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Houston Cougars Betting – Houston Cougars 2011 College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 7/27/2011 5:31:58 PM
houston cougars betting

The MLB baseball betting gurus who live in Houston are almost certainly more interested in the welfare of the Houston Cougar football team than the hometown Astros at this point. While Houston’s baseball team is allowing sports betting practitioners to make a lot of money betting on the other team, one can’t say the same thing about the city’s college football team.

The long and short of the 2011 season for UH football boils down to this fact: Case Keenum has chosen to return to campus in Houston and was granted a rare sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. That’s the biggest single piece of news to emerge from the Houston Cougars’ offseason. Now, a program that was dealt a Murphy’s Law season in 2010 can make one more big run at the conference crown it so deeply seeks, but has been unable to attain in recent years.

Over the past half-decade, there’s no question that what was already a pretty decent program under former coach Art Briles – it won the 2006 Conference USA title – has actually gotten even better on a holistic level. Houston cracked the national top 15 in 2009 after beating Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Cougars faltered in the Conference USA title game against East Carolina, but they still put together a very solid season which improved the profile of the program. Current coach Kevin Sumlin has made himself an attractive commodity in the coaching ranks by luring a better caliber of athlete to Houston and instilling a flinty mentality into the program. Now that Keenum is around for one more year, Sumlin and company can regroup for another shot at the C-USA flag.

Keenum, the heralded signal caller who merited a small place in the 2009 Heisman Trophy race, is back after his 2010 campaign was ruined by a knee injury in the third game of the season at UCLA. Despite the fact that Keenum missed the final three fourths of the season, the Cougar offense – which also lost second-string quarterback Cotton Turner to injury - still ranked in the top five in the nation in passing yards. Wins, however, did not result from those gaudy stats, largely due to the fact that third-stringer David Piland – who performed valiantly given his lack of repetitions – was still understandably shaky in big tilts against Central Florida and Tulsa. Piland gave it his best shot, but the youngster did not expect to be UH’s field general when the season began. He faced a steep learning curve and managed himself admirably in a larger context, but he clearly wasn’t ready to win a conference championship, which is based on the ability to be relentlessly consistent over an extended amount of time.

At any rate, Sumlin had his first losing season in three years at Houston. Now, with Keenum returning, UH is primed for a resurgence as long as its quarterback can stay healthy. The Cougars return seven starters from each side of the ball, including 1,000-yard wide receiver Patrick Edwards. Houston must replace three linemen, but on the defensive side of the ball, the Cougars will retain more talent: UH will return all three linebackers, which will hopefully result in more stability on a weekly basis.

The schedule is manageable for the Cougars. After losing to three BCS opponents in 2010 by at least two touchdowns, the 2011 Cougars will face just one foe from an automatic qualifying conference. The Cougars play East Carolina at home, while not facing Central Florida during the regular season, a huge plus. A regular season finale with Tulsa should be a great contest; moreover, it could very well decide the C-USA West Division champion for the coming football campaign. A wise sports bet would give Houston nine wins, but if Keenum isn’t able to last the whole season, all bets are off.

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