Earlier this month, the Houston Cougar football team was named to the "others receiving votes" category of the preseason coaches' poll. They were the 12th team listed in the category, meaning you could call the Coogs the #37 team in the country if you chose to view it that way.
Not bad for a 5-7 Conference USA team.
Any thoughts that the coaches' poll might be a fluke were erased on Saturday morning when the AP poll also featured the Cougars in the ORV category, one spot higher even, at #36.
But is that a good thing or a bad thing?
One could argue that the team doesn't deserve a preseason ranking, and that being listed is bad for them. As much as a program as the Cougars have built up, it took a couple key injuries for them to fall, not only out of the top 25, but out of bowl contention. Maybe the team needs to have an off-season free of hype to get their minds right.
On the other hand, when you become the big-time program that Houston thinks it is becoming, and strives to be, dealing with expectations is part of life, year in and year out. In 2009, after beating #5 Oklahoma State on the road, and Texas Tech at home, the Cougars were clearly unready to deal with the expectations of being a nationally ranked team, and they fell the next week to lowly UTEP. We're about to find out if Houston can handle it this time around.
It makes the upcoming season even a little bit more fun. I'm looking forward to it.