In 2007 our valiant heroes, the Houston Cougars, traveled up to Eugene to play the malevolent Oregon Ducks®, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nike, Inc. Both schools have long-standing traditions of their mascots doing push-ups on the sidelines after their school scores points.
Puddles, the Oregon mascot, wrongly assumed that Shasta Cougar was taunting him when doing push-ups on the visitor sideline in Eugene after UH scored points. Things soon spiraled out of control and the cowardly Duck soon assaulted our beloved Shasta Cougar.
Avert your eyes to the following video Cougar fans; no footage is more painful to Texas history since the Zapruder:
Now normally your humble author wouldn’t pay much attention to non football-related related nonsense that happens off the field, but several Duck fans over the years have made it a point to constantly remind us about the “incident.” This has left a bitter resentment in the mouth of several Cougar fans simmering for years. We’ve made it a point to root against Oregon whenever we can.
Oregon losing several key games over the years and the outcome of the 2011 National Championship game against Auburn wasn’t enough. We still needed to not only watch Oregon lose, we needed them to be embarrassed to feel vindicated.
The legendary Urban Meyer was hired in 2012 to coach The Ohio State University Buckeyes football program and hired a young wonderkid named Tom Herman as his offensive coordinator. Herman was an assistant at several Texas college programs for over ten years, making stops at: Texas Lutheran, UT, Sam Houston, Texas State, and Rice before making it to Iowa State and eventually The Ohio State.
In the 2014 college football season the Buckeyes and the Ducks would meet in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. A few weeks before the game the University of Houston hired Tom Herman to become it’s new football head coach at the conclusion of Ohio State’s season. Balancing two jobs until the end of the final Buckeyes game, Herman helped the Buckeyes decimate the Ducks in the championship game 42-20. The new Houston head coach won himself a national championship!!! w00t!
And then came the greatest photo in the history of our humble football program:
Sweet, sweet vindication! Our new gallant and indomitable leader has avenged Shasta Cougar’s honor! You are free to lead us into battle, oh wise one (that’s not a crack, he’s a member of Mensa).
You might think our schadenfreude is petty or ridiculous. Nope. It’s college football baby and it’s a Saturday morning and your humble author needs to direct all this energy typically reserved for 3847 Holman St. into something else now that the season has ended. Hence this blog.
Seriously though, Oregon’s continuity over the past two decades has to be admired. They’ve changed coaches a few times but each new coach has been smart (and capable) enough to keep the ball rolling and the wins coming. For that, I have a ton of respect. After the Briles and Sumlin eras, UH took a flyer and promoted their special teams coach (!), Tony Levine, to take over the program in 2012. Levine took a team known only for having a high-octane offense and balanced it out, bringing in David Gibbs to revamp the defense. While the historically inept defense transformed under Gibbs into the aggressive “Third Ward D” known for an incredible amount of turnovers, the offense sputtered. Three offensive coordinators in three years didn’t help matters and likely contributed to some embarrassing losses: Texas State (2012), UTSA (2014), and Tulane (2014).
The challenge for new coach Herman is to bring more consistency to our coaching staff and hopefully bring a spark back to our offense. For too long, the Levine approach to offense was “Let’s see what the defense is doing a react to that”, a far cry from the petal-to-the-metal approach of Briles-Montgomery and Sumlin-Holgorsen-Kingsbury. Herman needs to use a bit of our old Air Raid style and mix it with an aggressive, power offense instead of just replying on timing and momentum. For all of the noise the Cougars have made since 2003, we’ve only won won conference championship (2006 with Briles). We need to not just score points but be able to overpower people in the trenches during the tough end of season games in December and January. That’s the difference between being another Boise State or TCU and being another Hawaii in 2007 or Tulane in 1998.
The future is bright and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for the Cougars! Now I just have to find something to do on Saturdays for the next seven months.
[This article was posted by a reader to r/CFB and some interesting comments have been made. Feel free to add your comments there.]