Last month, I wrote about the teams UH will be playing in the 2018 football season. See: An Early Look at UH’s 2018 Opponents. Now, we have the full schedule to examine. I put a lot of value in how the season is scheduled: There’s always a game that can turn a season. This year, I think it’s the trip to Navy.
Now that we have it, here are my top 10 takeaways on the 2018 schedule:
1. As we knew, the Coogs open on the road at Rice. This will be the 2nd-straight year to start on the road and the third-straight away from TDECU. The Coogs will start next year on the road, too (at OU).
2. The home opener is in week 2 vs Arizona. It will be a much different looking Arizona team than we saw last year. Kevin Sumlin returns to UH but this time as head coach of the Wildcats. It will be the first time UH has faced a former head coach leading an opponent.
3. Texas Southern was thought to be on 9/29 but has been moved to 9/22. The off-week will be on the 29th which works out much better.
4. Tulsa at home on a Thursday night is a total killer for attendance. Not that Tulsa has ever drawn well but Thursday night will ensure this game is under 30,000 – unless the Coogs have a 4-0 September. Even then, it might be difficult.
5. UH has only played one regular season game at ECU since 2003 (Cougars also played the C-USA title game there in 2009). Greenville is a hard trip, especially for the fans.
6. The Navy game is the “it” game on this schedule. And it’s the second of back-to-back roadies to the east coast. The league didn’t do us any favors on this one. This will almost certainly be a 2:30 p.m. kick on CBS Sports Network.
7. Following two tough road trips, the American gives us USF at home. Thanks, league! Charlie Strong’s team will not be as good as last year but there’s still a lot of talent. They’ll be angry after D’Eriq King stole one at their place last year.
8. The five-game stretch of @ECU, @Navy, USF, @SMU, and Temple is a pretty challenging. Key point: The season will be determined by what happens in the 3 games after Navy.
9. The Tulane game on Thursday night 11/15 is a total joke. Besides the crappy 5-day turnaround, the Coogs play two bottom-feeders on Thursday nights at home. That will kill attendance twice in a season without any marquee drawing power. Again, thanks AAC!
10. The Black Friday game at Memphis seems to be our new every-other-year arrangement. I’m good with it. This series has featured four great games in a row.
Overall, the 2018 football schedule is fine. We face our top 3 division rivals on the road and make the trek to ECU. The West schedule is imbalanced for us but that will change.
Notes On Other AAC West Schedules:
- Memphis plays 4 Friday games this season.
- Navy travels across the country 3 times in September and October. They play at Hawaii in the opener, go to Air Force in early October and end the month in San Diego against Notre Dame. Their last 3 conference games are at home.
- SMU avoids back-to-back weeks on the road. Their conference schedule seems most favorable in the West.
- Tulane is on the road for 5 of 7 games in the meat of the schedule. They play 2 Thursday games.
- Tulsa plays all-three Arkansas football programs: Arkansas, Arkansas State, and Central Arkansas. They don’t play a Saturday game from 9/20 til 10/20 (2 Thursdays and a Friday). Tulsa goes to Memphis and Navy in back to back weeks – they play the most challenging schedule in our division.