The University of Houston’s impending move to the Big East has been driven by their desire to play in a BCS bowl game. Turns out they might have never had to switch conferences.
In an ironic turn in the topsy-turvy world of college football, the 10-0 Cougars have their first ever BCS bid firmly within their grasp in their final season in Conference USA.
The Cougars had their bowl fate fall directly into their hands thanks to Boise State’s 36-35 loss to TCU on Saturday. The Broncos, ranked 5th in the latest BCS rankings, had been in line for an assured bid to a lucrative BCS bowl. But Boise State’s stumble at home opens the door for UH to take their place.
According to the BCS bylaws, the top-ranked conference champion from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference or the Western Athletic Conference earns an automatic BCS bowl bid as long as that team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings.
UH, ranked 11th in the latest BCS rankings, should be in line for that bid if it can win its final two regular season games and the CUSA championship game.
The Cougars remaining schedule includes a home game vs SMU (6-4, 4-2 in CUSA) on Nov. 19th and a road game @ Tulsa (7-3, 6-0) on Nov. 25th. If UH wins those two games, the CUSA championship game would likely be against Southern Miss (9-1, 5-1) on Dec. 3rd.
Houston is likely to be favored in all 3 of those games but it is far from guaranteed to win out. The Coogs are 1-1 against Southern Miss in the Case Keenum-Kevin Sumlin era, including a 59-41 loss at Southern Miss last season without an injured Keenum. The last time Keenum faced the Golden Eagles, UH prevailed 50-43.
UH is 2-1 against Tulsa in the Keenum-Sumlin era. They are 3-0 against SMU during the same timeframe.
Even if Boise St. should be ranked higher than Houston at the end of the season, the Broncos would likely not qualify for the automatic bid because they wouldn’t be MWC champions.