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."


With only four games on the slate this week and the Coogs off, there was still some exciting football in the AAC this week. Let's take a look at week 11:

Coogs had a week off

With a week off, the Coogs also stayed out of the news. No crazy rumors or stories from national media members to address this week. The team had a normal week of practice in preparation for their big game next week against Memphis as the Tigers come to town ranked No. 21 sporting an 8-1 record.

Other key results

Tulsa 34, UCF 31: To say the luster is off UCF as a bully in the AAC would be accurate. While they have tons of talent, nobody fears them the way they did in years past. They've lost more games this year than they have the past two years.

SMU 59, ECU 51: Whenever a top team in the conference struggles to beat a bottom feeder, two narratives are put out: A) the favorite underestimated the underdog, or B) the underdog caught the favorite off guard. Either way, SMU put another notch in the win column and continues to march towards a decent bowl game.

Temple 17, USF 7: The Owls became bowl eligible with a well balanced offensive attack against the Bulls. 167 yards through the air and another 153 on the ground kept the attack even. Despite a -60 penalty yard margin, the Owls managed to grind out a win.

Stars Of The Week

Shane Buechele, QB, SMU: Buechele's 33/46 for 414 yards and five touchdowns were very necessary to pull out the eight point win over ECU. He put up video game numbers partly because...

James Proche & Kylen Granson, WRs, SMU: ...these two combined for 21 catches for 305 yards and accounted for all five of Buechele's passing touchdowns. They caught 73.6% of Burchele's passing yards. Had ECU applied more pressure and/or covered better, they may have won this game.

Cincinnati Rushing Attack: In a 45-point win, you'd imagine there were some crazy number put up. The Bearcats ran the ball 43 times for 307 yards for a 7.1 yards per carry average and four touchdowns. For comparion sake, UConn ran 40 times for only 148 yards and of course didn't score a touchdown.

Games To Watch This Week

Tulane @ Temple

#24 Navy @ #15 Notre Dame

#20 Cincinnati @ USF

Players To Watch This Week

Malcolm Perry, Navy: Facing the #15 ranked Fighting Irish in a midday showdown on national television gives Perry a chance to shine. I can't wait to see what he can do against a defacto Power 5 school.

Justn McMillan, Tulane: Going East and facing Temple at 11am CST will be a slight body clock test for the Green Wave. McMillan is their leading passer and rusher. He, like the aforementioned Perry, will get to prove himself on the road against a tough opponent.

Cincinnati Rushing Attack: The Bearcats average 202.4 yards per game on the ground. USF averages giving up 194 yards per game on the ground. I fully expect the game to be won or lost depending upon who wins this battle.

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