DEL OLALEYE

The college football report: Week 6

Hey, Ed. Del needs you to lose again this week. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Has Texas finally found an identity on offense?

Questions about the Longhorn’s return to the elite of college football seem to be never ending and really miss the point. The only time Texas was great in my lifetime they had a clear identity. It was a somewhat fortunate and not likely to be sustainable identity, but it worked. Build your program around two legends at QB and watch the program flourish. That is somewhat tongue in cheek as Texas had great players everywhere when Mack Brown had it going. It really is remarkable though that Vince Young and Colt McCoy both were the starting quarterbacks at Texas in such a short amount of time. Texas has been looking for their next quarterback heir ever since. The inability to find the next great one got Mack Brown fired and is partly why Charlie Strong got fired too. Beating Oklahoma doesn’t mean Sam Ehlinger is the next in line. His play in a single game against a bad defense shouldn’t be the focus.  How Texas won that game should be.

Texas was the bully in that game. They beat up Oklahoma for three-plus quarters on both sides of the ball. The Longhorn defense under Todd Orlando has that reputation. The Longhorns offense does not. That beat up another blue blood program when they dominated USC earlier in the year as well. It isn’t just the Texas offensive line that are bullies on offense. They have big strong wide receivers that outmuscled and ran through smaller Sooner defensive backs on the perimeter all game long. If Texas is actually “back” it will be about establishing a consistent identity on both sides of the ball that permeates throughout the program. This past Saturday against the Sooners was a great start.

Hate Watch Record 3-3: Miami beats FSU 28-27

The game was ugly for almost three quarters if you were a Miami fan. Losing to your hated rivals is one thing. Losing to them at home when you’re a two touchdown favorite could ruin a season. Florida State’s season-long issues along the offensive line bore themselves out in the second half as the Seminoles were shut out and amassed a total of 45 yards of total offense in after halftime. Two turnovers by Florida State inside their own 30-yard line gave the crowd in Miami and the team life. After being down 27-7 late in the third Miami stormed back to win 28-27. The victory is Miami’s second straight in the series after losing seven in a row to their in-state rivals.

Hate Watch Game of the Week: Georgia vs LSU

I can’t even pretend like this is based on anything other than a LSU loss helps my team’s chances. If Miami’s slim hopes of making the college football playoff are to get better, LSU losing more than one game this season has to happen. The Tigers lost to Florida on the road last week but their resounding win over Miami in Week 1 would make them an obvious choice if it came down to picking between the Tigers and the Canes for a playoff spot. LSU also has a schedule the rest of the way where winning out would assuredly put them in the playoffs. Rooting for Georgia is simply pragmatic.

 

Ed Oliver skips bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft. Houston Cougar Football Facebook

The regular season is over for Houston football, but a lot has occurred since last week. Let’s take a look at what to expect for UH:

The Armed Forces Bowl

Houston (8-4, 5-3 in AAC) will face Army (9-2) at Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on Dec. 22. The Black Knights are ranked No. 22 in the Top 25 AP Poll, mostly due to their prolific triple option rushing attack which ranks third in the nation. They are on a seven game winning streak since losing to Oklahoma. The Big 12 Conference Champion struggled at home against Army, but would later win in overtime. Army averages 300 yards per game on the ground this year, making them the third team (Navy, Memphis, Army) that Houston will face that is ranked within the top five in rushing. The matchup is not good for a depleted Houston defense. The Black Knights will play Navy this weekend, a conference foe of the Cougars who has had a terrible season. Army vs Navy will be the only college football game this weekend, where you can get a sneak peak of what to expect if you haven’t seen the Black Knights play all season. Plus, the uniforms for this game are always pretty cool.

King vs Milton

Houston comes into this bowl game with their heads hung low after what most consider to be a disappointing season. Injuries, most notably those to D’Eriq King and Ed Oliver, sidetracked the Cougars from heading into the AAC Championship game after Memphis blew them out in Week 13. King and UCF QB McKenzie Milton were both nominated for AAC Offensive Player of the Year, of which Milton took home for a second straight season. Milton humbly gave King an honorable mention by saying, “Shout out to D’Eriq King who is just as, if not, more deserving of this honor. Promise we’ll both be back better than ever!” King played only 11 games, where he reached 50 total touchdowns, 14 of which came from the ground, threw for 2,982 passing yards, and rushed for 674 yards.

Ed Oliver Denies Bowl Game

The All-American defensive tackle Ed Oliver decided to sit out his final bowl game to begin preparing for the NFL draft. He announced his decision via twitter where he thanked the University of Houston, the coaching staff, and his teammates. He finished by saying, “To all the fans, thank you for your relentless support. Forever I will be a Coog!” Oliver’s decision came about a week after he publicly announced that he will be playing in whatever bowl UH was assigned, even after he had to be benched for tweaking his knee in Week 13 vs Memphis. He missed four games this season after suffering from an uncalled chop block against Navy. In his three years in Houston, Oliver accounted for 193 total total tackles, 54 of which were tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 14 passes defended, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one blocked kick. He was the first underclassmen to win the Outland Trophy in 2017, which is awarded to the best college interior lineman. This season, Oliver won AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Coaching Changes/Extensions

Houston still doesn’t have a defensive coordinator. Mark D’Onofrio was fired after the Memphis game for managing one of the worst defenses in college football, and also one of the worst defenses in the history of the program. The UH defense allowed a total of 412 points, being the fifth most allowed points in a season in school history, while also allowing 5,862 total yards. It seems like Houston is in no rush in finding a replacement.

Kendal Briles accepted a contract extension from UH after interviewing with Texas State for the head coaching job vacancy. He was also widely considered for a SEC offensive coordinator position of which was not disclosed by sources. The new three-year deal is worth $2.1 million, making Briles one of the highest paid assistants in the nation. Offensive line coach Randy Clements also enjoyed a new three-year extension. Consider both a package deal. The Houston offense averaged 46.4 points per game, rushed for 2991 yards, and passed for 3611 yards, making it one of the best offenses in the nation.

AAC Bowl Matchups

Armed Forces Bowl- Houston vs Army

Military Bowl- Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech

Gasparilla Bowl- USF vs Marshall

Birmingham Bowl- Memphis vs Wake Forest

Independence Bowl- Temple vs Duke

Cure Bowl- Tulane vs Louisiana Lafayette

Most Notable AAC Bowl Matchup

Fiesta Bowl- UCF vs LSU

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