Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan round out the first five spots.
The Cougars had been ranked 15th in the AP's preseason poll, coming off a strong 13-1 season last year, capped by a win in the Peach Bowl over Florida State.
With their rout of Oklahoma — who the Cougars hope to join in the Big XII next year — UH proved their preseason ranking wasn't just hype. Worth noting is that UH is the only squad in the new AP rankings, other than independent Notre Dame, that does not belong to a Power Five conference.
Also Tuesday, UH moved to 7th in the Amway coaches poll. Previously, the Cougars were ranked 13th.