Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2008 UH football schedule released

This schedule first appeared on Coogfans earlier today. Michael Murphy confirmed it this evening. Home games are in bold:

Sat Aug 30: Southern
Sat Sep 06: @ Oklahoma State
Sat Sep 13: Air Force
Sat Sep 20: @ Colorado State
Sat Sep 27: @ East Carolina
Sat Oct 04: open
Sat Oct 11: UAB
Sat Oct 18: @ SMU
Tue Oct 28: @ Marshall
Sat Nov 08: Tulane
Sat Nov 15: Tulsa
Sat Nov 22: UTEP
Sat Nov 29: @ Rice

Not a bad schedule, all things considered. The Coogs start out the season and the Kevin Sumlin era against Southern, a winnable game which should be well-attended on account of interest in the new coaching staff and the attraction of Southern's band. September is going to be tough, however, with three road games including a trip to Stillwater to play Big XII school Oklahoma State. The Cowboys will be looking for revenge for their loss to Houston two seasons ago. Colorado State, likewise, will be looking to avenge last season's loss to Houston. Given that my brother lives in Denver, I think I'm going to try to travel to this game. Air Force is Houston's "marquee" out-of-conference home game this year, and service academies usually generate local fan interest. The Coogs, who lost to East Carolina last season, have to play them in Greenville this time, and that won't be easy considering that it's the second of back-to-back road games.

After a well-timed bye week, the Coogs host UAB and then go on another back-to-back road trip. The game against SMU and new coach June Jones in Dallas will likely be a shootout, and a Tuesday night game against Marshall will give the Coogs some exposure on ESPN.

November, however, shapes up nicely. The Cougars do not have to leave the City of Houston and get two of their toughest divisional opponents, Tulsa and UTEP, at home along with Tulane. The Bayou Bucket at Rice Stadium is the last game of the season. I'd prefer to see this game be played at the season's beginning - historically, when the Bayou Bucket is played over the Thanksgiving holiday attendance has been poor - but that fact is apparently lost on Conference USA's schedulers.

All in all, I think this is a decent schedule; from both a competitive and an attendance-generating standpoint, I think it's better than last season's and, truth be told, there aren't any games on this slate that are truly unwinnable. It's way too early, of course, to know how well the Cougars are going to adjust to their new coaching staff and fill holes left be the departures of Anthony Alridge, Donnie Avery, Brandon Pahulu, Rocky Schwartz and the like, but looking at this schedule and considering the talent the team has returning I think another winning season in 2008 is a reasonable expectation.

We'll find out, beginning a little over six months from now.

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