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Will Tom Herman Stick It Out With The Cougars?

The University of Houston has had a helluva football season, but will the program be able to keep its rising star coach?

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Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman reacts at the trophy presentation at the conclusion of the Houston Cougars 38-24 victory over the Florida State Seminoles in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

It seems the University of Houston Cougars have found their lucky number. On New Year’s Eve, Tom Herman, the thirteenth coach in the team’s seven decade history, led the Coogs to their thirteenth win of the season, which also happened to be Houston’s thirteenth ever win over the Florida State Seminoles.

And up to the final gun of that convincing Peach Bowl victory, thirteen had been the Coogs’ peak ranking this past year, though that is certain to change for the better once the season-ending polls come out. It’s possible that the Cougars could wind up in the top ten for the first time since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, back when Bill Yeoman was bulldozing the Southwest Conference with his veer offense in the Astrodome.

A glorious day for the Coogs, indeed, but how long will it last? Even though his first season ranks alongside those of gridiron legends such as Barry Switzer, Ara Parseghian, and Urban Meyer, questions remain about Coach Herman. After all, ultimate disappointments like Larry Coker, Fred Akers, Terry Bowden, and Gus Malzahn came roaring out of the gates too (with other coach’s recruits), and did so in far more competitive conferences.

Here are a few of those questions, along with some possible scenarios for Herman’s (and Houston’s) future.

Can he do it with his own recruits?

In some ways, you could compare Herman’s season to Kevin Sumlin’s rookie campaign at Texas A&M. Like Sumlin (the last coach whose team won thirteen games on Cullen Drive), Herman inherited an electric quarterback from Tyler. No, Greg Ward Jr. didn’t win the Heisman like Johnny Manziel, but Ward was at least in the conversation for a time. And it wasn’t as if Herman’s predecessor Tony Levine left the cupboard bare elsewhere: his last Cougar team finished with an 8-5 record, and he bequeathed Herman seven starters on both sides of the ball, including Ward (who, granted, flourished like never before under Herman), a 1,000-yard rusher in Kenneth Farrow, experience and skill on the offensive line, and a ball-hawking secondary that picked off Florida State four times.

But can he bring in his own talent? So far, all signs point to yes, at least according to recruiting class ratings. Herman’s haul for 2016 ranks twenty-fifth in the nation, ahead of Texas and Texas Tech and trailing only Baylor, TCU and Texas A&M in the state. Whether Herman can hold on to those recruits through National Signing Day, successfully shepherd them in academically, and then coach them up remains to be seen. But that recruiting class will have at least one five-star recruit: former Aggie signal-caller Kyle Allen reportedly announced his intention to sign with UH on Tuesday. He’ll sit out a year per NCAA transfer rules while Ward completes his career, then he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining starting in 2017.

But Herman has other similarities with A&M’s coach. Like Sumlin, Herman has injected H-Town swag to the program—in fulfillment of a promise he made to the team for winning the AAC Championship, Herman was fitted with a grill made by rapper Paul Wall, jeweler-to-Houston’s-stars “TV Johnny” Dang, and a “grill committee” made up of some of his players.

Those atmospherics worked quite well for Sumlin and the Aggies until they didn’t, and now that the Aggieland honeymoon is over, player friendly innovations like his “Swagcopter” and practices serenaded by hip-hop DJs are as groused about in College Station as Mack Brown’s fabled cookies and orange slices were on the Forty Acres in the waning days of his era at Texas.

Which is not to say that Herman will repeat Sumlin’s downward trend, only that he could, only that we’ve seen this before. After all, Sumlin was the last coach to win thirteen games at UH. Sumlin bolted from the Third Ward for the greener pastures of College Station, rode a hot QB to twenty wins in two seasons followed by two more of mediocrity.

Sumlin’s Aggie program is now in turmoil, with two blue-chip quarterbacks defecting in as many weeks (one, as mentioned to UH, the other to Oklahoma), a bowl loss to underdog Louisville, the firing of his offensive coordinator, and rumors that 2016 recruits are reconsidering their commitments. Not to mention the latest Nero-like havoc wreaked by the program’s most iconic player since John David Crow: Johnny Manziel’s fiddling about in Vegas while Cleveland burned.

