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Volume 69, Issue 18, Thursday, September 18, 2003

Sports
 

Cougars belong in the heart of Texas

Cougar Pause

Tom Carpenter

I admit I'm an anachronism when it comes to Cougar football. I long for those glory days when the Cougars swaggered through their Southwest Conference opponents with the same easy flair of Zorro slicing his initial in the tight britches of Sgt. Garcia.

Zip, zip, zip: 1976: UH 30-Texas 0; UH 21- Texas A&M 10; UH 27-Texas Tech 19.

The victories were all the more satisfying because of the rivalries that existed between the SWC schools. For me, there's nothing better than carving a big fat zero on the score board beside Texas in any sport, but especially football.


Nathan Lindstrom/The Daily Cougar


Running back Jackie Battle carries a load while he rumbles through linebackers. The freshman is listed at 6-2 250 pounds and averages 6.5 yards per carry.

The old SWC schools used to run off the field holding up their pants like country cousins who got caught in the outhouse when the city slicker Cougars rode roughshod over them in their own backyard.

Stampede 1988: UH 66-Texas 15; UH 45-Rice 14; UH 40-Texas Christian University12.

UH should abandon Conference USA and its incredibly impractical geographic grid and return to the days of yesteryear (even the Lone Ranger wants a Texas league) when the borders of Texas outlined conference play.

Who can relate to East Carolina, Alabama-Birmingham or Louisville? Who wants to? What passion courses through Cougar veins when Memphis comes to town, or (bless their hearts) Army?

I laughed with cheerful glee at the carnage the Cougars created on the football field against their fellow Texans, and couldn't wait until the next year if the SWC opponents stumbled and fumbled their way to a victory against UH.

The emergence of the "super conferences," and the enterprising cheating that took place in the SWC, catapulted the conference into the dusty archives of history.

Let the Longhorns, Red Raiders and those mischievous little Aggies graze across the Red River in the Big 12. Who needs them? Enough schools exist in Texas to create another conference.

UH, Rice, SMU, TCU, North Texas, Texas El Paso and Baylor would make a league rich in competition and regional rivalries.

One way to increase attendance at the UH football games is to get out of C-USA, period. Fans would flock to Robertson Stadium to watch the Cougars play Texas teams in league games that pit brother against brother, friend against friend.

C-USA is a conglomerate of schools that got left out in the musical chairs of conference realignment. There is no rhyme or reason to a conference composed of misfits and leftovers from disintegrated leagues.

The conference possesses one outstanding quality; it increases our knowledge of U.S. geography.

There's no guarantee that the conference will even be around in five years. Army leaves next year and Louisville is looking for a new home in the Atlantic Coast Conference or the Big East. The conference hasn't been around long enough to develop any school's loyalty to the league, including UH.

High school kids that played together or competed against each other look forward to the internecine rivalry of regional opponents. It's a good bet that very few Cougars competed with players on UAB, Memphis, East Carolina or South Florida.

What made the regional rivalries so terrific was that once the season ended UH usually looked down from its lofty aerie at the carnage they left on the playing field.

UH should ride out of Conference USA and create a new league with the aforementioned Texas schools.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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