"Don't overlook the Houston Cougars, who have a new head coach this year in former Texas quarterback Major Applewhite. As the Cougars prepare for the start of the season, Phil Steele's College Football Preview ranks them as the No. 36 team in the nation.
"Quarterback Kyle Allen is likely to start after coming to Houston from Texas A&M, and he has started 14 games in his career. He is big and strong at 6'3" and 210 pounds, and he has an outstanding target in wide receiver Linell Bonner. Bonner caught 98 passes for 1,118 yards last year, and he has excellent hands. While he has not been a breakaway threat to this point in his career, he is capable of demoralizing opponents as he piles up catch after catch.
"Look for defensive tackle Ed Oliver to lead the defense. He isn't big for his position at 6'2" and 290 pounds, but he moves extremely well and came through 66 tackles last year and 22.5 were behind the line of scrimmage. He also has a knack for batting down passes as he times his jumps extremely well.
"The Cougars could break into the Top 15 with a notable start and have a chance to finish as a Top-10 team."