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Top Three Questions for Houston Heading into Big 12 Media Days

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Houston

Big 12 Media Days are right around the corner, which means the 2023 college football season is less than two months away.

The burning questions for every team are starting to build some momentum and at media days we will finally get the answers to some of those questions.

As each fanbase prepares itself for another season of Big 12 football, we’re here to help with the three biggest questions that each team is facing before heading to Arlington for Media Days on July 12-13.

With that being said, here are the three biggest questions that the Houston Cougars are facing heading into 2023 Big 12 Football Media Days.

 

Are the Cougars Ready to Make the Jump?

This is a question that all four newcomers will have to face ahead of Big 12 Media Days this week, and it’s a fair question for each of them. Houston has played in the American Athletic Conference since 2013, when it made the jump from Conference USA. Now, they’ll jump to the Power Five level, which is easily a more difficult jump. Last season, Houston played two Power Five programs, both of which play in the Big 12. In those games, Houston was 0-2. Now, Dana Holgorsen and the Cougars will have nine Power Five teams on the schedule, although two of them are fellow newcomers. Over the past two seasons, Holgorsen has gone 20-7, but he will likely be fighting for a bowl game appearance in 2023. If they can do that in their first year in the Big 12, it would be a major win for the program.

Can the Defense Return to its 2021 Form This Season?

Two seasons ago, when Houston went 12-2 and beat Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl, the defense was spectacular. That squad allowed just 20.4 points per game and allowed opponents to top 30 points four times all season. However, in 2022, the Cougars’ defense fell off a cliff, allowing 32.2 points per game,, and gave up 30 or more points seven times, and 27 or more 10 times. Allowing that many points would put Houston ahead of only West Virginia and Kansas in the Big 12, with newcomers included. They’ll need to improve that number in a big way in 2023 if they want to make a bowl game. Some key transfer portal additions on the defensive side of the ball (more on this shortly) should help, but how much?

 

Will Houston Hit on the Transfer Portal Additions?

If you are a Houston football fan, you are fully aware of how active the Cougars were in the transfer portal this offseason, both in making additions and dealing with losses. While losing players like RB Alton McCaskill and OL Cam’ron Johnson will certainly hurt, Houston did well with its additions in the portal. Four projected starters on the 2023 UH roster started games for current Big 12 teams last season: QB Donovan Smith (Texas Tech), RB Tony Mathis (West Virginia), TE Mike O’Laughlin (West Virginia), and DE David Ugwoegbu (Oklahoma). In addition to those, players like LB Ish Harris, OT Jaylen Garth, S AJ Haulcy, and K Jack Martin are expected to be major contributors in 2023 as well. If that group of transfers can be major impact players for this squad, Houston’s got a shot to surprise some folks after being picked to finish last in the Big 12.

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