AAC Championship: Houston Rolls By Temple

    Houston likely takes a spot in the New Year's Six with an American Athletic Conference championship win over Temple

    December 5, 2015

    Houston beat Temple 24-13 to take the American Athletic championship and, likely, a spot in the New Year’s Six.


    1. If Greg Ward Jr. stays healthy, he’ll be in the Heisman hunt throughout 2016

    Tom Herman, who agreed to a five-year contract extension this week, plus one more season with Ward will put Houston back on the Heisman map for the first time since the Andre Ware and David Klingler days more than a generation ago.

    Ward is one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the country, displaying it again in the inaugural American Championship Game by rushing for more than 100 yards and two scores against a very good Temple D. He’s electrifying in space. And he’ll enjoy even more daylight next fall, since this year’s O-line was freshmen-dominated.

    2. Todd Orlando is one of the game’s most underrated defensive coordinators

    The earmark of a winning coach? He succeeds wherever he winds up and whatever talent he inherits. Case in point, Orlando.

    Everywhere Orlando puts down stakes, from Connecticut and Utah State to now in Houston, results have followed. He’s done a solid job with the Cougars, unleashing an attacking unit that gave up some yards but just a single touchdown today to Temple. The Owls were unable to establish the ground game, and when QB P.J. Walker becomes the focal point of the attack, it’s usually a sign that Temple is operating from a deficit.

    3. If the Big 12 ever decides to expand, Houston needs to top the list of candidates

    Yeah, yeah, why split the pie into two additional slices, when the Cougars won’t necessarily make the pie larger from a TV audience perspective? The financial realities are clear, but how about making a decision for a change based on what would be good for the overall product?

    Houston would fit in seamlessly in the Big 12. Instant rivalries, geographic common sense and a program that could outgrow the American before long. The Cougs have new facilities, a conference championship, an inevitable Big Six bowl invite and a young coach, Herman, who’s now being paid like a Power Five CEO. It’s only a matter of time before this school gets promoted, much the way TCU did three years ago.

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