The University of Houston Cougars football team will be entering the 2009-2010 season with lofty expectations. Luckily, they have one of the top quarterbacks in the nation to help them meet and or even exceed those expectations.
The Cougars are coming off an 8-5 season in which they saw many highs in head coach Kevin Sumlin's second season. The Cougars had eight games in which they scored 40 points or more, including a 70-30 drubbing of then top 25 ranked Tulsa. They would go on to defeat Air Force 34-28 in the Armed Forces Bowl in December.
Earlier this week, U of H was picked as the preseason favorite to win Conference USA, narrowly defeating East Carolina by an 11-10 count.
Conference USA media also released its All-Preseason Team, in which several well-known Cougars were named to the list. The preseason first team included star quarterback junior Case Keenum, sophomore receiver Tyron Carrier (1,026 yards and 9 touchdowns), sophomore running back Bryce Beall (1,247 yards and 13 touchdowns) and senior defensive back Brandon Brinkley (74 tackles and 4 interceptions).
The second team All-Preseason squad featured sophomore receiver Patrick Edwards, senior center Carl Barnett, sophomore linebacker Marcus McGraw and senior punter Chase Turner.
The best news of all came when Case Keenum received Conference USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors.
In the 2008-2009 campaign, Keenum lead the nation in total offense with 403.2 yards per game and was second overall in passing yardage totaling 5,020 yards with 44 touchdowns and 30.54 completions per game. Some have even gone on record as saying that Keenum is a Heisman Trophy candidate.
This season is sure to provide plenty of sparks and will hopefully bring UH their second conference title in the last five years, their last conference title coming back in 2006 with coach Art Briles.
Coach Sumlin will look to build on his success as a coach and gain the attention of big-time recruits. He put together a very solid recruiting class in the offseason, and provided that he utilizes the abundance of talent that area Houston high schools have to offer, he will do it again during this recruiting season.
Be sure to look out for my next article where I will give my prediction for the upcoming 2009-2010 UH Cougar football schedule.