University Of Houston, American Athletic Conference Football Champions

Over the weekend, the Houston Cougars capped off their thrilling season with a 24-13 win against the tough Temple Owls in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.

Though Houston only won by 11, the team led from the opening gun until as Willie Nelson says "The Party was Over". With this win, the Cougars finished the regular season 12-1 and now have a matchup against the Number 9 Florida State Seminoles in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl to look forward to.

What's most amazing about the Cougars' successful season is the fact that it was engineered by a rookie head coach. Tom Herman, a national championship winning offensive coordinator at Ohio State and recipient of the Broyles Award for the nation's top assistant coach, stepped in as a first-time head coach this season. Success like that in a coach's first season is hard to come by. Herman's Houston team was led by its do-it-all quarterback, Greg Ward Jr., who finished the season with 2,590 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions. The all- conference quarterback also tacked on 1,041 rushing yards and 19 touchdown runs for good measure. The excitement of watching this team play had me reminiscing back to 1989, when Coach Jack Pardee's run-and-shoot offense led the Cougars to a 9-win season and quarterback Andre Ware took home the Heisman Trophy.

Tom Herman and the Houston Cougars aren't finished yet. After the Cougars' New Year's Eve duel with perennial powerhouse Florida State, the team will refocus its sights on coming back strong again next year. With the Cougars locking in Coach Herman to a contract extension and returning many of its key contributors, this team will be a force next year and hopefully for years to come. As a University of Houston alum, I look forward to spending December 31st ringing in the New Year with friends, family, and another Cougars victory. Go Cougars.

And that's just the way it is.


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