Houston whooped No. 5 Louisville, 36-10, on Thursday night, shooing a Playoff contender from the paint in the process. The outcome was rich with ramifications.
UH's 11 sacks of Lamar Jackson put the Heisman favorite's candidacy in some doubt, though I don't know what a fellow's to do when he's being hounded on every snap. It's also unclear who'd be worthy to take his place. He's still a top-15 QB who leads the nation in rushing touchdowns.
The win put Houston back in the Cotton Bowl race, though the Coogs would need Navy to fall out of the way in the AAC rankings, since only conference champions will be eligible. Still, a ranking and two wins over ranked teams (hey, Oklahoma) will look nice.
And perhaps the biggest long-term consequence of this game: restoring every bit of shine to UH coach Tom Herman's name, in case a couple midseason losses amid injuries ever scuffed it. He entered the season as maybe the hottest coaching name since Urban Meyer was at Utah, and as of right now, that remains the case. Any Charlie Strong or Kevin Sumlin loyalists who were pleased to see Houston lose to Navy and SMU should hope their guys win out convincingly.
As for how Herman's teams have performed as underdogs, going back to his time as offensive coordinator at Ohio State, look at this 11-0 streak:
- 2012 Ohio State 17, 2-point favorite Michigan State 16
- 2012 Ohio State 21, 1-point favorite Wisconsin 14
- 2014 Ohio State 49, 4-point favorite Michigan State 37
- 2014 Ohio State 59, 4-point favorite Wisconsin 0
- 2014 Ohio State 42, 7.5-point favorite Alabama 35
- 2014 Ohio State 42, 6-point favorite Oregon 20
- 2015 Houston 34, 13.5-point favorite Louisville 31
- 2015 Houston 52, 1.5-point favorite Navy 31
- 2015 Houston 38, 7.5-point favorite Florida State 24
- 2016 Houston 33, 13-point favorite Oklahoma 23
- 2016 Houston 36, 17-point favorite Louisville 10
That's evidence of a coach with the power to make athletes believe. And even if this is the year he leaves, he's helped set up Houston in incredible position, with an incoming five-star QB in A&M transfer Kyle Allen and a defensive lineman who already looks like one of the country's best, freshman Ed Oliver.
We've interviewed Herman a few times and collected pieces of those here; it's worth a re-read now.
Could Bama beat an SEC East All-Star Team? Well, let's build one!
If you're a team that might need to fire its coach next year, why not do it this year, considering how little competition there is on the market?
Pitt laid out the how-to-beat-Clemson blueprint, not that several other teams hadn't already written most of it.
A former Wisconsin linebacker says his proudest college memory was that time he broke Joe Paterno's leg.
The top-ranked recruit in Colorado, four-star tackle Jake Moretti, flips his commitment from Ohio State to the Buffs.
Louisville's highlight: two players' jerseys spelled out "Samuel L. Jackson" again.
Hawaii proposes a Golden Screwdriver rivalry trophy with Fresno State. That sounds like a brunch drink.
The weekend Playoff rankings ramifications tracker is underway.
PREVIOUS: Your weekend Watchability Grid.