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Houston vs. SMU 2016: Start time, live stream, TV schedule, and 3 things to know

Two hotshot former assistant coaches renew pleasantries.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago, this matchup was all the rage, but we just didn't know it yet. In 2014, Tom Herman and Chad Morris were hot assistant names, at Ohio State and Clemson respectively, that ended up in the same conference. Things were going to be great and they'd rise fast and create two new big kids on the block in the American conference.

Herman lived up to his end of the bargain. The No. 11 Cougars made it to a New Year's Six bowl game in Year 1 of his regime. On signing day they landed DL Ed Oliver, a coup for a five-star kid to go to a Group of Five school. Although a loss likely knocks them out of playoff contention, Houston is still 6-1. Herman is just as hot of a name for vacant coaching jobs as he was last season and things seem great in Houston.

In Dallas, progress is moving a lot slower. The cupboard was not nearly as stocked for Morris as it was for Herman. The Mustangs went 1-11 the year before Morris arrived and struggled in his first season, only mustering a 2-10 record. SMU is 2-4 this season, but after losing by three to Tulsa in overtime last week, the Ponies were close to being .500 and in better position for a bowl game.

How to watch, stream and listen

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2, the announcers are Jason Benetti, Kelly Stouffer, and Paul Carcaterra

Radio: HoustonSMU

Online streaming: WatchESPN

Spread: Houston is favored by 21 points on the road.

Make friends: Underdog Dynasty is our home for coverage of the American Conference.

Three big things to know

  1. Perhaps you haven't heard, the Big 12 did not end up expanding. The Cougars were the darlings of expansion talks and at times seemed like a shoo-in. Missing out on the Big 12 boat is particularly troubling for the Cougars, in regards to their attempts to retain Herman and keep this whole cool thing going out in H-Town. Without a spot in a Power 5 conference to dangle in front of him at the negotiation table, it will be even tougher to ward off suitors this coaching carousel season.
  2. Running back Duke Catalon may be ready to go. He originally signed with Texas, but after a redshirt season in 2014, transferred to Houston where he was forced to sit out 2015, according to NCAA rules. This season has been a series of fits and starts. He injured his ankle in the season opener and missed the second game of the season. Then he suffered a concussion in Week 4 and has missed the last three games. He was cleared for contact on Tuesday of this week.
  3. The Mustangs may be one-dimensional on offense Saturday because of the strength of Houston's rush defense. The Cougars rank third in the nation against the run and have allowed only one opponent to gain over 2.69 yards per rush in a game so far this season.


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