Talking Houston Cougars and Conference USA with Jefferson Powell
In 2010 Case Keenum was one of the top quarterbacks in the nation heading in to the season, and Houston’s own BCS dreams appeared to rest on his arm. When Houston traveled to Los Angeles for an early season contest against UCLA, they returned to Texas with a broken quarterback and shattered BCS dreams.
With Keenum suffering an ACL injury n a loss to UCLA Houston’s season quickly turned to the worse possible outcome. The defending Conference USA West division champions failed to return to the Conference USA championship game and all eyes quickly moved to 2011 with the return of Keenum, who was granted a rare sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
With Keenum out of the picture other quarterbacks took the spotlight in 2010, including Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Auburn’s Cam Newton, and even TCU’s Andy Dalton. Is Keenum a forgotten name in college football? He should not be.
Keenum’s rehab has been progressing in the off-season and the team has taken measures to keep him healthy, going light on him in practices and training. At this point they know what a healthy Keenum can do and what he means to the team’s chances to win, so why risk getting him banged up in practices?
Keenum will open the season as Houston’s starter behind center and how ironic is it that the Cougars begin the season at home against UCLA? Expect Keenum to have a little bit of emotion inside him that day as he resumes his pursuit of the NCAA career passing record (17,072 passing yards, Timmy Change, Hawaii). Keenum has passed for 13,586 passing yards in his career, leaving him 3,486 yards shy of the record mark. Keenum passed for over 5,000 yards in the 2008 and 2009 seasons so if he stays healthy Keenum should be well within reach of setting the new record.
Jefferson Powell, who covers the Cougars for Rivals.com’s Cougars Den and for Examiner.com, joined the podcast to talk more about Keenum’s importance to Houston this season. We also touch on the rest of Conference USA and pick out some of the favorites for the upcoming season.
And because Powell is in the state of Texas I had to get his take on the impact the Longhorn Network‘s desire to broadcast high school football games in the state could have on the other schools in Texas, most notably Texas A&M. Could this be one of the boiling points that leads Texas A&M to finding a new conference home, such as the SEC? Yes, those Aggies to SEC rumors have resurfaced this week, and it makes for great conversation. Powell, like me, thinks the NCAA should not be allowing the Longhorn Network to carry high school games, but we will have to wait and see where this leads us all down the road.
Later today on Examiner.com I will be posting my Conference USA division predictions. I will add links to those in this post when they are available.
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