The Best & Worst From The 2010s

Greg Ward & Case Keenum

What an interesting decade for the Cougars. Five football coaches, three in basketball, and three ADs. The Coogs played home football games in four stadiums and home basketball games in three different arenas.

Football competed in 21 states and in all five time zones that FBS football is played. They won 3 bowl games, played 3 bowls in DFW, went 1-1 in conference title games (hosted both), and fired two coaches coming off winning seasons.

The Cougars went 50-30 in conference play, a 5-3 average, which was UH’s record in 5 out of 7 years of AAC play. The Coogs went 16-8 in C-USA this decade and 34-22 in the AAC.
 

Best Football Games

1. OU 2016
2. Louisville 2016
3. Peach Bowl 2015
4. Armed Forces Bowl vs. Pitt 2014
5. Memphis 2015

It’s weird to say but in a decade’s worth of games, the five best were all played within a 23-month stretch. OU was the most exciting and fun game I’ve been to in the 22 years I’ve been following UH.
 

Worst Football Games

1. UTSA 2014
2. Southern Miss 2011
3. Texas State 2012
4. Fort Worth Bowl vs. Army 2018
5. SMU 2012

There’s some debate among UH fans about what was worse: UTSA or USM. I’ve always contended that Southern Miss was a 12-game winner that season and a loss was always possible. Texas State, at the time, felt like it was the worst loss in school history but Tony Levine was able to lose an even worse one. The SMU game was the most points ever given up in school history (72) and UH gave up three picks-six – each from a different QB. That may never be achieved again in college football history.
 

Biggest Wins

1. Ohio State 2019 (basketball)
2. San Diego State 2018 (basketball)
3. Peach Bowl 2015 (football)
4. Cincinnati 3/10/2019 (basketball)
4. LSU June 1, 2014 (baseball)

I’m defining the biggest wins as the most consequential. 1 and 2 are pretty close here for me. Beating Ohio State to get to the Sweet 16 is the most consequential win, to me, that UH had this decade. A year before, beating San Diego State to get your first NCAA Tournament win in 34 years was a big, big deal too. The Peach Bowl validated a magical season for Greg Ward and the UH football team.

Beating Cincinnati to clinch the first outright regular-season title in basketball since 1984 is another big feat. Baseball coming back from 4-0 in the 8th inning to shock LSU in the Regional was a really big win, too (UH beat the Tigers the next day to advance to the Supers).
 

Best hires

1. Kelvin Sampson
2. Tom Herman
3. Carl Lewis
4. Frank Anderson
5. Kristin Vesely

Kelvin is a no-brainer. Tom Herman elevated the football program and won the only conference title of the decade. Carl Lewis helped elevate a very good T&F squad to an elite level. Frank Anderson helped baseball pitch at an elite level, too, while Vesely has brought the softball program back.
 

Worst hires

1. Major Applewhite
2. Travis Bush
3. Tony Levine
4. Mark D’Onofrio
5. James Dickey

Major in the top spot isn’t terribly debatable but Travis Bush at #2 might be. Bush was the OC for the worst game in UH history and also had a hand in losing to Tulane in 2014. Bush’s hands were all over the loss to Texas State even though Mike Nesbitt was the titular OC. With a competent OC, Tony may have survived another couple of years.
 

Best New Facilities

1. Fertitta Center
2. TDECU
3. Guy V Lewis Development Center
4. Indoor banked track
5. Indoor practice facility

This is pretty straight-forward. Perhaps the indoor track should be higher on the list.
 

Best QBs

1. Greg Ward, Jr.
2. Case Keenum
3. D’Eriq King
4. John O’Korn
5. David Piland

In Joseph Duarte’s all-decade team, he put Case Keenum as his QB. I disagree with that.

If you’re just talking about what they did in this decade (2010-2019) then Greg Ward has to go first. Ward won the biggest games of the decade, two bowls, a conference title, and beat three top-10 teams (and went 6-0 vs. ranked teams). Keenum only played in 17 games in the decade and only two were against top-25 teams (he went 1-1).
 

Best GIF

In two years of lows, was this Major’s lowest?
 

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