Four years ago, Sumlin was boasting “We Run This State.” Today it’s uncertain if he runs his locker room. Sure things can be anything but.

But for now, Herman is not resting on his laurels; that ice grill is already champing at the bit of next year:

“I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention or at least implore the recruits out there and the high school football players, that if you want to win championships, want to win New Year’s Six bowl games, win 13 games and kiss trophies and get really big rings and get a lot of nice things – better be coming with no strings – you can certainly do it at one of the finest institutions in the country, and in my opinion the greatest city in America.”

Which brings us to the big question: Will he stay or will he go?

So was all of that just elevated coach-speak? (Herman, a MENSA member, is about the only non-Ivy coach you’ll hear roll out words like “implore” on the regular in interviews. Then again, was part of that a Drake reference?!) Does he really believe UH to be one of the finest institutions in the country and Houston to be America’s greatest city? And even if so, does that equate to college football?

It has never done so up to now. Even when it was consistently a power under Yeoman and later Jack Pardee, UH football has never drawn well, save when the Aggies or Longhorns came to town, no matter whether they were playing their home games at Jeppesen/Robertson Stadium, Rice Stadium, or the Astrodome.

And despite their success this year and the new TDECU Stadium, that underwhelming fan support has continued. Indeed, Herman ripped the UH fanbase back in October, his words reading like a Joe Pesci Goodfellas diatribe:

“To me, we’re not selling out every home game. I would ask why? What more do you need to see? You need a better product on field or more exciting game? I’m confused when I ask Cougar Nation why are you not at every home game? I get some blank stares sometimes because the answer is ‘Coach, I don’t have a reason.’ There isn’t a good reason.”

Actually, there are any number of reasons, though whether they are good or not is debatable.

Houston is a commuter school, full of non-traditional, off-campus-dwelling students. The city is full of Aggies, Red Raiders, Longhorns, Owls, and LSU Tigers, not to mention a million or so immigrants, many of whom are as intrigued by college football as I am by a chukker of cricket. Some people are put off by traffic and parking, others by the stadium’s setting on the fringe of Houston’s Third Ward. The neighborhood offers little of the game day experience you might find in places like Oxford, Mississippi or Austin or Knoxville, Tennessee, or even crosstown Rice, with its adjacent bars and restaurants.

As with any other college football team located in a megapolis, there are lots of competing venues for entertainment time and money. And visiting teams like AAC rivals Cincinnati, Memphis, Navy, and Temple hold far less appeal for casual college football fans than in-state or regional foes like Texas, A&M, LSU, Tech, or Rice, who, sadly, dropped off the Cougars’ schedule in 2014. Not to mention that TDECU Stadium’s capacity is 40,000, less than half that of Darrell K. Royal, Kyle Field, or “the Shoe,” the Ohio State stadium where Herman earned his bones under Urban Meyer, so even a sellout must seem like a letdown to Herman.

Herman’s name was already being bandied about in connection with many a higher-profile gig even before the Peach Bowl triumph, and should he repeat that success next year, even more and bigger programs will come calling, pushing ever fatter stacks of cash his way. It’s happened that way with two of his three predecessors: Sumlin and Art Briles, a UH alum from Yeoman’s golden age. When Briles decamped for Baylor in 2007 it was a far riskier move at that time than many Herman (barring a meltdown next season) will have the opportunity to choose from after next year. Prior to Briles’s arrival in Waco, Baylor had burned through four perpetually cellar-dwelling coaches between 1993 and 2007, and the program seemed as much a graveyard for coaches as places like Syracuse, Minnesota, Illinois, or Kansas.

Again, Herman seems far likelier to be tossed the keys to a Ferrari of a program than the Kia Baylor had been, so it would seem that personal matters would have to matter more than professional considerations if Herman is to stay at UH. Or maybe it’s that his eye is on a bigger prize, a true blue-blood program. This past year, he shut down flirtations with two average programs in Missouri and South Carolina before they got hot and heavy. More on that later, but let’s say he stays…

Scenario #1: Gazing through Cougar red-tinted glasses

Herman continues to win. He proves to be the one to poke this sleeping giant of a program back to life, the one who finally, as UH athletic director Hunter Yuracheck put it, elevates the school from “stepping stone” to “destination.”

