I’ve been lamenting all season the inability of the Houston Cougars to put together a complete game, which to me is the reason they came into Saturday’s game against Tulane at 4-4 on the season, instead of 5-3 or 6-2. So the Cougars came out on Saturday and did what I’ve been wishing they would do.
They put together a complete game, defeating Tulane 42-14 to better their record for the season to 5-4. QB Case Keenum was 29-for-40 with 384 yards and four TDs as the Cougars accumulated a total of 693 yards on offense. Tight end Mark Hafner caught 11 passes for 91 yards and a TD, and running back Bryce Beall had 21 rushes for 176 yards and three TDs.
The Coogs shocked the crowd of 23,522 by jumping out to the 21-7 halftime lead, but then they came back out and repeated the first half, once again outscoring Tulane 21-7 in the second half.
At 5-4, the Coogs still have an outside shot for a bowl game, but they probably need to win two of their remaining three games (Tulsa, UTEP, and Rice) to get a bowl nod. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. And as a Cougar fan, I’m hoping it doesn’t happen.
I’m hoping this doesn’t happen because I don’t want the Cougars to be rewarded for mediocrity. In past years, I’ve wanted the bowl game because I saw this as a sign of the program returning to some kind of prominence. But this year the team’s been slipping. They’ve been sloppy. They’ve been mediocre.
And mediocre teams don’t deserve to go to bowl games. Even when that school is my alma mater.
But a team that does deserve the bowl invite that is most surely coming is the Rice Owls. The Owls soared to the 31-7 halftime lead over Army, then held on for the 38-31 victory to improve their record to (7-3) on the season. Chase Clement was 21-for-27 for 378 yards and three TDs, while rushing for 84 yards and a TD. Jarett Dillard caught four passes for 144 yards and two TDs.
With seven wins, the Owls are bowl eligible for the second time in three years, and this is after having not gone to a bowl game for over 40 years.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTES:
The path to the BCS national title game for Texas Tech is clear. Win the next three games, and it’s the title game for sure. Without a doubt. Because there are now only two major conference undefeated teams in the country. Alabama and Texas Tech. Alabama is ranked one in the BCS, and Tech is number two.
Facing their third ranked team in three weeks, and their second straight Top Ten ranked team, Texas Tech roared to a 56-20 win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Tech scored 14 points in each quarter of the game, and they never let Oklahoma State get into the game.
Graham Harrell was an impressive 40-for-50 for 456 yards and six touchdowns. Stud receiver Michael Crabtree caught eight passes for 89 yards with two touchdowns – while grabbing the national lead with 18 receiving touchdowns. The Red Raiders put up 692 yards of total offense, and scored a touchdown on seven straight possessions. But as impressive as those totals are, perhaps the most impressive stat of the game is that the unheralded Tech defense held Oklahoma State to a season low 20 points.
Texas Tech has the next week off, then head off to Norman to take on Oklahoma on November 22 before finishing up the regular season against Baylor. Should Tech win those two games, the Red Raiders will then play in the Big 12 title game against the winner of the Big 12 North, which will probably be Missouri. And from there it’s on to the BCS title game.
The next stop for Texas Tech is Oklahoma. The Sooners moved up to the fifth spot in the BCS ranks with the 66-28 win over Texas A&M in College Station. The Sooners got 38 first half points, then added another 28 points in the third period. Since losing to Texas, the Sooners have outscored the opposition by 231 points over the last four games.
Texas meanwhile, the last team to defeat Oklahoma, moved up to number three in the BCS by stomping Baylor 45-21. Colt McCoy threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns – his fourth game with 300-plus passing yards this season.
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Alabama is the number one team in the BCS as the Crimson Tide improved their record to 10-0 with the 27-21 overtime victory over LSU. Alabama clinched the SEC West title, and will be taking on Florida in the SEC title game. Like Texas Tech, Alabama has three games left – Mississippi State, Auburn, then Florida. Should they win out, they’ll be facing Texas Tech. But Florida, which is the number four BCS team, could instead go to the BCS title game if they end up beating Alabama.
Penn State dropped to number eight in the BCS, and probably cost itself a shot at the BCS title by losing to Iowa 24-23 when Iowa hit a 31-yard field goal with one second on the clock. – John Royal