Happy New Year, Texas College Football Teams!

The University of Houston Cougars - 30.

The Penn State University Nittany Lions - 14.

You didn’t really think I could slide past this one without saying something about the UH Cougars’ 30-14 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions in that contest up in Dallas they are calling the TicketCity Bowl, did you? Well, I couldn’t, but I will try to keep it short. First of all, it capped a brilliant year for Texas Division I universities in 2011-12 bowl games:

TCU defeated Louisiana Tech, 31-24, in the Poinsettia Bowl;

Texas defeated California, 21-10, in the Holiday Bowl;

Baylor defeated Washington, 67-56, in the Alamo Bowl;

Texas A&M defeated Northwestern, 33-22, in the Meineke Bowl;

and yesterday, …

Houston defeated Penn State, 30-14, in the TicketCity Bowl.

I’m not sure if the State of Texas has ever run the table in five bowl game victories in the same season of play, but it happened this year, and most impressively in every instance. Way to go, Texas teams!

And that that’s taking nothing away from the Sam Houston State Bearkats, who already have knocked off Montana State, 49-13, and Montana, 31-28, on their undefeated way to the national title game at a lower level of competition in college football. This coming Saturday, the SHS ‘Kats face North Dakota State in the NCAA Sub-Division I Championship Game to be played at Frisco, Texas. Our best to the Bearkats for a clean 100% Texas sweep of things in college football bowl action. In the meanwhile, the rest of us who carewill stop to celebrate what the bigger clubs have done.

We Cougar fans, of course, had much to be happy about yesterday. It was wonderful watching the great but almost wholly ignored Case Keenum finish his career with 532 yards passing and three TD passes in his final game against the fifth ranked pass defense in the nation. If putting it on one of the defensive beasts of the Big Ten doesn’t prove to critics that the UH success in 2011 was no accident arising from a weak schedule, nothing will.

We, of course, or maybe I should say, “many of us,” ¬†are most pleased to now think that we have come out of the coaching change pretty darn well at UH. Kevin Sumlin did a great job at UH before his departure for a “better opportunity” with Texas A&M, but this guy Tony Levine talks, walks, and coaches like a man who was born to be our Cougar mentor. First, he almost breaks up when UH names him interim coach. Then he says all the right things that Sumlin or no one since Bill Yeoman has said about taking the coaching job on a full-time basis.

A Tony Levine paraphrase: “My family and I love Houston. UH is a destination school, not a stepping stone to a ‘better opportunity’ elsewhere. To take the UH job seriously is to understand that the coach here needs to see it as more than just a job, but as a dedication to the long run of taking this program up to the level it deserves to be.” (And this last comment is my favorite thought from Tony’s job acceptance media conference:) “I hope you enjoy this moment today ¬†because it’s the last ‘UH Names New Football Coach’ conference you are going to see around here for years to come.”

Yesterday also gave us a strong clue that the man Tony Levine can coach and lead too. His players didn’t just douse him with Gatorade at the end of their bowl game win. They picked him up and joyously carried him down the field. So, even if it is a bit early, I’d like to be among the first to thank former Coach Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M for apparently leaving the UH Cougar football program now in better, truer hands than those in which it previously rested.

There’s nothing like hope that is anchored to some evidence of the truth to get the new year off to a good start.

Happy New Year again, Everybody!

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4 Responses to “Happy New Year, Texas College Football Teams!”

  1. Sam Says:

    Indeed, it was a good (no a great) bowl season for Texas teams! Hooray for the Lone Star of Texas!!!!

    This bowl season is one for the memory books!

  2. Ed Szymczak Says:

    Nice article, Bill. The Texas teams can be very proud of their performance & success.
    Hopefully the UH alumni can build their numbers and team support with the recent success.

  3. Tom Trimble Says:

    And what about those ultra-north Texas teams?

    The Oklahoma roster I saw showed 64 Texans to only 41 Oklahomans (?) while the OK State roster showed 70/36 respectively. Ouch!

    Thanks, Oklahoma, for educating our kids.

  4. Wayne Roberts Says:

    I wouldn’t consider what Oklahoma “schools” do as education. OU should be given the death penalty for its NCAA violations across all its programs, including women’s sports. Remember, Oklahoma was founded on cheating: “In the beginning there was the Oklahoma Land Rush which institutionalized cheating within the state.”

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