Too much weight will be put on OU game, regardless of outcome
When the Cougar football team kicks off on Saturday morning in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff they will be starting what is arguably the most important game in school history. Following a 13–1 season that saw them go 4–0 against teams ranked in the top 25, capped off with a win against №.9 Florida State University, expectations entering 2016 are sky high. Playing formidable opponents in your non-conference schedule can bode well for your team when it comes time for the College Football Playoff selection committee to choose the four teams they want in the playoff, but opening the season against a strong opponent could also prove to be a curse for the Cougars.
Oklahoma is the №3 team in the country and arguably the best team in the Big 12 Conference. As many know, the Big 12 has announced that they are actively seeking schools to help expand their conference, and the University of Houston is widely considered to be a front runner for selection. With that said, the Sept. 3 opener is considered by many to be a de facto tryout for the Cougars. If they win, the nation will finally give the team the notoriety that they have earned and all will agree that UH deserves to be added to the conference. However, if the Cougars are to lose to the Sooners, many will automatically assume that UH is not worthy of a shot in the Big 12, despite the fact OU is a year-in and year-out title contender in the country.
All things considered, too much weight is being put on this one game. The Cougars can lose to OU and will likely still run through their conference schedule and secure another New Year’s Six bowl game. Head coach Tom Herman has repeatedly stated that the goal is to win the American Athletic Conference, not just beat OU.
If Herman’s Cougars pull off the upset, it will thrust them into the national spotlight and playoff conversation for the remainder of the season. The team will then play Lamar University a week later at home, and then play the following Thursday on the road at Cincinnati. Three games in 12 days can be tough on any team and Houston must be careful not to have a proverbial victory hangover if they are to beat Oklahoma.