Dear UH football fans. I realize the Cougars lost to Vanderbilt by 41-24 on Saturday. I realize that 8-5 appears to be a more disappointing keg season than 9-4. I realize that AAC football is really nothing more than C-USA 2.0.
But that aside, the time for excuses is over. Not excuses for the team's performance. Excuses for your performance. Excuses for non-sellouts and large sections of empty seats in small stadiums. The time for excusing your non-performance as fans is over.
UH fans like to bitch about being treated as second-class citizens by the local media. They want the Chronicle featuring them on the front of the sports pages more than UT and A&M. But it's not just about team performance, or about the beat writer actually having graduated from UT and being biased against you.
If you want the media attention, if you want the same treatment as UT and A&M, then you have to earn it. You have to not only sellout every game, you've actually got to show up for the games. You want the media attention, then stop bitching about the placement of the stories in the Chron and instead actually click on the links and read the stories. Don't leave your whiny missives on your fan websites, leave them on the Chron website. Show them that you're reading the stories. That you care. But most important of all, show up at the damn stadium.
UH fans always have great excuses for not actually attending the games. The stadium's a dump. The parking's bad. They don't like Reliant's tailgating policies or they don't like BBVA Compass where the expensive seats have awful views of the game action.
Sometimes it's too hot. Or it's too humid. Or it's cold or raining or it's a weeknight or the game time is too early, or too late. There's the excuse about lousy competition or it's a holiday or some other nonsense.
Here's the deal. There's going to be a brand new stadium in 2014. On campus. Just like you've claimed to always want. There will be real seats instead of 1930-era concrete bleachers. The stadium will have all of the modern conveniences and fancy scoreboards. There's a parking garage and room for your idiotic tailgates. It's your stadium, not the Texans, not the Dynamo. Yours. So that place better be packed to the gills for every single football game.
Game times are going to change throughout the season. That's what happens when a team moves to a so-called higher profile conference that lets ESPN dictate all game times to best fit its programming schedule. You want more national media attention? Well this is the price that has to be paid. Whining won't help, and games with huge swatches of empty seats are really bad for the school's reputation, and no keyboard warrior will be able to combat the visual of empty seats like UH dealt with this past season for the Memphis and Cincinnati games.
Tony Levine appears to be building a good program. Seventeen of 2013's starters are returning, including QB John O'Korn and a dynamic group of receivers. There's a new offensive coordinator, Travis Bush, taking over from Doug Meacham who fled to TCU after taking over from Bush who took over on an interim basis in 2012.
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UH finally looks to have a decent defense. Coordinator David Gibbs has worked to change the unit's culture, simplifying schemes and stressing fundamentals. The Cougars led the country in turnover ratio in 2013 on the basis of a defensive unit that forced multiple turnovers a game.
The schedule's never going to be full of marquee games, not playing in the American Athletic Conference. And UH is not going to the Big 12 in any version of any conceivable future. But the school did make a step-up, it's getting attention on ESPN due to the TV contract.
The time for excuses from the fan base is over. There's a new stadium, a new conference, and games on ESPN. The team is winning, and it's loaded with talent. The only thing missing are the sell outs.
Fans can't use the Reliant excuse, or the BBBA Compass excuse this year. It's your team on your campus in a new stadium coming off a bowl appearance. You want respect in Houston? You want the same treatment as UT and A&M? Then stop sitting at your keyboard and whining on message boards. Show up and sell out the stadium for every single game like good fans do.