Houston’s history with Oklahoma ahead of UH vs. OU
The matchup between Houston and Oklahoma cannot be considered a traditional rivalry.
The teams have met each other just three times over a span of 35 years, and the games have not been close. UH won the most recent matchup with a 10-point margin of victory. However, the Cougars were unable to get within 26 points of winning against OU in the games prior.
The Cougars and the Sooners meet for the second time in three years Sunday in Norman, Oklahoma, with the possibility of a modern-day rivalry. Despite not having a traditional history-based rivalry, the teams’ run-ins in the past came with consequences that will add to the fire for Sunday.
UH and OU’s first matchup in 1981 was near the end of head coach Bill Yeoman’s tenure for the Cougars. By the time the two programs met in that year’s Sun Bowl, the Cougars had two seasons in a row of seven wins after finishing the 1979 season as the No. 5 team in the nation.
Oklahoma entered the game one season removed from winning its conference, but the Sooners also had a seven-win season before the bowl game. After a blowout win for the Sooners in the Sun Bowl game, OU went on to win four more conference championships in the decade, while the Cougars would not win more than seven games in a season for the rest of Yeoman’s time at the school.
The next matchup in 2004 came with much different circumstances. The Sooners and the Cougars met early, as they played each other in the second game of the season. The game was not close, and OU went on to win the game 63-13. After the embarrassing loss to Oklahoma, the Cougars went on to have a 3-8 season, while the Sooners went on to an 11-win season and ended the year ranked No. 3 on the AP Poll.
UH finally got its revenge on OU in 2016. Fresh off a Peach Bowl win against Florida State, the Cougars went into the season opener on a mission. OU had been established as one of the premiere powerhouses in college football. The Sooners were the No. 3 team entering the season, so UH was the underdog for this game. However, in one of the most complete games UH played all season, the Cougars came out on top by a score of 33-23.
UH went on to peak at a No. 6 ranking in the AP Poll. Both teams had alternate paths throughout the rest of that season. UH had a few disappointing losses before the season ended and missed out on making it to the conference championship, while OU won the Sugar Bowl after an 11-win season.
OU and UH have a limited history with each other, but if their recent games become a trend and the teams play each other more often, it is likely to become a rivalry college fans will enjoy for years to come.