The college football world was sent into a spiral this past weekend after 15th ranked Houston topped perennially powerhouse and 3rd ranked Oklahoma 33-23. What we should now be examining is whether or not this Houston football could potentially make the college football playoff in 2016. Unlike most ranked schools, Houston does not play in a power 5 conference and probably won’t play a ranked opponent until November (Louisville). Let’s examine if the Cougars could vie for a national championship.
Houston’s signal caller Greg Ward is the epitome of a dual threat collegiate quarterback. Ward is such a prolific runner that he actually projects better in the pros as a running back. Ward, a senior, went 23-40, for 321 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions in the air. What’s really scary is the Oklahoma defense actually limited to only 1 rushing yard this past Saturday, something that is certainly an anomaly. At 5’11”, Ward doesn’t have the prototypical size for a quarterback but there is a chance he could stick at the position if he improves his accuracy. Houston carved up a pretty good Oklahoma defense for 33 points and made it look awfully easy in the process.
Transfer tailback D.J. Catalon will also become a factor for the Cougars coming into the season. Catalon, a Texas transfer, rushed for 88 yards in the game vs. Oklahoma and showed flashes of potential in the process. Wide receiver Steven Dunbar also notched 7 catches for 125 yards as well. Houston has a long tradition of posting big time offensive numbers. To this day Case Keenum is still the all time leading collegiate passer of all time. Former Houston coach Kevin Sumlin also was a Houston alum and has since produced great offenses during his current job at Texas A&M. Houston’s athletic director has already claimed that head coach Tom Herman will get a big time raise if they change conferences. Herman is a big time coach who can take a this small program to new heights. This Houston football team in legit and could find themselves in a power 5 conference in no time.
Houston is also moving up the ranks in terms of recruiting as well. This is a program that has really put itself on the map. This past year Houston scored themselves an impressive class including a 5 star recruit defensive tackle who will become a star in the making. Ed Oliver was the key to the defensive movement for the Cougars. From the defensive tackle spot, Oliver recorded 2 sacks and created havoc for the rest of the pass rushers. Oliver is a future Aaron Donald in this league.
When looking at the rest of Houston’s schedule there isn’t any reason to think they can’t be in the top 4 by the rest of the season. By process of elimination the SEC should get 1 team, the Big 10 should get one team, and the ACC should get one team. Since Houston has beaten the best team in the Big 12 that will probably get them the nod. Houston now not only has to win every game but they may have to win decisively. It may come down to a decision between the winner of the weak Pac 12 and this Houston team. I expect Houston to be in as of now especially considering no team in the Pac 12 will have a more impressive win all season. At this current time it appears Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State will likely be the other 3 teams in the playoff.