Momentum getting strong to get Houston Cougars into a Power 5 conference

UH
via UHCougars.com

After Tilman Fertitta made his Texas-sized statements last week about getting the Houston Cougars into the Big 12, a grassroots campaign has kicked off full-throttle to push the efforts forward. If you thought us Cougars were “all hat; no cattle”, think again!

An awesome week for the Coogs!

First, The Sporting News wrote an excellent article helping make the case for the Coogs to join the Big 12, laying out how the scenario could unfold leading to conference expansion:

-A one-loss Big 12 team not named Oklahoma or Texas is snubbed from the College Football Playoff because of the lack of a conference championship game.

-Big 12 coaches preach about the need for playoff expansion, perhaps to six teams, while holding on to the “one true champion” flag.

-The Big 12 expands to 12 teams and adds a conference championship game.

The first two things already happened once, and they could just as easily happen again in 2015. And 2016. And … At that point you haven’t learned anything. Houston is not-so patiently waiting. Do you even know what conference they are in? It used to be Conference-USA. Now it’s the American Athletic Conference.

But the Cougars fit the “Bigger than a Group of 5” school profile. Art Briles won 10 games there in 2006. Kevin Sumlin won 13 in 2011. Houston just hired the nation’s top assistant coach in Tom Herman, and the quarterback progeny runs from Andre Ware and Kevin Klingler to Kevin Kolb and Case Keenum. More often than not, Houston is fun to watch. Given a little more light, it’s a program that can be more than just a stepping stone.

It makes sense to let them swing with fellow in-state schools Texas, Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor every year. If TCU and Baylor can do this, why not Houston? It also latches the Houston market to the conference, which makes sense.

And then the money quote:

[Critics might] cry that it waters down the conference. Look at what the Big Ten did with Rutgers and Maryland. [Coach Herman’s] Ohio State beat those two schools by a combined 108-41 last season. What else did the Buckeyes do? They leap-frogged TCU and Baylor – who couldn’t stop arguing about a 61-58 shootout and the merits of “one true champion” – in the final College Football Playoff standings.

Painting Austin Red

via @UHCougarFB

On Monday many powerful Cougar administrators, coaches, students, and alumni were in Austin for UH System Day. According to The Cougar:

…students and alumni lobbied for some of the University’s biggest legislative goals… but one subject near and dear to Texans’ hearts came up throughout the lobbying: football. Representatives of the University were vocal about UH’s ambitions to become part of the Big 12 Athletic Conference.

Then on Tuesday this week the Austin American-Statesman wrote an excellent article behind UH’s efforts to play on a larger stage. Some money quotes:

Houston isn’t interested in the status quo. In terms of conference status and recent history, it’s a second-tier athletic program with first-tier ambitions. It’s on the move and just landed a first-tier head coach who combines smarts with top-level experience and a fiery drive that should propel the Cougars to the next stage.

The school in the nation’s fourth-largest market that competes in the under-the-radar American Athletic Conference is hoping to parlay this latest acquisition with a renewed commitment to athletics, as well as academics, as part of Houston’s quest to go big-time and draw interest — no, draw a concrete invitation — from the Big 12 or any of the other Power Five conferences.

And:

Through the dynamic leadership of school president Renu Khator and athletic director Mack Rhoades, the Cougars are making every right move. They sank $120 million into a sparkling new 40,000-seat stadium. They gained Tier One academic status in 2011. They’ve raised $100 million in private donations since 2009. They made the best offseason hire this side of Michigan, which stole Jim Harbaugh from the NFL.

And:

Hiring Herman was a stroke of genius. Texas’ Charlie Strong strongly considered hiring him as his offensive coordinator before bringing along Shawn Watson, and Herman has rejected multiple head coaching offers before.

The Cougars couldn’t have scored a bigger hit unless they landed Urban Meyer himself. Herman’s not yet 40, but has a wealth of experience in apprenticeships under everyone from Meyer to Mack Brown to David Bailiff. He was waiting for a plum job like the Cougars’ spot and has hit the ground running.

Yesterday Chris Low from ESPN wrote an excellent article on the best college football coaching jobs among the “Group of 5” (the schools in non-major conferences).  This list could also be read as “The Five Football Programs Most Likely to Join a Power 5 Conference”. UH made the top five along with Boise State, BYU, Cincinnati, and UCF. I doubt Boise or BYU would be strongly considered for the Big 12, Pac 12, or ACC… the three most likely conferences for UH. Our main competition for a bigger conference is Cincy and UCF. I think the Big 12 adding UH and Cincy would be a smart move. UH bringing in tons of local fans and Cincy brings a strong natural rival with West Virginia.

But, Mr. Peabody, what can I do for the cause?