There is a precedent. Given its combo of sultry climate, fertile high school recruiting grounds, cosmopolitan setting, and citywide apathy towards the program, it’s easy to see Houston as very much like the University of Miami in about 1979, when Howard Schnellenberger arrived in Coral Gables.

Schnellenberger inherited a much bigger mess than Herman did at UH; there was open talk of pulling the plug on the program if he couldn’t turn it around, which he answered by winning a national championship in 1983, thus laying the groundwork for 20 years of Hurricane dominance.

UH has faced similar dire scenarios in the not-too-distant past. In 1986, Pardee was given five years to turn the foundering, scandal-ridden program around or preside over its demise, and after that brief run n’ shoot era of relative dominance, the program wandered lost under a succession of coaches. Around the time Briles arrived in 2003, the NCAA was threatening UH with demotion to the sport’s second division, along with all other schools with average attendances of 15,000 or below.

Back to Miami: Unlike Herman’s 2015 squad, the ‘83 Canes were indisputably the ruddy, mustachioed, pipe-chomping Schnellenberger’s team, one he assembled by walling off the “state of Miami” (his term for the three-county metro area) from rival schools, and only then looking further afield for recruits.  Going forward, Herman is taking a similar approach: as part of his swagga-riffic “H-Town Takeover” campaign, 13 of 18 of his high school commits are from Greater Houston, and all but one of the remainder is a Texan.

But it won’t be as easy for Herman to fence off Houston. Schnellenberger had his state of Miami pretty much to himself circa 1980, thanks to its geographic isolation and that fact that neither Florida nor Florida State, the two closest big-time colleges, were yet powers at that time. Herman competes with established foes in Texas, A&M, LSU, TCU and Baylor. He’s holding his own so far, but it’s early days yet.

At any rate, with Power 5 conference alignments about as stable these days as North Texas geological plates, it could be that the Big 12 or some other conference could come calling. TDECU was designed to be expandable to 60,000 seats, which is about the same size as the fields of mid-tier squads like Oklahoma State and West Virginia, and larger than those of conference elite like Baylor and TCU, so the small stadium is not as much of an issue as it might seem. There’s also talk that the Big 12 wants to add two more teams – UH is one name in a hopper with schools like BYU and Colorado State to the west, and Cincinnati, Memphis, Central Florida and UConn to the east.

But would Big 12 schools like Texas, Baylor, Tech and TCU welcome the recruiting competition a Power 5 UH would bring? How many TV viewers does UH bring with them? And even with a rip-roaring UH in the Big 12, history would indicate that kindling white-hot fan interest would remain a problem. Consistently good, exciting UH teams under Yeoman and Pardee failed to light the town on fire, so….

Scenario #2: On the other hand…

Let’s say Herman beats Oklahoma in NRG Stadium in September, and then either runs the table or comes close next year, capping it all off with another big bowl win at the end of the season. And let’s say Charlie Strong or Sumlin or Auburn’s Gus Malzahn or LSU’s Les Miles stumbles to something south of eight wins next year. Come next December, all of those schools (or their boosters) will be dispatching private jets—full of fat cats bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh—to Houston. Meanwhile, Herman’s contract buyout is pegged to the progress (or lack thereof) of UH’s practice facilities, so the school will need to commit to $20 million worth of improvements or potentially lose their messiah to a wealthier school at a bargain price. And there’s that attendance issue, the one that really seems to chap Herman’s hide.

It’s a cutthroat business. Herman is widely rumored to regard Texas as his dream job. Inside Texas recently opined that Herman would “crawl on broken glass to Austin to be the next University of Texas head football coach,” and there is a vociferous contingent of Longhorn fans (at least on the Internet) that would walk the last rotten board over hell to get him there.

Meanwhile, Strong has been doing well on the recruiting trail, as the 2015 class proved on the field this year. Although the 2016 class is not as touted, yet, there’s still a lot of time between now and National Signing Day, and Strong seems poised to finish with a flourish. Nevertheless, and even though he inherited four dried beans from Mack Brown, Strong will be expected to win pretty big next year, and if he doesn’t, the next guy will be waiting in the wings. And that guy could be Tom Herman.

