, the Mustangs upset the Cougars and knocked them out of NY6 Bowl Game contention. SMU even placed a billboard in UH’s backyard off of I-45 to try to heat up the rivalry.

In basketball, the two teams have been at the top of the American Athletic Conference over the last few years, and the gridiron rivalry has been spilling over to the hardwood.

The yearly matchups between SMU and Houston give the winner bragging rights as the top Texas school in the AAC.


While Memphis is not a traditional rival of UH, the team keeps showing up to spoil the Cougars’ fun.

In 2016, the Tigers defeated the No. 18 Cougars 48-44 in the final game of the regular season to knock Houston out of the top 25 rankings.

Memphis struck again in 2017, defeating the Cougars 42-38 at TDECU Stadium to give Houston a major loss on its record.

Last season in basketball, the Cougars became ranked for the first time since 2005. Then Houston lost the next week to Memphis and almost lost its ranking.

For those paying attention, Memphis has been a consistent thorn in Houston’s side.

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