Well Sherman, it’s a good question!  I’ve been thinking: Perhaps Mr. Fertitta is a very shrewd man. Maybe, just maybe, he got to be a self-made billionaire entrepreneur by being able to read the tea leaves and he knew that by pushing the envelope he could get a ball of momentum going that will propel UH into a larger conference.

via @UHPres

Just look at that above photo of President Khator on the floor of the Texas house members. Madam President doesn’t seem to be shying away from Mr. Fertitta’s comments, in fact, she’s standing right next to him!

My fellow Coogs, we can get this done! But we need your help. Please get season tickets and go to our sporting events. Wear your Red and White and cheer for the Coogs as loud as you can!

Also, be sure to help us take the fight to social media. Some groups that you should follow to help support the cause:

@HoustonBig12

@UH_P5

@CardiacCoogs

Let’s get ‘er done Coogs! Here’s our UH Fight song to help:

You don’t know this Houston

via Andrew Broadfoot, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Houston has “quietly become not just a powerhouse of intellect and culture, but a major player on the world stage”, according to an excellent article in USAToday Travel. Cheers to the greatest city in the world!

Thoughts on Tilman Fertitta and the Big 12

via Forbes

Tilman Fertitta, the chairman of UH’s Board of Regents, said he thinks UH should join the Big 12.  Mr. Fertitta also just so happens to be a billionaire and according to Forbes Magazine is the world’s richest restaurateur. His words carry weight in this city and state, so it’s very interesting he’s getting this vocal.

I’m not going to speculate on whether UH will end up leaving the AAC for the Big 12. What the Big 12 and the Texas politicians do behind closed doors is out of our control. What is in our control is how we are perceived as a fanbase: If we want to make the jump we have to have TDECU Stadium sold out for every game, we have to increase the number of season ticket holders we have, and last, we need everyone to stay the entire game and root for our Cougars… even if the game is a blowout… in our favor or not. You don’t complain about not being in a larger conference. Root for what we have right now damnit and be appreciative we have the awesome support we do receive and the respect as one of the best non-Power 5 schools this side of Boise.

Also, be proud and wear your red and white throughout the year. Rep the team hard and make our presence felt across the city. If we can do all of this and keep our support for the Coogs strong, and if we can back it up on the field, then those yellow bastards will hopefully stop calling us “Cougar High”…. hopefully we’ll at least have earned “Third Ward University.”

Cougars 2015 Schedule Released!

via UHCougars.com. Click to embiggen.

The Coogs just released their schedule for 2015! According to the official press release, the SMU game will be a Thursday game on ESPN2 and the away game verses Tulane will be on a Friday night. Also, the Coogs play Navy at home on Black Friday to close out the season and have some tough out of conference games at Louisville and hosting Vanderbilt. Should be an excellent season!

14 Houston hip-hop songs to get new UH coach Herman up to speed

UH Skyline
Welcome back to Houston coach Herman! Since you haven’t lived here since you were an assistant coach at Rice in 2008, I’ve put together a handy guide on Houston hip-hop to get you up to speed on the culture here in the land of the trill (just in case you haven’t learned yet… trill = true + real). Plus, I doubt you were able to pickup much culture from the Rice students, other than maybe culture of the math lab (seriously, Ruck Fice!).

Most of the young kids around the city that you’ll be recruiting during your tenure in the H will be well-versed in the local culture and music scene. This guide won’t make you completely fluent, but it’ll put you miles ahead of those poseurs in College Station and Waco. This list is by no means comprehensive or a “best-of” list, but just enough to dip your toes in the culture:

Fat Pat – “Tops Drop”

The late Fat Pat’s song Tops Drop is one of the first classic Houston songs that crossed over across race and class lines. Almost every Houstonian of a certain age group goes wild when this track comes on. It’s a laid-back ode to putting the top down and riding around showing off your car.

Houston has a very unique car culture that goes hand-in-hand with it’s vibrant music scene. You’ll see lots of cars around the city like this showing off the culture. Not everyone understands it, but then again, not everyone understands why some redneck needs a pair of nuts hangin’ from his trailer hitch.

Lil Keke – “Southside”

This song also took over the local airwaves around the time “Tops Drop” came out and remains another legendary Houston song to this day.

DJ DMD, Fat Pat, &Lil Keke – “25 Lighters”

25 Lighters is another laid-back ode, this time courtesy of Port Arthur native DJ DMD with some help from the aforementioned Fat Pat and Lil Keke.

You can still ride around the Space City and hear this song blasting out of speakers. It’s so legendary in the city that it inspired ZZ Top to do a remake.

Mike Jones, Slim Thug, & Paul Wall – “Still Tippin”

This song blew up and took the underground Houston hip-hop scene nationwide in 2004. Soon the H-Town’s syrupy sound was influencing music all over the country.

