Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at reasons for optimism and causes for concern for the 2022 Houston Cougars. Today: optimism!
UH’s 2022 schedule is as soft as squeeze butter. This year’s opponents went 64-84 in 2021, ranking the UH schedule 125th in “returning schedules” in FBS. In 2022, only three teams play a schedule with fewer than 64 wins from last year and just six opponents’ schedules had worse winning percentages. We’re talkin’ Charmin soft.
In 33 of those 84 losses, UH’s 2022 opponents scored 14 points or less (22% of the time) and went 0-33 in those games. In 54 of them, these opponents scored 21 or fewer points (36.5%) and had a 3-51 record. I mean, cotton candy soft.
Based partly on the weak schedule, ESPN’s Football Power Index projects UH to win 8.8 games; only 13 teams in the country are predicted to win more. But despite forecasting (basically) with a 9-3 season, ESPN has the Cougars at 44th in the power index.
Half of UH’s 2022 schedule went 47-29 last year – quite respectable – but that means the other half – Kansas, Rice, Tulane, Navy, USF, and Temple – combined to go 17-55. Kansas, Tulane, and USF each had one FBS win: Kansas beat Texas, Tulane beat USF, and USF beat Temple.
Oh, Texas…losing to Kansas. Giving up 57 to Kansas. That’s pussy willow soft, too.
Focus: Those six teams combined to win 17 games last year (3 of the wins were guaranteed since they came against other teams on this list). Five of the wins were FCS opponents. In reality, this half of the 2022 schedule went 12-55 vs. FBS opponents (17.9%) last year. The bad news? UH’s home schedule includes five of these 6 teams. That’s wet noodle soft.
And after coming home from the first two games on the road, UH hosts Kansas, Rice, and Tulane to close out September – teams that went 5-28 last year vs. FBS teams, scoring 21.3 ppg in those games. Soft as jelly.
This Houston Cougar team appears to be loaded with talent – especially at the skill positions – and should have great depth on the defense. I think they could be really talented and go on a big run. But no matter how good the team turns out to be, there will always be questions because they just won’t play anyone. That schedule is pom-pom soft.
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