ESPN giveth, and ESPN taketh away. On the heels of the University of Houston’s 73–17 obliteration of Tulane on Thursday night, college football’s kingmaker announced it would set up shop at Houston's Robertson Stadium for Saturday’s showdown against Southern Methodist University. Led by record-setting sixth-year senior quarterback Case Keenum, the undefeated Cougars have the best offense in the country, and its average of 628.8 yards per game is the best in NCAA history.
But when the latest BCS standings were revealed on ESPN Sunday night,“Game Day”’s Kirk Herbstreit and the network’s other commentators still focused on the many one-loss teams who might play for the national championshp should either undefeated LSU or undefeated Oklahoma State falter, even though the Cougars have yet to lose a game.
Marc Schlabach’s ESPN.com article barely mentioned Houston, and as Ian Berg of the Bleacher Report argued, "This season looks as if the strides of so many to push equality in the BCS between power conferences and the rest of the pack have failed. Houston stands strong outside the top 10 and will likely stay there no matter what they do to finish the season. Where have all the calls for the non-AQs gone? Paging Kirk Herbstreit and co."
Not only are the 11th-ranked Cougars a non-factor in the title picture, but until TCU upset Boise State on Saturday, they were likely to be left out of a major bowl entirely. The BCS is only obligated to take one team from outside the six automatic qualifier conferences, and then only if that team is in the top twelve and had won its conference championship. That would have been Boise State, which even after Saturday’s loss, is one spot ahead of Houston in the BCS rankings.
The little brother syndrome also extends to Keenum’s chance of following in Andre Ware’s footsteps as a UH Heisman winner. Keenum has received lots of love from such sites as HeismanPundit.com and StiffArmTrophy.com, but has never been a serious contender in their predictive straw polls.
Regardless, UH fans can’t really complain about being overlooked until they actually beat SMU. They also have to win at Tulsa and in December 3’s Conference USA championship game.