Falcon Points

With bizarre D'Eriq King announcement, UH is playing the long game. Will it work?

Photo via Houston Cougar Football/Facebook

When the news broke on Monday, it made little sense. Sensational senior quarterback D'Eriq King and receiver Keith Corbin announced they were redshirting thanks to a new rule that allows players to do so after four games. It was confusing, in that some reports had King planning to transfer.

As of now, he says he is staying. But should he decide to transfer, he will be a hot property. On the surface, punting on the season seems bizarre. But if it really plays out this way and he is back at UH next season, the move makes a lot of sense.

Rough start

King is under his third coach in four years. When Dana Holgorsen came in, it seemed to be a godsend for the program, a successful Power Five coach with a knack for offense. But a tough early schedule that included games against Oklahoma and Washington State led to a 1-3 start. The killer was a loss at Tulane, a game in which UH blew a 21-point lead. Even with King and Corbin, the Cougars have little shot at anything more than a bottom feeder bowl game.

Does it make sense?

Make no mistake, the Cougars are tanking. It's not something we have seen in college football. But if King does return, it makes sense. Holgorsen has several high profile transfers sitting out this season, and the roster will be in much better shape in 2020. King can work on his craft for another year and come back ready to make a run at a conference title; maybe more. Or he can graduate and go to a bigger school. His accuracy was not the same this season; time off to work on it could help.

Bare cupboard

The Cougars collapse began last season, and culminated in an ugly bowl loss to Army, one that cost Major Applewhite his job. Other than King and a few quality players, Applewhite left a fairly bare cupboard, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The decline actually started in Tom Heman's final year, and got worse under Applewhite.

The Cougars are better than they were at the end of last season, but the record does not reflect it. Truthfully, they aren't good enough to compete for a conference title. So why not get some young players experience and come back strong next season?

Serious impact this year

With King, the Cougars might have been favored in three or four games left in the season. They would need five wins to get bowl eligible. As it stands? They will likely only be favored in one, against UConn.

They opened as 1 1/2 point favorites at North Texas; now they are seven point underdogs. Clayton Tune has some experience at quarterback, filling in when King got hurt last year. He won't be a disaster. But the Cougars will not be nearly as good.

People who bought season tickets on the Holgorsen hope can't be happy. This is not what they were sold on. It also means the Cougars better have some success in 2020, or Holgorsen's seat will get hot fast. He is likely headed for a losing season at a place that brags about firing coaches for eight win seasons.

Now that will have to happen in 2020, when they have games at Washington State and at BYU. But who knows how it will all play out? The bizarre move does not guarantee them anything. But despite how it looks on the surface, it does make some sense.

Welcome to tanking in college football. To quote Dodgeball, "That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off."


Getty Images

Maybe Bad Baylor isn't so bad after all. Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State and with LSU:

Houston 24, UConn 17

While my thoughts on the Cougars' coaching staff have not changed since last week, defensive back Grant Stuard further solidified my views that he is quite possibly the most disruptive player in college football. He's hungry and it shows. Stuard had 15 tackles, including a touchdown-saving effort to stop a 58-yard run by UConn's Kevin Mensah in the Cougars' 24-17 win over the Huskies on Saturday. While some credit the win to Houston coach Dana Holgorsen's son, Logan, I know the victory would not have been possible without Stuard. Dana Holgerson was caught on the sideline in the second quarter making a profanity-riddled comment about his players' inability to be coached which, to me, speaks volumes about his inability to communicate effectively with his team. "I say things all the time I don't mean," Holgorsen said. "In the heat of the battle, things on the sidelines, hot mics or cameras getting caught. My guys know good and well what I think of them, how hard I'd coach them and how much I think of them and how much I appreciate everything that they do." People who "appreciate" you show it. That's all I'm going to say about that. The Cougars return home to No. 19 SMU on Thursday night.

Texas 50, Kansas 48

Dicker. Kicker. On the brink of a massive upset by an unranked opponent, it was up to quarterback Sam Ehlinger and kicker Cameron Dicker to bring it home for the Longhorns. And they delivered. Ehlinger drove the Longhorns to the Jayhawks 21-yard line, putting Texas within field goal range with 1:11 left to play. Dicker kicked a 33-yarder as the clock expired to lift the Longhorns to a 50-48 victory, bringing an end to a fourth quarter scoring shootout that saw schools exchange six touchdowns, two field goals and a blocked extra point for a two-point safety. "I love kickers," said Herman, who makes a joke of not saying a kicker's name, and still didn't in his postgame news conference. "I'm glad that we have the one we have." Ehlinger finished with 399 yards passing, four touchdowns and added another 91 yards on the ground. "A win's a win," Ehlinger said. "Very thankful we were able to pull that out." Despite having the worst offense in the Big 12, the Jayhawks were explosive under recently promoted offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon. "I got guys that are fighting like hell to be a part of what we're doing here and Dearmon is one of them," Kansas coach Les Miles said. Despite the win, Texas could drop in the polls after nearly losing to the worst team in the Big 12. Texas is on the road against TCU next Saturday.