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  • j7apple

    Heck of a 1st year for Herman

  • Manuel Labor

    All it takes is money.

  • Gary Duncan

    Three issues Id like to point out about this article. 1) UH is no longer a commuter school. 10 years ago that was the case, but not today. 8,000 students currently live on campus. Of all the universities in the state only A&M has more students living on campus. 2) Attendance at football games is no longer an issue. The last 3 home games of the season were sell outs. Moreover UH sold its entire allotment of Peach bowl tickets and had over 25k fans attend the game in Atlanta. 3) UH football broadcasts on network TV had higher ratings than every Big 12 game except for the Texas/OU game. That game had a razor thin margin more ratings in Houston than the UH/Temple game. UH football is selling out games and drawing high TV ratings playing underwhelming opponents like Temple and Navy. If they played in a P5 conference UH TV ratings would likely double from their current levels. UH opens the next season against Oklahoma. That game will give everyone an idea of how high TV ratings for UH football can be when they play a compelling match up. The Peach Bowl had a 10.5 in Houston (for perspective the OU/Texas game this past October had a 7.2 rating in Houston). I suspect the UH/OU game this year will probably be the highest rated college broadcast in the Houston TV market.

    • Manuel Labor

      Per the Texas Tribune, Herman makes $475k in state money. Pay the man! GO COOGS!

      • Gary Duncan

        He makes $3mm/yr. Some of that is state money and some of it comes from private donors. He’s the highest paid coach among the G5 teams, and his salary exceeds that of half the coaches in the P5 conferences.

  • Breen Dix

    Nice piece, Mr. Lomax. It all comes down to whether UH can get into a real football conference. Big 12(-ish) makes the most sense (for the conference, too) in the big picture — and that would be enough for UH — but their TX schools don’t want to give UH that big-conference recruiting tool and they consider Houston proper an already conquered TV market. They will expand again and pass over UH to their own detriment…just as they did the first two times around.

  • Patrick Ray

    This article is littered with inaccuracies and speculation. I’d expect better from this publication:

    1) The Cougars were ranked as high as #3 in 1990 and finished the season #10. They also made it to #8 in 1989, #10 in 1991, and #7 in 2011 before falling out of the Top 10. All of these years are more recent than the Carter administration.

    2) Florida, until last year, was ranked in the Top 20 every since 1980, including #5 in 1983. Florida State has been ranked in the Top 20 every year since 1977. How were these schools not powers at the same time as Miami?

    3) In regards to attendance: between 1966-1970 and 1976-1981, UH averaged more than 36,000 in attendance each season to include over 40,000 in 1967 and 1977. In 2009-2011, UH regularly sold out it’s 32,000 seat stadium. While Herman made the remarks in October regarding attendance, UH sold out it’s last two home games this year and were able to send over 20,000 to the Georgia Dome for the Peach Bowl. UH also sold out its first game in TDECU, but lost to UTSA (and later Tulane) last year which caused a lot of fans to stay away and was the main reason Tony Levine was fired after going 7-5 in the regular season against an extremely weak schedule.

    4) How many TV viewers does UH bring with them? Houston had a rating of 10.5 locally and 4.0 nationally for the Peach Bowl, which was the third highest rated football game in Houston this season (behind only the two playoff games immediately after them) and was up 21% nationally over the same game last year (which featured TCU). Just imagine if that game hadn’t been on a work day starting at 11 am. Houston, mostly was relegated to ESPN2, ESPNU, or ESPN3 throughout the year until they’re last two games were shown on ABC, however, they rated the 5th, 7th, and 20th highest rated games in the Houston area this season. Houston/Temple rated a 7.0 which only rated behind A&M/Alabama, Alabama/Florida, LSU/Alabama, and Texas/OU. Baylor/TCU was the only other game that outrated Houston/Navy, and there were only 9 Big12/A&M games that outrated Houston/Memphis which was also the highest rated ESPN2 game in Houston this season, and one of those was Texas/Notre Dame. Lastly, the 2011 Conference USA Championship that Houston was in drew a 3.1 nationally.

