Unfortunately for us fans, Week 6 was nothing too outrageous at least by CFB standards. You had your standard SEC top 25 matchups, a battle of the underachievers at the Cotton Bowl, Florida State bringing Miami back to reality and a bunch of ranked teams taking care of business. For the Houston Cougars though, the world may appear a little upside down after their stunning loss to Navy.
The Cougars left Navy Memorial Stadium feeling like their season and their chance to sneak in the CFP has slipped through their hands, but the reality is they may have lost more than just their 2016 campaign. Rumors are still swirling that head coach, Tom Herman is halfway out the door from UH despite him shooting down questions before the Navy game. With a coaching vacancy already in Baton Rouge and other places like USC and UT on the brink; it’s hard not to at least entertain the idea that Herman could leave Houston at the end of the season.
It’s a difficult choice to not want to go home, especially when that home is considered one of the most wealthy and storied programs in all of college football. Despite being born in Cincinnati, people tend to forget that Herman grew up in California along with his wife, Michelle. Herman also has ties to the University of Texas after serving under Mac Brown as a GA for the Longhorns. Obviously there is the LSU job but that is just speculation even though being the most powerful man in the state of Louisiana doesn’t sound like a bad gig either.
There is always the outside chance that Herman decides to stay in Houston, which will probably fall on whether the Big 12 votes to expand or not. Unfortunately for Houston, they are still on the outside looking in when it comes to being a member of a Power 5 conference, which might be exactly what the Cougars need to entice their current coach and prospective players to the UH campus.
Houston is a hotbed for High School football and is literally in the back yard of the University of Houston, which is quietly one of the largest schools in the state in terms of enrollment attracting more students than ever. Herman has already sold this idea to his prized 2016 recruits Courtney Lark, Tren’Davian Dickson and his crown jewel Ed Oliver. All 3 players are from the state of Texas and Oliver is from you guessed it- Houston. With a tool such as being a Power 5 school, Herman would be able to haul in recruiting classes that could rival programs across the state. After not even a full year on campus he managed to scrape up a recruiting class for 2016 that ranked 35th nationally and filled with Texas recruits. If Herman wants to compete in the Big 12, he would need to out duel schools such Baylor, TCU, UT and pretty much every other school outside the conference that plucks blue chips from the Lone Star State.
UH’s addition to the Big 12 would alter the recruitment of Texas and particularly the city of Houston in a very big way. Big enough maybe to make the hottest name in college football want to turn down some the biggest jobs in college football just to stay with the new kid on the block. Herman has remained adamant about not answering questions involving his job until after the season, so until January it appears we have nothing to go on but speculation. Regardless of where Herman is headed (or staying), he is due for a massive salary bump for 2017 and beyond. The real question is, what school will be signing those checks?