After much speculation, the University of Houston's athletics department made it official on Saturday morning by announcing it on their facebook page: ESPN's hugely popular college football pregame show, College GameDay will be in town next week for Houston's game against SMU.
This announcement is a huge boost to UH's ever-increasing national media presence. Between Case Keenum's assault on the NCAA record book and Houston's 10-0 season, there have been a lot of eyes on the Cougars, already. Keenum's Heisman Trophy candidacy, and UH's BCS bowl hopes, while both long shots, will both benefit greatly from having all eyes on them on Saturday.
At least, they will if Keenum and Houston have a good performance against the Mustangs.
The Cougars struggled early on in the year against teams like UCLA, UTEP and Louisiana Tech. When an already weak schedule got even weaker (Rice, UAB, Tulane), the Cougars looked even stronger. SMU is the first decent team Houston has played since they seemed to turn their season around, and make the step from good to great. The game was already an opportunity for the Cougars to show the nation that they are about more than a weak schedule. Now they'll get to do so in front of a huge national audience.
The announcement will also be extremely exciting for Houston's fan base. Camping out early to try and grab a strategic spot behind the show's hosts is a tradition for schools around the country, and one the rabid Cougar faithful will now get to participate in.
Then there is the question of who UH's guest picker will be. Every week, an alumnus of the host school makes a cameo on the show to pick the week's games against the other hosts. (If you're not familiar with the show, but have heard the well-known line, "Not so fast, my friend!", this is where that comes from.) Houston provides a lengthy, well-known list of alumni who would could fill the spot, from Hakeem Olajuwon to Clyde Drexler to Carl Lewis to ESPN's own analyst, Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware.
As a Cougar fan, it's difficult not to get excited about the whole experience. Now all that's left to do is, you know, win the game.