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Houston Cougars 2013 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2013-14 NCAA Previews (AAC) – Cougars

When coach Kevin Sumlin left Houston for Texas A&M and was replaced by offensive coordinator Tony Levine there was great hope for a Cougars program to continue to enjoy its recent success. If last year is any indicator the run may be over as the Cougars stumbled in their final season in Conference USA.

Houston Cougars (Team Link)
Coach: Tony Levine
2012 Record: 5-7
Odds of winning BCS Championship: +2000 (the field)

Now they have joined the new American Athletic Conference where if they can get back to the level Sumlin had the program they can certainly compete for league championships.

Last year the defense was atrocious so the new coach might not be all to blame(the team seemed to lack confidence on both sides of the ball). However the outlook is only cautiously optimistic heading into this season as it may be more of the same.

Some out there may be sleeping on the Cougars after last year but this team is scheduled right to have a hot start and maybe rebuild their confidence and swagger. Don’t completely forget about them, especially if their offense is performing at a high level.

Houston is returning more than half of its starting offense from a team that averaged better than 32 ppg a year ago. One of the key losses was a recent one though as senior running back Charles Sims left to join the program at West Virginia. Sims has always been productive but not was not as much of a factor last year with Sumlin gone.

I suppose he is hoping to get his mojo and NFL prospects going by hooking up with former Houston offensive coordinator and current Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen, who hasn’t been gone that long and might have been involved in recruiting him.

The Cougars should be able to once again have a solid passing attack thanks to the return of 3 offensive linemen and triggerman QB David Piland, who has been around the program for a while. Last year he was off with a low completion percentage (57%) and way too many turnovers but he has been very good in the past.

Houston has more than enough receiving talent to put a scare into foes and one player to keep an eye on is WR Markeith Ambles who washed out at USC but has landed on the Houston campus after a stint in junior college. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Houston has always struggled putting together a decent defense and last year especially. It is difficult to imagine a huge turnaround with just 4 starters returning but slight middle linebacker Derrick Mathews is a stud as a tackling machine that can also pressure the quarterback.

Houston is hoping that new coordinator David Gibbs can get things going in a different direction and the overall numbers should be helped by the fact that the former Big East teams are not nearly as wide open on offense as what the Cougars saw in Conference USA.

Houston also has high hopes for transfer linebacker Trevon Randle. He began his career at LSU and we all know that is a program that knows how to recruit top defensive players.

2013-14 Record Projection: 6-6

2012 was a huge letdown for a program that had been carrying the banner for Conference USA and was even trying to scare up some BCS buster consideration. The down season was not a surprise given their was new leadership both on and off the field but it was surprising how far they fell because lets face it that conference is not exactly stacked.

If the Cougars had stayed in C-USA a quick return to the top would have been much easier but the new American Athletic Conference is going to be challenging for this defense starved club.

The best teams in this league are definitely a level or two ahead of this program right now but there are enough bottom feeders for them to have a slight improvement over last year.

Teams from the state of Texas can always get the talent they need to compete and if they have hit it right on their coach they can rise quickly.

Look for Houston to be right in the middle of the pack without threatening any of the big boys.

2013 Cougars Schedule

AUG 30 – Southern
SEP 7 – @Temple
SEP 21 – @Rice
SEP 28 – @UTSA
OCT 12 – Memphis
OCT 19 – BYU
OCT 26 – @Rutgers
OCT 31 – South Florida
NOV 9 – @UCF
NOV 16 – @Louisville
NOV 23 – Cincinnati
NOV 29 – SMU

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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.