Football Ranked in The Sporting News Preseason Poll
June 3, 2010
The Cougars return 18 starters from last year's team which finished 10-4, advanced to the Conference USA Championship Game and competed in the program's fifth straight bowl game. It was the program's first 10-win season since 1990.
However, being ranked among the nation's best is nothing new for Cougar fans. A year ago, the team entered the Associated Press and Coaches top 25 polls for the first time since 1991, climbing as high as No. 12.
Leading the way offensively is senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Case Keenum. In 2009, Keenum led the nation with a school-record 5,671 passing yards and 44 touchdowns, becoming only the second player in NCAA Division I-FBS history to enjoy multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons during his career.
Linebacker Marcus McGraw returns for his junior season after leading the Cougars and ranking among the national leaders in tackles for the second straight season. A year ago, the Arlington, Texas, native posted 156 tackles, including a team-best 75 solo stops, with four sacks, three forced fumbles and six pass breakups.
Now entering his third season at Houston, head coach Kevin Sumlin has posted an 18-9 record during his career and is the only coach in school history to lead his team to back-to-back bowl appearances during his first two years.
With the Cougars' 34-28 win against Air Force during the 2008 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Sumlin guided Houston to its first bowl win in nearly three decades.
The Cougars kick off the 2010 season when they play host to Texas State on Sept. 4 on John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium. It will be the first of six home games for the Cougars this season.
Robertson Stadium has become one of the nation's most intimidating venues, and the hometown fans will have plenty of chances to see the Cougars in action. Houston enters the 2010 campaign as winners of its last 15 home games, the nation's fourth-longest active home winning streak.
In 2010, the Cougars square off against some of the nation's top teams, including eight squads ranked in The Sporting News Preseason Top 100 Poll.
Texas Tech was the highest ranked Cougar opponent in the poll, coming in at No. 36. The Cougars travel to Lubbock on Nov. 27 to meet the Red Raiders.
Other Cougar opponents ranked in the preseason poll were UCLA (No. 46), UCF (No. 47), Tulsa (No. 55), Southern Miss (No. 57), Mississippi State (No. 59), SMU (No. 67) and UTEP (No. 77).
Fans can order their season tickets now by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by clicking the Tickets link at UHCougars.com. Fans also can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.