THIS WEEK’S GAME:
This week’s game features the Houston Cougars traveling to play a Big 12 foe, the Oklahoma State Cowboys. T Boone Pickens is fired up, got the windmills twirling, and so should you! Oklahoma State is coming off an impressive win at Washington State while the Cougars started with a blowout win over Southern. For the Cougars this is an opportunity to take a shot at the big boys from the Big 12. Houston leads the all time series 9-8-1 and won in Houston two years ago 34-25. Case Keenum will start at QB for the Coogs after splitting time with Blake Joseph last year. He got off to a good start with a 392 yard passing effort last week, completing his first 14 throws. Receiver Mark Hafner should have a break out season for the Coogs and 7 catches for 103 yards against Southern. L.J. Castile, a converted QB, is also being counted on for big contributions from the wide out spot. UH this year has switched to a 4-3 defense. Up front they will have Phillip Hunt, returning this year after a 10.5 sack season last year. While thin at LB, Coach Sumlin is looking for speed which is lacking, the Coogs should have one of the best safety duos in CUSA with free safety Kenneth Fontenette and Ernest Miller. First year coach Kevin Sumlin believes the Cougars should compete for the Conference USA Championship every year and he may get one his first year.
OSU will be looking for revenge for the 2006 loss in Houston. The Cowboys also have 18 players on their roster from the city of Houston, so they will be playing for some bragging rights back home. In the interesting stat of the week, OSU last season rushed for 3,161 yards and passed for 3,161 yards, achieving exact offensive balance. The Cowboys had the #7 offense in the nation last season and this year will again be led by junior signal caller Zac Robinson who took over for Bobby Reid last season. Robinson can look for All-Big 12 tight end Brandon Pettigrew and sophomore wideout Dez Bryant. Over the last two years, OSU has averaged 41.3 points at T Boone Pickens stadium. On the defensive side of the ball OSU only surrendered 196 yards to Washington State last week, the lowest output against the Cowboys in two years. OSU struggled on defensive last season but has brought in five junior college transfers. One of the big concerns was the push up front, but last week they recorded 10 tackles for a loss of yards. Orie Lemon, first time starter at linebacker led the Cowboys with 10 total tackles.
This should be an interesting game, testing how ready UH is for the big time. Any game featuring two players from Anchorage, Alaska squaring off against each other (OSU DL Tonga Tea Jr and UH OL Jaryd Anderson) is worth watching.
SWC MEMORIES PLAYER PROFILE:
Wilson Whitley came to the University of Houston from Brenham, TX as a three time All State and two time All American defensive lineman. As a Coogar he started his college career as he ended his high school career, starting on a team that went 11-1. He made the All-American team as a sophomore, second on the team in tackles. He also had 6 sacks, a blocked kick and two fumble recoveries. His senior season would be a big one. The year was 1976 and Houston was competing for the first time in the SWC. Houston would win the SWC crown that season, with Whitley anchoring the defensive. The defensive held 5 opponents to 10 points of fewer that season. Wilson was a consensus All-American and won the Lombardi Award, presented to him in Houston by President Gerald Ford. He recorded 5 sacks and 50 tackles that season and had 8 tackles in his last game, an upset victory over previous unbeaten Maryland in the Cotton Bowl. Despite only playing one season in the SWC, Whitley was named SWC defensive player of the decade. Whitley was the 8th player taken in the NFL draft, selected by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played alongside fellow Lombardi award Ross Browner for 6 season, including a Super Bowl appearance. He suffered an untimely death at the age of 37 due to a heart condition. He was a 1998 inductee into the UH Hall of Honor and a 2007 inductee into the National College Football Hall of Fame.
OTHER GAMES THIS WEEK:
Louisiana Monroe at Arkansas (Arkansas looking to be 2-0 heading into Austin)
Northwestern State at Baylor (Should be Briles first win)
Rice at Memphis (Rice starts with two conference games, look to keep the offense rolling)
Texas State at SMU (Should be the first win of the June Jones Era, Mitchell to remain at QB)
Texas at UTEP (They’ve been waiting for this one in El Paso a long time. So long they forgot about Buffalo last week)
Texas A&M at New Mexico (Can you have a must win as the second game of a sure to be mediocre season?)
SFA at TCU (TCU should be the better of the two purple teams)
Texas Tech at Nevada (Tech should roll)
RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK:
SWC Game of the Week:
Rice 56 SMU 27 (SMU may have the run and shoot, but the Owls show their fire power as well. Clements to Dillard x3!)
Arkansas 28 Western Illinois 24 (What can you say about the Hogs? They have to be included…)
Wake Forest 41 Baylor 13 (Briles start with Baylor is pretty familiar to Bear fans, but maybe they will be Wake someday)
Houston 55 Southern 3 (Don’t think this one counts for much, but it looks nice on paper)
Texas 52 Florida Atlantic 10 (McCoy and company off to usual start)
Arkansas State 18 Texas A&M 14 (Ouch, I mean ouch. Aggie fans are hurting, but there is always next year!)
TCU 26 New Mexico 3 (Former Fran faceoff #1 for this year features the later team winning)
Texas Tech 49 Eastern Washington 24 (You must be good when you win big but that is not enough.)
ON THE BLOG:
All SWC teams seem to have a hand sign, log onto the SWC Blog to read about the University of Houston’s hand sign.
We’ve got one week behind us, a big upset in Aggieland, some blowouts and some close games. We’re closer to some interesting showdowns. SWC Game of the Week wishes everyone a great football watching weekend!