Top 50 Countdown: No. 35 Houston Cougars

Bold Predictions

Houston’s record will be better without Tom Herman. There’s enough back on both sides of the ball to expect a run at the conference title. The offense won’t miss a beat plugging Kyle Allen into a system that won’t change much under Major Applewhite. The defense will still get it done with a mix of returning talent and fresh faces that’s good enough to play at the same high level as last year.

Quarterback Kyle Allen will be a Heisman contender. This isn’t that far of a stretch. Allen was a super recruit and burst onto the scene with Texas A&M as a freshman back in 2014. He hit some rough patches and lost the confidence of head coach Kevin Sumlin, but he has all the tools to be special in this offense. Plus, he’s got a solid group of receivers and an offensive line that should be ready to rock after a year of seasoning. It could all add up to some eye-popping numbers in the fall.

The defense will actually be better than last year. I know, I know. Starting middle linebacker Steven Taylor is gone, and the coaching staff must replace both corners and two linebackers. But leading tackler LB Matthew Adams returns as does the disruption of DT Ed Oliver. Mix it all with a good hire in Mark D’On0frio at defensive coordinator, and the Cougar D will be ready to get after it again.

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I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t see a significant drop off in defensive performance coming this year. Corners take a while to get good and I think Winchester will be good this year. The other side is certainly a question mark, but if the DL is doing its job, which it will, the secondary won’t have to cover for long. I expect our safeties to be really good this year.

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Is it possible for Winchester go get worse? He was terrible last year.

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Precisely. He had a full year to assess his weaknesses and improve. If he can’t, it’s because he’s not a good enough athlete. But, I just don’t think that’s the case. I think we’ll see tremendous improvement from him.

Only thing that worries me is the secondary. UH doesn’t have that guy like they’ve had the last two seasons ( William Jackson, Howard Wilson )

Not worry about the QB. I do think CMA will make the playbook easier than what Ward had for the last two years. He won’t be like Levine where he will leave a struggling QB out there too long if they’re struggling.

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