There have been a lot of comments this season relating to the Coogs’ competition in the American Athletic Conference. Over and over again - typically from the same handful of posters - there have been comments suggesting that: there is no excuse to lose against X-team; X-team is barely above a high school team in talent level; if X-coach doesn’t win the conference championship this season, he should be fired; we are going to lose against X-teams, there is no chance for us to win; etc…
I will say first, that accepting mediocrity is unacceptable, and I believe our Chairman of the BOR (Fertitta) President (Khator) and VP of Athletics (Pezman) will not accept mediocrity. We should all hope and work towards Houston being invited to a perceived bigger/better/richer conference, we should all hope and work to be perennial championship contenders, and we should all hope and work to compete to retain our successful coaches. However, at this point in time, these things are NOT OUR REALITY!
Houston, since the fall of the SWC, has won three conference championships: 1996 (CUSA), 2006 (CUSA), and 2015 (AAC); has played in four conference championship games: 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2015; has gone 4-9 in bowl games (qualifying in most years since the Briles era). Hell, even in the SWC, we had only one outright championship, 1978, and three shared championships, the last one being 1984. That is one conference championship per decade. Rice has more SWC championships than us!
So, who are we on par with? Tulane has as many CUSA championships (in the pre-CUSA championship game era) as Houston, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the championship game era of CUSA had more appearances (four) in the championship game and won more of them (two), UCF has more appearances in CUSA and AAC championship games and has won far more championships than us in that same time (five in seven appearances), Temple has more appearances than we do in the AAC championship game. Tulane and UCF have enjoyed undefeated seasons in this time, where we have never had one.
People need a reality check, some sort of anchor to how ludicrous and foolish their statements are. I don’t say any of this to send anyone into a massive depression, but on what eff’ing Earth do we as Coogfans get off thinking we are better than our current conference mates?!? Where in the hell does anyone get off on talking smack about teams in our conference when faced with the reality of our history as a football playing university?!?
The West is open for the taking this year, and I think we will make it to the championship game! Having said that, there are plenty of reasons we could lose some more games this year, just like there are plenty of reasons we lost at Tech, and that doesn’t mean we need to immediately fire the HC! We might not win the conference championship, and that doesn’t mean we “played down to our competition.” Judging by our history, the competition has been pretty good actually, or maybe we haven’t been that good. Either way, this is where we are as a program. It isn’t an excuse for fans to NOT show up to games, because these teams supposedly have no cachet. Most of them have just as much if not more than us.
Yes, we are one of the few who was in a power conference and lost our spot (Temple, USF, Cincy, and UConn - our conference mates being others). Yes, it is painful to know that we have competed at top levels, but now feel relatively stuck. We have now been playing outside of the SWC longer than we were in. The time has long gone by that we need to stop disrespecting our conference mates, because we only are disrespecting ourselves, our coaches, our players who have chosen to represent our university, and the University of Houston itself.
Now… Let’s go win the American this year.