ElViento: This is the second installment in my “Conference USA vs. the World” series, a look at how UH and the rest of the conference have fared against differing levels of competition. Also see, C-USA vs. the ACC. All figures listed below are since 2005, the year that C-USA became cemented at its current twelve schools.
The Big XII Conference
Conference USA Record vs. the Big XII: 1-22 (.043)
Helping the Cause: Houston beat Oklahoma State in 2006, by a score of 34-25. However, the Coogs have lost two games to the Big XII, as well.
Making us Look Bad: Rice is on the hook for six of the twenty-two losses.
Toughest Opponent: UT-Austin and Texas Tech have each gone 6-0 against C-USA.
Punching Bag: Umm, Oklahoma State lost a game. Does that count? Their 2008 victory over UH evened the score on that one, however.
Ducking Us: Iowa State, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska have all neglected to schedule a C-USA team.
Most Impressive Only Win: In 2006, Kevin Kolb piled up 313 yards, 4 touchdowns and no picks against the team he originally verballed to out of high school, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. Houston went on to win 34-25, as Jackie Battle rushed for 108 yards, while Mark Hafner, Biren Ealy, Donnie Avery and Vincent Marshall each caught a pass for a score. The now recently-graduated Ernest Miller had a critical late-game pass breakup in the win.
Most Disappointing Loss: Central Florida won C-USA in 2007, and UT-Austin had a down year, with three Big XII losses, but the Longhorns still pulled out a 35-32 victory when the two teams met in Orlando.
Best Game: UCF’s loss to UT-Austin. The Knights trailed 23-10 in the third quarter, but rallied to take a 24-23 lead early in the fourth. It was not until Jamaal Charles’ 46-yard scamper for a score with 3:37 to play that the Longhorns could rest easy. UCF ended up losing by just three points, despite being outgained by 162 yards.
Biggest Blowout: Texas A&M hung a 66-8 loss on SMU in 2005, with Reggie McNeal throwing for 349 yards and 5 scores. Depressing factoid about that game: SMU was still good enough to beat Houston at Robertson later that year.
Moral Victory: A UAB team that won just two games in C-USA play nearly pulled off the unthinkable against Oklahoma in 2006, losing by just seven points, 24-17. The Blazers actually held a lead with as few as 16 minutes to go. This is no slouch OU team we’re talking about, either. The same Sooners won ten other games that year, but will be most remembered for a certain 43-42 loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Upcoming Schedule: Houston, Rice and UTEP play a pair of games against Big XII competition this year. The Coogs host Texas Tech before traveling to Oklahoma State. Rice plays roadies at Tech and OSU, and the Miners host Kansas and travel to Austin. The Longhorns will also host UCF, while the Jayhawks will host Southern Miss. Tulsa travels to Norman to take on the Sooners, and UAB will make its way to Kyle Field for a match-up against the Aggies of Texas A&M.
Best Hope for Victory: Really, none of the above games look better than a coin flip for C-USA. Hold out hope for Houston against Texas Tech, Southern Miss at Kansas, or UTEP hosting Kansas (if the Miners can find something resembling a defense.)
Hide the Children: It’s going to take some minor miracles for Rice to stay close at Oklahoma State. Same goes for Central Florida at UT-Austin.
Cougar Connection: After splitting two games with Oklahoma State, the Cougars travel to Stillwater this year to finish that series. At the same time, Houston begins a home-and-home with Texas Tech. You know, that one Big XII team from Texas willing to schedule us.
Did You Know?: Houston, Rice and SMU has some level of familiarity with the Big XII, as they used to be part of the Southwest Conference, alongside UT-Austin, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.