    5) “Houston is a commuter school, full of non-traditional, off-campus-dwelling students.” 8,000 on-campus students; only A&M has more in the state of Texas.

    6) The New York Times stated that Houston has the 8th most college football fans in the United States at over 1.6 million people.

    7) “The neighborhood offers little of the game day experience you might find in places like Oxford, Mississippi or Austin or Knoxville, Tennessee, or even crosstown Rice, with its adjacent bars and restaurants.” You don’t go down to the 3rd Ward much, do you. There are plenty of local restaurants and bars, and the University shuts down Cullen on gameday for tailgating. Also, using Rice and saying it has a better gameday experience when maybe 1,000 fans actually show up for their games is insulting.

    8) “Not to mention that TDECU Stadium’s capacity is 40,000, less than half that of Darrell K. Royal, Kyle Field, or “the Shoe,” the Ohio State stadium where Herman earned his bones under Urban Meyer, so even a sellout must seem like a letdown to Herman” He was so let down by the crowds after Temple and the Peach Bowl that he was moved to tears and thanked the fans, students, and alumni for showing up and declared that Coog Nation was back. It’s called building a program and some people would rather take on the challenge of building a program rather than coming in and maintaining what’s already there.

    9) “Consistently good, exciting UH teams under Yeoman and Pardee failed to light the town on fire, so….” This is incorrect, when the Cougars have won, they draw fans, see #4.

    10) “Herman’s contract buyout is pegged to the progress (or lack thereof) of UH’s practice facilities, so the school will need to commit to $20 million worth of improvements.” The Board of Regents will approve the construction of a $20 million dollar practice facility this year which will be completed by the end of 2017 and just approved the renovation of Hofheinz pavilion, just finished building a practice facility for basketball, have approved a practice facility for baseball, and built the largest scoreboard in Div 1 college baseball. This goes along with the just built TDECU stadium.

    11) “Herman is widely rumored to regard Texas as his dream job. Inside Texas recently opined that Herman would “crawl on broken glass to Austin to be the next University of Texas head football coach,”” You’re using a rumor and blog site as a reference in a magazine article. You’re a journalist, why don’t you go ask the man what he wants.

    12) “Nevertheless, and even though he inherited four dried beans from Mack Brown.” So Strong gets a pass because he didn’t win even though Brown recruited numerous 4 and 5 star recruits, but Herman wins because of what was in place before him even though he had no 4 or 5 star recruits. Hmmmm…..

    13) Also, the comparison with Sumlin is suspect at best. Sumlin arrived at Houston with Art Briles’s recruits and was able to win 8, 10, 5, and 13 games with those recruits, specifically Case Keenum. When Keenum got hurt early in the 2010 season, Houston dropped to 5 wins. Sumlin’s teams regularly beat good teams, but lost to mediocre opponents like UTEP and UCF regularly. He never won a conference championship, even though he coached in two, so Herman’s got him beat already. That doesn’t even account for the fact that Sumlin was looking to jump as soon as possible. There had been rumors that he was going to move to Tennessee after the 2009 season and he basically quit on the team the week of the conference championship in 2011 because he had already agreed to coach A&M. The team came out unprepared without a true gameplan and was embarassed by Souther Mississippi. It cost the University and Conference USA millions as UH was in line to go to the Sugar Bowl to play Michigan prior to that loss. Sumlin is a man of little integrity, as many fans in College Station are seeing now, while Herman is a man of substance and was wearing a UH cap on the field immediately after Ohio State won the championship last year. Instead of speculating and referencing blog sites, I implore you do what a real journalist does and actually go to the campus and look around, maybe interview some people, and actually write an article that isn’t full of inaccuracies and speculation.

    • John Nova Lomax

      Thank you for bringing up many interesting points! I would like to respond:

      1. I was talking about where they finished the season, not their peak ranking. UT was #1 for a few weeks in 1984 and wound up unranked. Happens all the time.

