David Klingler killed at UH, then went to the NFL and, um, got killed.

Football U: Go Coogs!

In this week's edition of Football U., pundit Richard Connelly gets the start as John Lomax rests for tomorrow's walk.

Championship Game fever is in the air!! Can you feel it?

Probably not. But don't blame UH. They've done their part by getting to a title game, which is more than UT or A&M can claim.

The Cougars are looking to sell out Robertson Stadium, although we're betting a lot of ticket-buyers may have second thoughts when the gametime temperature is hovering near the 40-degree mark. Robertson Stadium definitely ain't Soldier Field when it comes to hardy followers who thumb their noses (and their flasks) at a little chilliness.

UH football has a pedigree as long and luminous as the university itself, which is almost — almost — as old as Leslie Nielsen of the Naked Gun series.

The commuter school has long struggled mightily to support its team, even when the Coogs were regularly beating UT and going to the Cotton Bowl as the Southwestern Conference champion.

Those glory days were short-lived, though, and have been forever tarnished by The Dark Years, also known as the John Jenkins Era.

Jenkins ran the loathsome run-and-shoot offense (or, as Buddy Ryan put it, the "chuck n' duck")and is responsible for what is the single sickest game UH football history.

With soon-to-be-NFL-bust QB David Klingler, Jenkins's teams went wild, each touchdown pass in the Astrodome marked by an air-raid siren that was supposed to enliven the game-day experience for those fans who showed up.

UH scheduled Division 1-AA opponent Eastern Washington in 1990, and Jenkins kept Klingler in as he threw 11, yes, 11 TD passes. And even on the 11th, as the 4,000 or so fans remaining in the yawningly empty and quiet Dome embarrassedly clapped their hands, that goddamn siren went off, its silly, supposedly intimidating blast echoing forlornly off the walls.

Klingler played three and a half quarters — you never know when EWU might come back! — and killed any chance he had of winning the Heisman because voters assumed his stats were tainted. Klingler later tried to salvage his chances by saying at the end of the year:

"If we'd been trying to run up the score on Eastern Washington, it would have been 160-21."

The vote-getting strategy failed.

That's the legacy UH football is trying to overcome. Let's hope a C-USA championship is a start.

Yeah, yeah, but will UH win, or what?

The picks:

Wake Forest - Georgia Tech: The ACC Championship game, with exactly none of the teams ABC wants in it. "At least Duke didn't make it," is as enthusiastic as they get at the ABC/ESPN World HQ. Georgia Tech's Reggie Ball has somehow managed not to mess up too many games this year (well, except against arch-rival Georgia), and he continues his surprisingly competent streak. Georgia Tech 24-21.

USC - UCLA: There is no way in hell that USC loses this. It'd be like.....like....like UT losing to A&M or something. Pete Carroll is no Mack Brown, though. USC 34-14.

Oklahoma - Nebraska: The Big 12 Championship. You think you hear grumbling about Mack Brown around here, try ABC/ESPN World HQ, which is apparently cornering the market on grumbling these days. This game means a whole lot....to people who live in Oklahoma and Nebraska. The rest of us search desperately for a reason to care. Oklahoma 20-18.

Arkansas - Florida: This game's not on ABC, so it's a pretty good matchup. It's not often a team goes into a championship game while in the midst of a quarterback controversy, but they do things differently in Arkansas. Florida has its own weirdness when it comes to the QB slot, but somehow they've found a way to win all year. That ends after this game, but they have one last victory in them. Florida 29-23.

UH - Southern Miss: We're pretty sure Art Briles isn't going to roll up 84 points on the Golden Eagles. Fortunately for UH fans, we're also pretty sure he's the kind of guy who wouldn't do it even if he could. The Coogs reward their shivering fans with a title, winning 28-20.

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