We’ve reached the point of the offseason where preseason magazines start to trickle out onto grocery store shelves and in .PDF format on Twitter and everywhere else you find your college football content.
One of the mainstays of the preseason magazine world, Athlon Sports, has long had a segment during this part of the season when they ask coaches, anonymously, about other coaches in their league.
While each of the four new addition Big 12 schools has its respective questions to answer heading into football season, according to one Big 12 Coach, Houston head coach Dana Holgerson’s job isn’t on the line, but the previous season was definitely a disappointment.
“Dana [Holgorsen] is safe right now, but last year was definitely a disappointment. He’s a guy who doesn’t change his style, though. He’s gonna do whatever he thinks he should no matter what the circumstances are in a season. … The new quarterback [Donovan Smith] could be a huge swing for the offense. He’s an eight-game starter in the league already, and if he’d stay healthy, he’d probably be the starter at Texas Tech. He’s the kind of guy that staff knows how to develop.”
While the report above didn’t take it easy on Holgorsen, the 2022 Houston Cougars were deserving of some criticism. The squad finished 8-5 overall with a conference record of 5-3, and while that may not seem bad on the surface, the weight of expectation took its toll on Houston last year finishing fifth in the AAC.
With the final season of AAC football completed for the Cougars, they did have the opportunity to play two Big 12 schools in their non-conference schedule taking on the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and the Kansas Jayhawks in two of their first three games. Houston took back-to-back losses against Kansas and Tech with the Red Raiders beating the Cougars 33-30 in overtime in week two, and the Jayhawks cruising to a 48-30 victory the following week. Holgorsen did however lead his team to a bowl game where the bunch found a 23-16 victory over Louisiana in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl on December 23rd.
The change in conferences comes at an interesting time for the Cougars as the team entered the 2022 team as a title contender in AAC, but with the Big 12 Conference having some of the top teams in the country each season, Houston’s shot at a Big 12 title is less likely. Holgorsen’s squad takes the field on Saturday, September 2nd against the UTSA Road Runners kicking off the team’s non-conference schedule en route to the first Big 12 game for the Houston Cougars.