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Posts Tagged ‘David Piland’

This Must Be Rock Bottom, Houston Hopes

This is the bottom, I think – and Houston hopes. The most damning factoid that could be used to define a team is that it forced five turnovers yet lost the turnover battle, as the Cougars did on Saturday night. U.C.L.A. had five turnovers; Houston had six. What the heck is going on here? Through three weeks, there has be no more disappointing team in college football. No team has suffered a more inexplicable loss, with all due to respect to Pittsburgh, Arkansas and Wyoming, among others. Of the 27 teams that notched double-digit wins last fall, how many seem assured of not reaching that mark in 2012? I’ll say three: Arkansas State, Arkansas… and Houston.

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    No. 30: Houston

    Houston had a simple modus operandi under Kevin Sumlin: push the ball, push it down field, push on first down, push it on third down. Never settle. Maintain this non-stop pressure in the passing game, going for broke even in short-yardage situations. Act, making the opposition react, and never vice versa. This is how Houston kept teams off balance; this is how the Cougars dominated offensively. Despite the coaching change and the loss of several key contributors, this mentality won’t change under Tony Levine, the former U.H. assistant who earned a nice and well-deserved promotion last December. The truth is that it’s not broken – why would Levine and Houston change a thing? The Cougars will continue going full-bore, keeping the same pedal-to-the-floor mentality that propelled this program to such great heights a season ago, as doing anything less would signal that something was wrong with the way U.H. approached the game over the last few seasons. If dominating Conference USA was wrong, here’s guessing that Levine and U.H. don’t want to be right.

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      The Year in Review: Houston (13-1, 8-0)

      In chronological order, every Houston three-and-out, not counting any from out of victory formation, on the 2011 season:

      U.C.L.A. (W, 38-34)
      1. 2nd quarter (10-7): sack, incomplete, complete.

      North Texas (W, 48-23)
      2. 4th quarter (48-23): complete, incomplete, incomplete.

      Louisiana Tech (W, 35-34)
      3. 1st quarter (0-0): run, incomplete, incomplete.
      4. 2nd quarter (7-17): run, complete, complete.

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        New-Look Roster Meets New-Look Staff

        Houston needed to score 40 points in the TicketCity Bowl. Not to win, mind you; Houston needed to score only 14 points to beat unfocused Penn State, which seemed to be going through the motions in Dallas, clearly wanting the season to end as soon as possible, not surprisingly. The Cougars needed to score 40 points to join a rather exclusive club: With another 40-point outburst — a total the Cougars reached nine times during the regular season — Houston would have joined Nebraska as the only F.B.S. program to average at least 50 points per game twice in its history. Houston had already been there once, when led by Heisman-winning quarterback Andre Ware in 1989.

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          10 Non-B.C.S. Quarterbacks on the Rise

          We might not have known it at the time, or even considered the possibility, but we may have just witnessed the greatest era for non-B.C.S. conference quarterbacks in college football history. Think back to 2007, when Colt Brennan set a handful of N.C.A.A. records en route to a trip to Manhattan for the Heisman ceremony. Since 2008, Kellen Moore and Case Keenum have gone toe-to-toe in the record books, with Keenum winning the battle — most career touchdowns, completions and passing yards — but Moore winning the war, posting the most wins by a quarterback in F.B.S. history. And there have been others who slid under the radar, thanks to one reason or another: Dan LeFevour, Chase Clement, Paul Smith, David Johnson and Max Hall, among others. Has there ever been a better age for non-B.C.S. conference quarterbacks?

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            At Some Stops, Planning for the Future

            Preparations have begun in Houston and Boise for life after the current record-setting quarterback leaves town. This isn’t a comforting time for either program, as well as a few others nearing the point where it must say goodbye to an old hand, but such is life in college football: four years if you’re lucky, three — or less — if you’re not, and it always pays to be prepared. A few schools have wisely thrown the heir apparent into the mix, knowing there will come a time when Kellen Moore’s shoes will be filled by another, but others are tempting fate by riding the 2011 starter and letting 2012 remain a distant point in the future.

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              Say Hello to the New Guys

              Kevin Sumlin has two options under center, neither proven.

              It’s amazing what can change in a matter of mere days, as Houston can attest. Prior to Saturday, the Cougars had their sights set on a B.C.S. run, a perfect regular season and a conference title. Case Keenum, the record-setting quarterback, was eyeballing both the N.C.A.A. record book and a Heisman run. It’s now Tuesday, and both team and individual goals no longer exist. What’s next for Houston? A rebuilding job done on the fly, now that both Keenum and Cotton Turner, his backup, are done for the season. The keys to Houston’s high-powered offense now lie in the hands of two true freshmen, both of whom were destined for a redshirt campaign before the position was decimated by injuries.

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                The Countdown

                A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.