HOUSTON – The University of Houston football team was picked to finish first in the Conference USA West Division for the second straight year, according to Houston Chronicle’s preseason media poll.

The Cougars nabbed eight of a possible 15 first place votes and 81 total points, followed by Tulsa (73), SMU (67), UTEP (39), Rice (35) and Tulane (20).

In the East Division, UCF took 13 first-place votes to accumulate 85 total points. The Knights were followed by Southern Miss (70), Marshall (58), East Carolina (56), UAB (29) and Memphis (17).

The Cougars are coming off of a record-breaking season that saw a single-season record with 13 wins, including a dominating 30-14 win against No. 22 Penn State during the TicketCity Bowl.

Running back Charles Sims led the Cougars in 2011 with 821 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. The electrifying junior also was a receiving threat out of the backfield, hauling in 51 catches for 575 yards and four scores to rank fourth on the team.

Sophomore linebacker Derrick Mathews finished second among the Cougars with 106 tackles during his first collegiate season, while senior linebacker Phillip Steward led the team with six interceptions and added 77 tackles.

After sitting out as a redshirt a year ago, sophomore quarterback David Piland will take the reinsfrom NCAA record-setting signal-caller Case Keenum. Starting most of the 2010 season, Piland threw for 2,641 yards and 14 touchdowns on 201-of-345 passing during his true freshman season.


Houston Football season tickets are on sale now in the Athletics Ticket Office, and fans have options for as low as $140 when purchasing.

To purchase season tickets, fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or 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.

Fans can buy seasontickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by clicking the red and white Tickets tab at UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.

To secure parking spaces and to support student-athlete scholarships through Cougar Pride for the upcoming season, fans should contact the Cougar Pride Office at 713-743-GOUH or email cougarpride@uh.edu. Fans also can visit UHCougars.com and click the Cougar Pride tab for more information or click here.

Houston Chronicle Preseason Conference USA Football Poll

West Division

1. Houston (8) – 81
2. Tulsa (4) – 73
3. SMU (3)- 67
4. UTEP – 39
5. Rice – 35
6. Tulane – 20


East Division

1. UCF (13) – 85
2. Southern Miss (2) – 70
3. Marshall – 58
4. East Carolina – 56
5. UAB – 29
6. Memphis – 17



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