2011 UH Cougar Watch- Fighting For Respect In Dallas

Being a University of Houston football player, student or alum is a constant battle for respect against the constant sneers of t-shirt wearing Longhorn and Aggie fans.  At times we feel we don't even get it from the hometown media who cover our team.

When UH was agonizingly close to becoming a BCS buster and reeling off 12 straight wins the detractors were sipping hateraid from 55 gallon drums as the Cougars rose to Number 6 in the polls and the BCS rankings before falling in a painful nationally televised 49-28 C-USA title game loss at home to Southern Mississippi.

The players aren't happy about what transpired in the last game they played and are looking for redemption respect and to change some minds about the UH football program.

“We want to show everybody that we can play with the best,” senior receiver Tyron Carrier said in a Chronicle interview. “The first thing people say is ‘Y’all don’t play anybody.’ Well now we’ve got somebody. We want to show everybody what we can do with this spread offense and the type of skilled players we have.”

They are in Dallas at the Ticket City Bowl with a chance for redemption against a number 20 ranked 9-3 Penn State squad that tied for the eighth toughest schedule in the country with Alabama, one of the teams they played, and is a member of the automatic AQ qualifying Big Ten..

It's also at the Cotton Bowl, a stadium with a mixed 2-2 record in Cougar football history.   In their previous wins in the stadium UH top five  football squads under Bill Yeoman knocked off number 5 ranked and unbeaten Maryland 30-21 in the 1977 Cotton Bowl to complete their successful run through their first SWC season and finish ranked number four in the nation.  In the 1980 Cotton Bowl the number 6 Cougars beat top five ranked Nebraska on a 6 yard Elston to Herring TD pass with 12 seconds to go for a 17-14 win and the number 5 ranking to conclude the season..

In 1979 number 9 ranked UH lost a heartbreaking 35-34 Cotton Bowl 'Ice Bowl' game to number 10 Notre Dame.  After building a 34-12 lead, a sick Joe Montana came off the bench to make the Cougars ill by leading a furious fourth quarter comeback over the last 7:32 of the quarter for the Fighting Irish victory.

In the 1985 Cotton Bowl an unranked UH fell 45-28 to number 8 ranked Doug Flutie led Boston College.

That was then, this is 2012.  Judging by what Tyron Carrier had to say, the Cougars are determined to erase the bad memories of that C-USA title game loss. 

“We said it amongst ourselves the whole season,” Carrier continued. “They were waiting for us to fall. As soon as we failed, we dropped from top 10 to (out of the top 15). We just want to show everybody that we can really play. It just so happened that we had an off game. We don’t plan on ending the season like that.” 

“I think it’s extremely important,” said coach Tony Levine. “We got to as high as No. 6 in the country and there were still people out there that were skeptics whether it was the schedule or the conference. I think having drawn an opponent like Penn State, the tradition is as good as any in the country. The season they’ve had, the success they’ve had, it’s a great stage for us to go out and show that the 12 wins were not the fluke but the one loss was the fluke. Our kids are looking forward to that.”

The game kicks off at 11 AM CST on Monday.   I'm hoping they have a better result in this game than the one back on December 1.