Thursday thoughts

I am back in Russell. I am done driving in 2015.The only question left is whether I will stay awake to greet 2016 in my basement in Russell, or will I fall asleep and skip it. Either way I am not watching Ryan Seacrest. I never watched the show when Dick Clark hosted it, so why should I bother now?

Prior to December 31, 1972, the only New Year’s Eve show was Guy Lombardo and his big band orchestra on CBS. Clark started his in 1972, and Lombardo died in November 1977, so there really hasn’t been crap except what has been on ABC. Johnny Carson, and Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon after him, showed reruns on New Year’s Eve, and same thing with David Letterman on CBS. Between Lombardo and Letterman (1977-1992), CBS had reruns or else let the local affiliates program the time around midnight.

Of course, nothing on TV tonight could ever be worse than the 2011 film New Year’s Eve. I saw trailer after trailer for the movie when I watched The Help, Horrible Bosses and Crazy. Stupid. Love. in theaters that summer. It  appeared to be nothing more than a bunch of big names thrown together at various places across New York City.

The cast included Jessica Biel, Sofia Vergara, Lea Michelle, Jon Bon Jovi, Hilary Swank and Seth Meyers, just to name a few. It also had appearances from–surprise, surprise–Ryan Seacrest and then-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

I stayed away from watching it in a theater, and I have had no inclination to watch it on HBO, Showtime, or on Blu-Ray. And from what most critics have wrote, it was beyond bad. One critic from Great Britain called it the worst movie ever.

The University of Houston has just won its first major bowl game since 1979. The Cougars defeated Florida State 38-24 in the Peach Bowl, allowing Houston to finish 13-1, the best record in school history.

The Cougars have become the standard bearer for the so-called Group of Five under coach Tom Herman, who had no head coaching experience exactly one year ago. After the Cougars fired Tony Levine, they hired Herman from Ohio State, where he was offensive coordinator for Urban Meyer’s national championship team.

Houston has been beyond irrelevant for the last 30 years. Obviously, the Cougars are greatly overshadowed by the Astros, Rockets and the NFL (the Oilers, then the Texans), and in the college pecking order, UH is far, far, far behind Texas and Texas A&M, and with the recent success of Baylor and TCU, the Cougars are behind them, and probably LSU, too.

The Cougars’ most recent major bowl game until today was the Cotton Bowl following the 1984 season, when Bill Yeoman’s club lost 45-28 to Boston College, led by 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie. Houston won two Cotton Bowls previously, ousting Maryland 30-21 in 1976 and Nebraska 17-14 in 1979.

Houston’s program has committed major NCAA rules violations on several occasions throughout its history, first under Yeoman, then under his successor, former Redskins linebacker and head coach Jack Pardee. It was this sordid history that led both the Big 12 and the Western Athletic Conference to say no thanks to Houston when the Southwest Conference dissolved. Even SMU, less than a decade removed from the death penalty due to egregious football recruiting violations, was taken into the WAC, along with TCU and Rice, UH’s city neighbor.

Instead, Houston was exiled to Conference USA, a new league which was built more on basketball success (Cincinnati, Memphis, Louisville) than football. In fact, several schools–Saint Louis, DePaul, Charlotte–did not play football.

Houston got into the American Athletic Conference in 2013, but it is itching for a spot in the Big 12. The Cougars are going to have trouble convincing Texas and Texas Tech they are worthy, and TCU and Baylor might not be any more receptive. And Houston can forget about ever sniffing the SEC. Not good enough, and no way Texas A&M and LSU will share the fertile recruiting ground that is southeast Texas with another league school.

Today, Houston came up against a Florida State team that probably could have cared less. The Seminoles were not going to be jacked to face a team from a lesser conference, not after wining the national championship in 2013 and playing in last year’s playoff. Sure, this year’s Houston team may have been able to be competitive with Auburn in 2013 and Oregon in 2014, but Houston is a major step down from the Tigers of the Plains and the Ducks.

Oklahoma and Clemson are about to kick off. I’ll check in later.

 

 

 

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on December 31, 2015, in College Football, Personal and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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