Paul Wall – “Sittin Sideways”

Paul Wall aka The People’s Champ is a master of making laid back music for the slab. “Sittin Sideways” came out a few months after “Still Tippin” blew up and another Houston classic was cemented.

This video is incredible for the introducing the world to slabs with horns on the hood. If there’s anything more Texan than having horns on your car, I’ve yet to find it:

Paul Wall, Mike Jones, and Bun B – “They Don’t Know”

This song is like an audio Urban Dictionary guide to Houston’s underground hip-hop culture.

UGK – “Use Me Up”

Picking just one song from Port Arthur duo UGK’s catalog is damn near impossible. Seriously, just listen to every to every song off of every album. I changed the song here at least five times but ultimately settled on this classic from their first album.

This track is a remake of the Bill Withers classic track “Use Me” and the video from 1992 features Pimp C rockin a Nirvana t-shirt.

Geto Boys – “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster”

Such a silky smooth track by the 5th Ward legends. The Geto Boys were the first group to put the H-Town on the hip-hop map nationwide. This track blew up once Austinite Mike Judge included the track in his cult classic film Office Space.  When you feel like cruising around the city feeling like a boss, this track is for you.

Beyonce – “No Angel”

Okay, before you wonder why I included Queen Bey on this list, just remember Rap = Music; Hip-Hop = The culture that rap is a part of… and no lady represents the Houston hip-hop culture better than Mrs. Carter. And plus, she’s “Mrs. Third Ward” and we’re Third Ward University. In this excellent video you can see the Moody Towers in the background.

Devin The Dude – “Lacville ’79”

While a lot of songs have emcees talking about all the money and nice things they have, Devin’s classic Lacville ’79 is about being broke and driving a hooptie.

Lil’ Troy – “Wanna Be a Baller”

Another Houston classic! RIP to Fat Pat and his brother Big Hawk.

Bun B – “Draped Up”

Holy hell this song goes hard! This is Bun B’s first single off his debut solo album Trill. Salih Williams produced another classic Houston song that still gets the crowd going wild when it comes on ten years later.

Geto Boys – “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me”

The Geto Boys masterpiece about life growing up in poverty in the Bloody Nickle… better known as Houston’s notorious Fifth Ward.

Oh, and uh, Bushwick Bill, 1/3rd of the Geto Boys was in an argument with his wife when she shot him, which led to one of the greatest album covers ever:

Yes, that’s a real photo of Buchwick Bill in the hospital after getting shot

Slim Thug, Paul Wall, & Bun B – “UH Fight”

The most important song on the list! During the Coogs’ legendary 2011 undefeated regular season, Houston legends Slim Thug, Paul Wall, and Bun B made this song to pump up the Cougar faithful. Still a dope track to this day.

Bonus – “Womp Womp”

One of the best songs our incredible band plays during UH games to pump up the Cougar faithful. Get used to hearing this one a lot coach! The lyrics include the words, “I’m talkin’ bout the Cougars!” which is the origin of this site’s tagline.

Conclusion:

There you have it coach! Hopefully this guide gives you a good overview of the city. Next Steps: You’re going to need an official UH slab to ride around the city in. May I propose some mockups?:

UH Slab
UH Slab 2
That’s our boy Keenum on the trunk! YEEEEAAAAH! Coach, you want to have the UH faithful eating out of your hand? Put Keenum on the trunk of your candy Cougar red Cadillac and swang on them losers from SMU!  GO COOGS!

National Signing Day Recap!

via @UHCougarFB

Over at the official Houston Cougars website there’s a pretty awesome recap of the new Coog recruits for 2015. Some interesting tidbits: Three tight ends, three offensive lineman (four if ATH Kam Eloph ends up on the line). Seems like Coach Herman wants to play some old school, smash-mouth football.

Cougar beat writer Joseph Duarte also has a good recap on the Chron’s website.

Coogs flip massive recruit from Ok State

via @Coogs57

Joshua Jones, a massive recruit from Bush High School in Richmond, Texas, has flipped his commitment from Oklahoma State to join the hometown Houston Cougars! Jones is a three-star 6’6″ 270 lbs. offensive lineman who also had offers from TCU, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Illinois, and Missouri among others.

After receiving commits from Kam Eloph and Jarrid Williams, Coach Herman and staff are still building out their O-line. Football is won in the trenches and hopefully this sets the Coogs offense up nicely in the future.

Player profiles on Scout here and here on 24/7 Sports.

Congrats to Sebastian Vollmer on winning the Super Bowl!

I didn’t think the Pats would win, but after one of the best Super Bowls ever the Pats took down the Seahawks 28-24. Congrats to UH alumnus and Patrio lineman Sebastian Vollmer on the win!  Also, a big congrats on the win to Patriots receivers coach Chad O’Shea, another UH alumnus!