PASADENA CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Running back Michael Hayes #29 of the Houston Cougars carries the ball against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on September 18 2010 in Pasadena California. UCLA won 31-13. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Case Keenum should put up huge numbers against this group, but is that in the best interests of the program?
Those wanting to see the Houston Cougar football team test itself against top competition will be sorely disappointed in 2011. The balance of Houston's non-conference schedule became public on Wednesday, as sportsnetwork.com reported that Georgia State will visit the Cougars.
Now, the schedule is by no means set in stone. Just ask TCU, who just got dumped by Texas Tech. (Say, do you think the Horned Frogs might be looking for a game?) But barring any changes, the Coogs' non-conference foes will be UCLA and Georgia State at home, and road contests with North Texas and Louisiana Tech. Georgia State is in just its second year of football existence (Houston will be just their second-ever 1-A opponent), and none of the other three opponents made a bowl game in 2010.
The Conference USA slate doesn't look like it will help out the Strength of Schedule, either, as East division powers Southern Mississippi and Central Florida figure to rotate off the schedule.
Now I understand that playing three BCS foes a year may bite you (as it did in '10) more often than it makes you look good (as it did in '09), but this is the type of schedule that will put Houston very near the bottom of 1-A in SOS. To me, that's embarrassing. How will playing Louisiana Tech give us an indication of how good we are? How can the athletics department tout Case Keenum as a Heisman contender with that schedule? If I had a vote, I couldn't give it to him in good conscience if he threw for 6,000 yards this coming season, and I'm a fan.
Granted, Boise State built itself into a national power by playing one (often mediocre) BCS-conference foe a year, but that doesn't make it the only way. I want to see this program grab the attention of the city, the state, and the nation (not to mention the recruits) by playing somebody who matters. I want to see us prove that we are worthy of playing in a better conference by beating teams from those conferences.
I'm open to being talked off the ledge, but I find the schedule, as is, incredibly disappointing.