​Kansas State 24, TCU 17

It's been a long time coming for Kansas State. Junior quarterback Skylar Thompson threw two touchdowns that sparked a late game surge to top TCU 24-17 in Kansas State's first win on over a month and their first Big 12 win of the season. "Just the toughness and resolve because he got hit a lot and he always just kept coming back," Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said of Thompson. The Wildcats finished with only 266 yards in a game that felt like TCU should have won. "I mean, we practice what they do and then we react to whatever else they do," TCU cornerback Julius Lewis said. "We've got to keep working." TCU hosts Texas on Saturday.

Texas A&M 24, Mississippi 17

After trailing midway through the third quarter, Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike made two game-changing plays that elevated the Aggies to a 24-17 comeback victory over Ole' Miss in Saturday night. "I just tried to put myself in position to make big plays for my team," said Madubuike, who finished with five tackles, including a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. "It's blocking a ball, sacking a quarterback and all those little things that helped us come out with a win." Aggie quarterback Kellen Mond was 16-of-28 for 172 yards passing and 76 yards rushing on 15 carries. The Aggies host rival Mississippi State on Saturday.

LSU 36, Mississippi State 13

Another week of college football brings about another opportunity for me to rave about the amazing Joe Burrow. The Starkville crowd got a glimpse of Burrow's backside after the star quarterback was pulled to the ground by his pants during his third sack of the game. "I heard there was supposed to be a full moon in Starkville tonight," Burrow joked. Burrow finished 25-of-34 with 327 yards passing and four touchdowns to break LSU's season record with 29 in the No. 2 Tigers' 36-13 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday. "It's a testament to him, the receivers, the offensive line, the coaches," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "But we're just getting started. Our team is not satisfied." We know, coach. You're never satisfied and that's probably why the Tigers are so gosh darned talented. In Burrow's postgame comments, the team leader made it clear he and Orgeron are of one mind in their relentless quest for perfection. "If we play like this next week (versus No. 11 Auburn), we'll lose," Burrow said. "I think we're going to have to execute much better in the red zone than we did this week, because I don't think we'll get as many chances." At a glance it's hard to find fault in the final score for LSU. The Tigers had 415 yards of offense and forced three turnovers against Mississippi State. However, LSU struggled to find a rhythm in the first half, having to settle for field goals on its first three drives. "We didn't play our best game today, but I knew this day was going to come, and I'm proud of our defense," Orgeron said. "Your offense is not going to play great, on fire every week." Mississippi State freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader threw for 238 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted twice by the Tigers. Expect LSU to hold its poll position after taking care of business on the road against an unranked opponent. LSU hosts No. 11 Auburn next week.

​Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 27

Somehow, some way, Bad Baylor has managed to go undefeated for seven-straight games this season. Don't worry, I'm just as shocked as you. Baylor was the four-point underdog going into Saturday's game against Oklahoma State and for the first three quarters, we learned why. Oklahoma State led at halftime, in the third quarter and in the fourth. Baylor responded with 21 unanswered points in the final 10 minutes to beat the cowboys 45-27 on Saturday. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer completed 13-of-17 passes for 312 yards and one touchdown and ran for another score to extend the Bears' winning streak to nine games, the third longest in program history. "I thought we showed heart and I was very appreciative of our guys' effort," Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. "We knew eventually we were going to be OK. I think our team felt like, if we just hang in there, eventually we'll make enough plays to win. I thought everyone stepped up and it was a great team win. It wasn't perfect but they didn't panic." Bad Baylor will probably move up a few spots in the rankings but that's contingent upon how the teams ahead of them fare. Baylor is off next week and faces West Virginia at home on Oct. 31.

Iowa State 34, Texas Tech 24

Iowa State quarterback Brock Burdy threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns to rout Texas Tech 34-24 on Saturday. Freshman running back Breeve Hall ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cyclones to victory. Texas Tech plays at Kansas next Saturday.

UTSA 31, Rice 27

The Rice Owls fell to 0-7, losing at UTSA. This might have been the last chance for Rice to win a football game, as they went in favored.

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