The 2010 Texas Bowl will give Houston a look at the surprisingly successful Baylor Bears, headed by former UH coach Art Briles.
The good news: Baylor is breaking a 16-year bowl drought. The semi-bad news, in terms of the chances for a compelling football game: They'll be playing Illinois.
Illinois is an underperforming group of players who stumbled to a 6-6 record this year, mostly by running. They did beat some good Big Ten teams like Penn State and Northwestern, so they will present a bit of a test for the Bears, but they're not exactly a big draw or marquee name.
Baylor will take it happily, though, because they are back in a bowl, any bowl.
"We're excited, this is a long time coming for Baylor," Briles said. "This is a reward for the efforts that our football team has put forth and we're excited about going to Houston to represent Baylor University. For the University, our players, their families and our fans, it's a great location. We're fortunate that we're getting to stay in state and play a Big Ten opponent in such a great pro stadium like Reliant."
Baylor was 7-5 this year and beat Texas in Austin. (Then again, who didn't?) They're led by quarterback Robert Griffin, who got some chatter this year as a (very) dark horse candidate for the Heisman.
The Texas Bowl has had some good games in its relatively brief history, and while this year isn't the most high-profile match-up around, it could still be worth a look.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.