      2. Florida and Florida St. might have been middlin’ good in the early 1980s, but they were not yet elite. Florida was unranked in 1981 and 1982, ineligible due to sanctions in 1985, and unranked every year from 1986 through 1989. Spurrier put them among the elite for good in 1990. According to the same stats (Wikipedia), the ‘Noles were unranked in ’81 and ’83 and didn’t crack the top ten any year between 1981 and 1987.

      3. 36,000 is not 50,000, or the 100,000 they get in CS or Austin. It’s nice they are selling out a 40K stadium now, but it’s not that impressive in the grand scheme of big-time college football.

      4. It’s been a long day and this litany of numbers is making my eyes glaze over. We can debate them later.

      5. Houston has 8000 campus beds, not residents. If students were clamoring to live in all of them after many of them were built in 2013, why did Renu Khator attempt to force all freshmen to live on campus the next year, and clung tenaciously to that position until she was shot down by state senator John Whitmire?

      Also, there is more to not being a commuter school than on-campus residents. How many UH students live within walking distance to campus, as compared to Texas, SMU, Baylor, Colorado, or LSU? How much student life is there on Scott Street or points west (other than Frenchy’s)?

      It may surprise you to hear this, but I attended UH for three years around 2000 and still go to the campus once every few months, and very little seems to have changed since I was there.

      6. According to the article you cited, Houston ranks behind much smaller market Birmingham, Alabama, and just ahead of much smaller market Tampa-St. Pete in total number of college fans. What’s more Birmingham is split between Alabama and Auburn, and Tampa mostly between Fla and Fla St. Houston’s market is split between A&M, UT, Tech, LSU, UH, and other schools from all over the country. I mean, some people wanted to fight me a few months back because they thought I was wearing Michigan colors (not even Michigan gear; I don’t care about the Wolverines) at the grocery store, for example. I don’t think that idea would even cross somebody’s mind in Birmingham.

      7. I lived in what is considered Third Ward just a few years ago, and have no fear of the place, believe me. As a former music critic, I regularly attended Blue Mondays at the long-gone Miss Ann’s Playpen on Dowling, not to mention the CD release of the Geto Boys Foundation album at a combination beauty college / barber shop / nightclub on Scott, just north of the Gulf Freeway. In some ways I see the Third Ward as the essence of Houston, but to claim it’s some kind of college-life hotspot is dubious. As for Rice, I’m not saying their team is a better draw, but you can’t compare UH’s setting with theirs. (NRG’s is even worse, for what it’s worth.)

      8. Again, I am glad they are drawing better, but 40,000 is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

      9. It’s unfair that they don’t, but they just don’t. I saw one of Yeoman’s better teams destroy Rice (with Tommy Kramer) in the 1970s, and Rice Stadium was maybe 2/3 full.

      10. Are you sure the BOR will approve that $20m? They might, but it’s not a done deal.

      11. No coach on the come-up will ever say what he is really thinking about future job ops. Do you really think if I got through to Herman, he would say anything that varied from the speech I quoted in the article?

      Like I wrote, maybe he is happy here, maybe does believe he’s in one of America’s top institutions and America’s finest city. Any coach who is not deranged would go right on saying that until the day he signs his name to a contract somewhere else. It happens all the time. Justin Fuente just did it to Memphis. Charlie Strong did it to Louisville. Briles and Sumlin did it to UH.

      12. In other articles I have demonstrated that Mack’s much-touted classes were full of busts and head cases and did not live up to the rankings they were given, through no fault of Strong’s. Looking back, Brown’s 2005 class was the last one that amounted to squat.

      13. How can it be said that Sumlin was winning with Briles’s recruits in his fourth year on the job? I’ll grant you that Briles brought Keenum to campus, but he was under Sumlin’s tutelage for four years, during which time Sumlin also filled out the roster with dozens of supplemental players. I don’t have that high an opinion of Sumlin right now, but I think one has to give him credit for that 12 win season, even if he did spit the bit when it mattered most.

      • Gary Duncan

        Enough with the attendance digs. Sure 40k isn’t 100k but keep in mind that 45k is the average attendance at an FBS football game. If the Coogs were drawing 100k to their games I’d probably quit going. That’s just too many damn people in one place. TDECU stadium is designed to be expanded to 60k. That’s almost too many for my liking.

