The last 30 days have seen several changes to the University of Houston’s football schedule for 2020 and beyond. In addition, there are two previously undisclosed changes being finalized.
As has been known, the early 2020 schedule has been altered as games with Rice (postponed, officially) and at Washington State (canceled) are off. Rice could be made up at a later date but nothing has been decided.
A significant change came from the UH Board of Regents meeting held on Thursday. The Board approved moving the Texas Tech game from TDECU Stadium to NRG Stadium. It will now be the 2021 Texas Kickoff game and the new contract will be with ESPN Productions (EPI) and Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE).
The Board’s contract summary says UH will receive “up to $2,400,000” but further details are unknown. The contract for last year’s Washington State game was not finalized until four months before kickoff. We will have more on this contract in the coming days.
“The players have always liked being able to play in an NFL stadium, I’d rather play at home. It’s always been cool to them,” Holgorsen said last September. “I’m a big fan of neutral site games and this is pretty much a neutral site game.”
NRG treated the 2019 Wazzu game as a neutral site game even though the contract said otherwise.
About a month ago, Vanderbilt announced that the school was dropping its 2021 home game vs. UH in favor of one with UConn. The decision to drop the game was easily agreed to by UH as Dana Holgorsen wants to go in a new direction in scheduling.
The new game vs. UConn is ideal for Vandy as the Huskies will not receive any payment to go to Nashville. SEC schools are required to play one non-conference game against a P5 team or the AAC; UH would have been that team but a recently-signed series with Stanford gave Vandy an opportunity to replace UH.
UH is now two out-of-conference games short of a full 2021 schedule. The schedule currently looks like this:
I expect UH to try to fill the spots with regional teams willing to come to Houston. That would likely include an FCS team.
There are also two more changes potentially coming to the 2020 schedule. The opener, scheduled for September 19 at Memphis, could be moved up a day to Friday the 18th for TV purposes. ESPN is working to fill the massive holes left in their TV schedules by the B1G, Pac-12, MWC, and MAC canceling their seasons. There are currently no games on that Friday and it could be a spotlight for UH, Memphis, and the AAC.
The BYU game could be moved from Provo to Houston. The October 16th game (Friday) would be played at TDECU with UH then returning the game in the 2023 season, a flip of the previously-determined sites. The change would make sense for both schools: UH wants momentum in year two for Dana Holgorsen which is helped by home games and I believe BYU would make the change due to its 2023 away schedule. Currently, BYU has games at USC, Virginia, Houston, Arkansas, and UCF for 2023.
This change would allow UH to play three-straight at TDECU in 2020 over the course of a month. After a flight home from Memphis on the night of September 18, the team wouldn’t leave Houston until flying to Annapolis on October 23.
Neither the Memphis or BYU changes are official yet.