Houston Cougars

MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 17:  Student section of the Memphis Tigers celebrates after a touchdown during a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Group of Five Power-Ranking: Memphis rising, Boise State and Western Michigan remain undefeated

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As another weekend of college football came to a close, there was no reason to suggest anyone was ready to knock Houston out of the pole position in the season-long Group of Five power ranking this week. The Cougars blasted Texas State on the road and look poised to make a run through the American Athletic Conference this season. It may not have been a great weekend for the MAC, but Western Michigan continues to make things interesting in Kalamazoo that can not be ignored. And then there is another school sporting the nickname of the Broncos that continues to stay in the running.

One spot in the New Years Six lineup will be reserved for the highest-ranked conference champion from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference or Sun Belt Conference. Houston received that invite last season and appears well on its way to taking it once again this season (unless they wiggle into the College Football Playoff by chance).

So, here is how I would rank the Group of Five contenders through four weeks of play.

1. Houston (4-0)

The Cougars are on a roll after a 64-3 victory over Texas State. Next up for Tom Herman‘s Cougars is a revenge game at home against UConn. The Huskies were the only team to defeat Houston last season, but Greg Ward Jr. is healthy this time around.

2. Western Michigan (4-0)

The Broncos took care of business at home against Georgia Southern, scoring 28 second quarter points to go on to win 49-31. Western Michigan has two wins against Big Ten opponents and looks to be the best team the MAC has to offer. 12-0 in play? Hmmm…

3. San Diego State (3-0)

The Aztecs were off this week, but that does not hurt them here. The highlight has been running back Donnell Pumphrey and they are the second of two Group of Five teams to be ranked  by the voters. It should be smooth sailing to the MWC Championship Game.

4. Boise State (3-0)

Boise State is not going away though, not after a second victory over a Pac-12 team (OK, so it was Oregon State and they already beat Washington State, but still). Boise State looks to have a more challenging schedule ahead of them than San Diego State, but keep an eye out for the Broncos.

5. Memphis (3-0)

If you thought losing a head coach to a bigger program and a starting quarterback to the NFL was going to slow down Memphis, think again. The Tigers put 77 on the board in a 77-3 blowout of Bowling Green. Memphis has outscored their FBS opponents 120-10 in the last two games. Next up? A road trip to Ole Miss.

On the Radar: Air Force, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Georgia Southern, Middle Tennessee, Navy, Southern Miss, Troy, Tulsa, UCF, USF

Coaches Poll: Alabama No. 1, Wisconsin and Miami continue to climb

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 24:  Corey Clement #6 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball during the game against the Michigan State Spartns at Spartan Stadium on September 24, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan.  (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
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There was not a whole lot of movement in the top portion of the Amway Coaches Poll this week, as most of the top teams maintained their positioning within the top 10. Alabama remains on top of the coaches poll, without much debate, ahead of Ohio State, Clemson and Louisville.

The Miami Hurricanes had the biggest rise in the coaches poll this week, jumping up five spots to No. 14 with a 3-0 record. The Hurricanes trail No. 13 Baylor, the highest-ranked team in the Big 12 in this week’s coaches poll.

No. 8 Wisconsin is one of three Big Ten teams in the top 10, joining Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan. No. 15 Nebraska moved ahead of No. 16 Michigan State this week.

Here is the full coaches top 25 for this week, with first-place votes noted;

  1. Alabama (61)
  2. Ohio State (2)
  3. Clemson (1)
  4. Louisville
  5. Michigan
  6. Stanford
  7. Houston
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Washington
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Tennessee
  12. Florida State
  13. Baylor
  14. Miami
  15. Nebraska
  16. Michigan State
  17. Ole Miss
  18. Utah
  19. TCU
  20. Georgia
  21. Florida
  22. Arkansas
  23. North Carolina
  24. San Diego State
  25. Texas

After leaving Baylor, Tren’Davian Dickson no longer at Houston, too

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 11:  The University of Houston Cougars helmet integrated an American flag to remember 9/11 during a game against the Brigham Young University Cougars on September 11, 2014 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
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Tren'Davian Dickson is on the move yet again, apparently.

A Houston spokesperson confirmed to the Houston Chronicle‘s Joseph Duarte that Dickson is no longer a part of the Cougars football program.  In early June, amidst the sexual assault scandal at Baylor, Dickson opted to transfer from the Bears and ultimately joined the Cougars’ roster.

Dickson was seeking a waiver that would’ve given him immediate eligibility at UH as he was an early enrollee at BU earlier this year who participated in spring practice and attended classes. Because of the latter, and short of a waiver, he would’ve been forced to sit out the upcoming season.

Through three games, Dickson hadn’t seen the field for the Cougars.  The status of his waiver is unclear, although it may be a moot point now with his departure.

A four-star member of the Bears’ most recent recruiting class, Dickson was rated as the No. 14 receiver in the country and the No. 16 player at any position in the state of Texas. On 247Sports.com‘s composite board, he was the No. 105 player in the country.

In addition to Houston, Dickson had also considered Oregon after getting his release from Baylor.  That release prevented the receiver from transferring to another Big 12 school.  Whether that stipulation remains in play given his enrollment at UH is not known.

Alabama still Bovada’s title favorite, but Ohio State’s gaining fast

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 17:  J.T. Barrett #16 of the Ohio State Buckeyes walks with his offense off the field in the second half of their game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Much like they are in the polls, Ohio State’s closing in on the defending national champions in the eyes of one wagering establishment.

As it did with the Heisman Trophy, Bovada.lv released a new set of odds for the 2016 College Football Playoff championship, with Alabama coming in with slightly shorter odds at 7/2. A week ago, the Tide sat at 4/1.

Right behind them, though, is OSU at 4/1. Last week, prior to going into Norman and putting a whooping on Oklahoma, the Buckeyes were at 7/1.

The team making the biggest upward move, however, was Louisville. On the strength of the U of L’s utter evisceration of Florida State in Week 3, the Cardinals saw their odds go from 20/1 to 13/2. FSU’s odds, meanwhile, tumbled from 6/1 to 25/1 in the wake of the beatdown.

Below is the complete set of CFP title odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

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Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is Bovada’s overwhelming Heisman favorite

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 17: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
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As the Lamar Jackson Heisman hype train hurtles down the tracks, at least one wagering establishment has wholeheartedly hopped aboard.

In its latest set of odds released Tuesday afternoon, Bovada.lv has pushed the Louisville quarterback to its pole position for the 2016 Heisman Trophy.  In fact, Jackson, whose 18 touchdowns this season are more than all but seven teams have scored through three weeks, is the site’s overwhelming favorite at 1/2 after being at 6/1 just one week ago.

The Sept. 13 favorite, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, has gone from 5/1 to 8/1.  Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (9/2) has slightly longer odds at 11/2, while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett held steady at 6/1.

Greg Ward Jr. saw one of the biggest surges as the Houston quarterback went from 25/1 a week ago to 16/1.

Leonard Fournette was Bovada‘s preseason Heisman favorite at 4/1.  The LSU running back dropped to 12/1 after Week 2 and 20/1 after Week 3.  Around this time last year, Fournette was the Bovada favorite for the Heisman that ultimately went to Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who couldn’t even crack the top six 12 months ago.

Two players that were off the board last go ’round were added: San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey (25/1) and Washington quarterback Jake Browning (40/1).  A handful of players were taken off the board, most notably quarterbacks Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Josh Rosen (UCLA).

Below is the complete list of Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:


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