        Coogs proved this season that if they are winning and play a ranked opponent the games will sell out.

      • Gary Duncan

        For the many years now the Big 12 has said they own the Houston TV market. This past season proved they do not. The truth is the SEC owns the Houston TV market. If the Big 12 had UH in the conference this past season they would’ve had better ratings in Houston than the SEC.

      • “It may surprise you to hear this, but I attended UH for three years around 2000 and still go to the campus once every few months, and very little seems to have changed since I was there.”

        I find it hard to believe you have not noticed any changes on any return visits. I attended in 88-92 and 2006-07 and am AMAZED at the changes on the campus when I return, which is about 3-4 times a year.

        I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just don’t know what you don’t know but I cannot accept that an informed person would say little has changed on that campus in the last 10 years, let alone the last 17. I don’t mean to sound snarky, but it feels like your knowledge of the school is somewhat stuck at the semesters you attended so many years ago.

      • HoustonCentrikSports

        You lost all credibility with this line:

        “It may surprise you to hear this, but I attended UH for three years around 2000 and still go to the campus once every few months, and very little seems to have changed since I was there.”

      • ckckck

        Just to pile on….I left in December ’07 and I too am amazed at how much has changed. Every year I jump on campus there is some new fancy massive multi-million dollar facility. Just look at their ongoing projects under construction. It has been that way for the last 8-10 years if not more. I doubt no other school in Texas is close to the rapid growth seen at UH.

  • CoogXC

    This article is so full of errors and inaccuracies that only two possibilities exist:

    1. It was written using “facts” from about 20 years ago
    2. It was ghost-written by John Lopez


      Haters gonna hate.. h town take over is real

  • Rusty Reid Holster

    It all depends on quality of character. We all just assume that dollars rule every human heart. And, usually, we are correct. But if Herman puts his MENSA-level intellect to work he will value the virtues of integrity, loyalty and true achievement over greed for more money. He is already one of the most admired and talked-about coaches in the country, so if fame is his goal he doesn’t need a “blue-blood” school to add to that. Meanwhile, except motivated by greed, why would any coach betray his own preaching of “trust” and “love” and “family” to sell-out for more sheckles just to go to a place with every conceivable advantage where even mediocre coaches (Akers, Brown) can win national championships (and then be unceremoniously dumped a few years later)? Wow… what an achievement, coach, you won a championship at the University of Texas, the richest school in America!!! Why go over to the Dark Side of spoiled, angst-ridden, fickle alumni, boosters and fans at Godzilla U. when you can win forever at underdog Houston with far less hyper-tension involved. If and when Herman wins a championship at Houston, now that will be a coaching accomplishment for the ages! Meanwhile, what does it say about these college football programs that can’t seem to find good, young coaches of their own, but must steal Houston’s to rebuild their own bedraggled fortunes? Herman is wise enough to note the fates of some of the other golden-boy coaches who jumped to greener pastures. Like, umm…. the last Longhorn savior, Charlie Strong, who may soon be shown an early exit. Or like, our old buddy Kevin Sumlin, who is already on the hot-seat at A&M. Sometimes those greener pastures turn out to be fields of disillusion.

  • Paul Brar

    UH needs to go to the PAC12, ACC, Big East or any other Power 5 conference but the Big 12…. As an UH alumni, I would want to see USC or UCLA on my schedule than the Texas schools or Florida State or North Caroline (basketball) schedule plus the conference that selects UH gets access to Texas recruits and the fourth biggest market in the US. For all the other Coogs out there, stop talking or pressuring to join the Big 12, let’s aim east or west for one of the other Power 5 conferences besides the Big 12. Then watch the attendance rise at UH games and the city of Houston needs to regenerate the third ward, the area around UH and make it a better place to hang out after games.

  • Eddie Rodriguez

    I’m currently a student at U of H… I must say, being from Houston, I remember when Andre Ware won the Heisman trophy. If U of H came to the big 12, not only would we be on top, but we would be a team not to be reckoned with. Does anyone realize how many great football players come from Houston high schools? U T will not allow U of H join the big 12 because they are scarred of us.