By FRED FAOUR
This weekend might be the best we have ever seen in terms of matchups in college football, especially involving teams of local interest. Houston vs. Oklahoma is the premier matchup, but Texas-Notre Dame and A&M-UCLA will go a long way to determining the state’s football future.
For Houston the stakes are high. Win, and they will be a popular choice to be the first non-power five school to crack the playoff talk. While in reality it would be almost impossible, a win over Oklahoma keeps the conversation alive. A loss? They will be hard-pressed to be the New Year’s Day bowl representative from the non-power fives. Still, a high-profile game like this is a rarity for UH football. And with the Big 12 watching, it could be the impetus for that long-awaited and well-deserved invite to the big boy table.
The stakes are just as high in Austin. Charlie Strong is firmly sitting on the hot seat, and the Longhorns face a tough task against Notre Dame. It’s likely Strong will need at least eight wins in order to keep his job. Losing seasons simply aren’t acceptable in Austin. Strong finally has the roster the way he wants it, so there are no more excuses. It should be a better team in terms of record, but Notre Dame might be too tough this early.
Kevin Sumlin is on less of a hot seat at Texas A&M, but the Aggies have regressed under his tenure. It hasn’t been the best off-season at A&M, with coaches acting like idiots, quarterbacks leaving at an alarming rate and lots of bad pub. Still, the Aggies are extremely talented and get a high profile matchup with UCLA to open the season.
In short, this weekend features what could be pivotal seasons for all three programs, and one in which all three could easily emerge 0-1.
A loss by the Longhorns or Aggies turns up the heat. A setback for the Cougars would be a step backward in a quest to make a New Year’s Day bowl. High stakes abound on an opening weekend, and thankfully college football is here.