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Why Not Houston To The Mountain West?

This post is being promoted from the fanshot section partially because it is good and to give equal time to a similar article regarding UTEP to the Mountain West.

Academics
Commuter School
Why is UH not in the Big 12
Can Houston Compete
Sports History
Sports Status
Leadership
New Facilities
Location
Texas Recruits



During recent realignments the University of Houston has been mentioned as a possible conference addition. The question: "Why not Houston?" has been asked and many comments have been made. Some accurate and current information is provided below.

Academics

One blog comment stated "Tier 4 — that’s pretty bad." This statement was true years ago, but is not accurate today.

The University of Houston has several high quality colleges University of Houston Rankings:
The U.S. News & World Report ranks the Bauer College of Business as 63rd in the nation among public universities. It has been ranked the best entrepreneurship program by the Princeton Review.

It ranks the University of Houston Law Center 60th in the nation and it ranks three of the Law Center's specialty programs in the top ten in the country.

In 2002, the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management ranked third in the nation in hospitality management by the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education.

According to the Institute for Scientific Information, five of the top fifty cited physicists in the world come from the university's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The Hines College of Architecture is one of only 36 schools to have an accreditation certificate from the NAAB for both Bachelor's and Master's Degree programs.

The university is in the process of raising its standards. What many people, particularly out side of Texas, do not know is this is being addressed in a large scale effort. Voters in Texas approved a proposition in 2009 to create more Tier One universities. Texas currently has three: University of Texas at Austin, Texas A & M, and Rice. $500,000,000 has been made available to aid several state universities in becoming Tier One. Of the universities eligible for this program, Houston is the closest to achieving this goal:

  • The University of Houston ranks third behind UT and A&M in the following categories: research expenditures, doctorate degrees awarded and doctoral program enrollment.
  • UH already is classified at the highest level as a doctoral-granting research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Some 260 doctorates in 50 disciplines are awarded every year.
  • Many UH individual programs, schools and colleges already are classified as top-tier or are highly ranked among the best in the country.

To achieve Tier One, it must:

  • Increase annual fundraising in support of priority academic programs
  • Improve the quality of the freshman class and guarantee its success
  • Raise the annual research from the current $81,000,000 to $150,000,000

The university is currently on a plan to achieve this goal in five years. This will be done. The determination and will exist, and resources are available.

Commuter School

While Houston has over 200,000 alumni in the Houston area, attendance at its games has been low for a number of years. Until recently, on-field performance has been low as well. Some say this is because it it a "Commuter School" and the alumni has little loyalty to the school. Houston deserved this label in the past. It was a working student's school. They worked part time or full time and struggled to attend classes. Many succeeded. The university served the city well in this capacity.

There are more than 3,500 UH alumni who serve as president/CEO of their companies, including PricewaterhouseCoopers Chairman and Global CEO Samuel DiPiazza, Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson, Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz, Centerpoint Energy president and CEO David McClanahan, Brinker International CEO Douglas Brooks, Dynegy Chairman and CEO Bruce Williamson.

As for the commuter label, thousands of new dorm rooms have been built on campus. More will be built. The intent is to increase the number of students living on campus. Like other universities, students living on campus are more involved.

Attendance and on-field performance both fell when the Southwest Conference terminated and Houstion was not admitted to a BCS conference. Advancement has taken years while Houston coped with poor coaching and schedules. There are new coaches and administrators and attendance is on the rise as sports teams are experiencing greater success. It has been the winningest team in C-USA over the last five years. The football team has gone to a bowl for five straight years and had 17% increase in attendance in 2009 over 2008. Further increases are expected as Kevin Sumlin continues building the team. The basketball team went to the NCAA tournament in 2010.

Of course, this pails in comparision to some major teams, but it does show progress.

Why is UH not in the Big 12

There are a number of factors related to why Houston was not included in the Big 12 instead of some other school, including:

  • Low attendance,
  • Low travel to away games, and
  • The desire by some to prevent Houston from competing for top atheletes

The first two are questionable. The last one is not. When Houston joined the SWC, it hit it like a bolt of lightning. The football team won three conference championships in the first four years, and other teams did not cope with "Phi Slama Jama", Houston Cougars men's basketball - Wikipedia, very well either. Houston had teams that were fun to watch and people did. It was recruiting great players in football, basketball, and other sports. In order for some teams to be able to recruit top players in the "hot" Houston area, the Cougars had to fall and politics took them down.

Can Houston Compete

The SEC is generally accepted as the toughest conference is football.

1996 LSU 35 Houston 34
1999 Alabama 37 Houston 10
1999 LSU 7 Houston 20
2000 LSU 28 Houston 13
2003 Mississippi St 35 Houston 42
2005 Mississippi St 16 Houston 28
2006 South Carolina 44 Houston 35
2007 Alabama 30 Houston 23
2009 Mississippi St 24 Houston 31

That's 4 wins in 9 games.

The only home game for the Cougars was in 2003.
Talk about advantage.

Also, the Alabama game was closer than the final score.
Considering Houston has improved over the last 5 years, it would appear to be at least a mid-level school in the SEC.

Can Houston Compete


The SEC is generally accepted as the toughest conference is football.

1996 LSU 35 Houston 34
1999 Alabama 37 Houston 10
1999 LSU 7 Houston 20
2000 LSU 28 Houston 13
2003 Mississippi St 35 Houston 42
2005 Mississippi St 16 Houston 28
2006 South Carolina 44 Houston 35
2007 Alabama 30 Houston 23
2009 Mississippi St 24 Houston 31

That's 4 wins in 9 games.

The only home game for the Cougars was in 2003, so talk about not having an advantage. Also, the Alabama game was closer than the final score.

Sports History

Football:

  • 10 Conference titles
  • 20 bowl appearances
  • 1 Heisman
  • 1 Lombardi
  • 2 Sammy Baugh
  • 1 Davey O'Brien
  • 18 Consensus All-Americans
  • 15 finishes in the AP Poll and Coaches' Poll
  • Andre Ware(Heisman), David Klingler(Sammy Baugh), Case Keenum(Sammy Baugh),Wilson Whitley(Lombardi), Kevin Kolb(Philadelphia Eagles starting QB) Robert Newhouse(Dallas Cowboys),

Basketball:

  • 7 Regular Season Championships
  • 6 Conference Tournament Championships
  • 19 NCAA Tournaments appearances
  • 5 NCAA Tournament Final Four appearances
  • Game of the Century: Houston and UCLA in first NCAA regular season game broadcast nationwide in prime time paved the way for the modern "March Madness" television coverage
  • Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Michael Young, Larry Micheaux, Elvin Hayes, Don Chaney, Otis Birdsong, ...

Golf:

  • 16 team national championships
  • 8 individual national championships
  • 19 conference championships
  • 44 All-Americans

Track:

  • 17 event championships ranking them 26th among all schools (tied with Florida, Nebraska, Oregon State).
  • 5 titles in the 100-meter dash which is tied with Tennessee for the second most all-time
  • 14 times among the top 15
  • Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell,

Olympics:

  • More than 50 Olympic athletes
  • 33 medals, including 19 gold
  • Conclusion

    The goals set by Renu Khator, president, is for Houston to be Tier One in both academics and athletics within five years. The resources are available.

    Texas is big. Don't sell Texas short.
    The city of Houston is big. Don't sell Houston short.
    Houston is the "hottest" of the "hot" in high school athletics.
    The University is big. Don't sell the Cougars short.

    Houston Cougars Football - Wikipedia
    Houston Cougars men's basketball - Wikipedia Houston Cougars Golf University of Houston - Wikipedia University of Houston - answers.com U.S. News & World Report

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