Saturday, December 03, 2011

Houston Faces Southern Miss for C-USA Championship. What Does It Mean?

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 2, 2011) On the night before the biggest game in recent football history, questions abound about what it all means; win or lose, for the Houston Cougars?

When the No. 6 Houston Cougars (12-0, 8-0 C-USA) hit the field at Robertson Stadium at 11:00am to face the No. 23 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (10-2, 6-2 C-USA) they will be looking at completing their best regular season in school history.

The Cougars will be facing their first ranked opponent of the 2011 season in Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles have lost two games this season; Marshall (26-21) on Sept. 10 and UAB (34-31) on Nov. 17.

Houston and Southern Miss have met 13 times previously, with the Golden Eagles holding the edge 8-5.
The game notes issued by the University of Houston Athletic Communications Office states the following facts and statistics:

·        Houston makes its third appearance in the Conference USA Championship Game and will be hosting for the second time.

·        UH is 1-1 in the C-USA title tilt, with that win coming in 2006 (34-20) vs. Southern Miss at Robertson Stadium. Houston fell at East Carolina in 2009 (38-32).

·        Houston owns a 4-3 series lead vs. Southern Miss at home, but the Golden Eagles own an 8-5 advantage in the series overall.

·        Houston has won three consecutive at Robertson Stadium vs. USM.

·        Head Coach Kevin Sumlin is 1-1 vs. Southern Miss, including a 50-43 win in 2009 at Robertson Stadium.

·        Houston looks for its 13th win on the season, which would extend this season’s school record total. Houston is also looking for its 13th consecutive win, which would also extend the school’s longest winning streak.

·        A 13th win by Houston would be tied for the sixth highest win total of the modern era.

In addition to these stats; many issues arise depending on the outcome of the game.

Let’s look at a few of these issues individually.

If Houston beats Southern Miss and gets a bid to a BCS bowl game, what will the status of head coach Kevin Sumlin be?

His name has already been floated around as a potential replacement at numerous jobs, including Arizona State and Texas A&M.

I do not think the University of Houston would want to lose Sumlin at this point. He is too much of an asset to the university and I do believe university administration will go the any lengths to keep him.

If the Cougars advance to a BCS bowl game, it would be, more than likely the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

That would be the biggest and most prestigious bowl game appearance in school history.

With the game being played in New Orleans, hundreds if not thousands of Cougar fans would hit the road for the Big Easy.

Can you imagine the majority of the Superdome filled with screaming, red and white clad Cougar fans?

The game would be nothing more than a post-season home game for the Cougars.

As a result of the C-USA championship and the BCS bowl game appearance, the Cougars could be expected to use the momentum of 2011 to next season and beyond.

Many things ride on today’s game, but the only issue on the mind of the Cougar players and their staff is beating Southern Miss.

If they accomplish that feat, the rest will take care of itself.

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