The Cougars' hopes for a winning season were ended in a 42—13 bowl-game rout at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks. After the season, Pardee was hired as the head coach of the Houston Oilers and Jenkins was named his successor. Benjamin Cluff became the third principal of Brigham Young Academy the precursor to BYU in the school was converted into a university in and was influenced by his collegiate studies at the University of Michigan to bring athletic competition to Brigham Young. The Cougars achieved a high ranking of No. Briles guided the Cougars to a 6—6 season in and an appearance in the Fort Worth Bowl. The tough-talking, no-nonsense Kim Helton , seemed to fit this need perfectly. While Houston had long been an offensive juggernaut, defense had also been a staple of Houston teams under Houston coach Bill Yeoman's so-called "Mad Dog" defenses.
Briles had earned a reputation as a top-flight offensive coach while the head coach at Stephenville High School of Stephenville, Texas , where he led the team to multiple state titles running his unique version of the spread offense. Dimel had an 8—26 record in three years. The season saw the program continue its slide as the limited complement of scholarships for the season began to take their full effect. The program's relationship and standing with local high school coaches was also at a nadir as a result of Helton's often dismissive attitude toward local programs. In , Houston went on to compile a 10—4 record that also featured a last-second come-from-behind victory at Tulsa and a win over Mississippi State from the SEC. The game had an attendance of 11, In his first season, Briles led the Cougars to a 7—5 record and their first bowl appearance since the season. He posted one of his finest performances with yards passing in the Cougars' 47—9 rout of archrival Texas in the Astrodome. The team began to rebuild in the mids, recruiting University of Rhode Island head coach Hal Kopp to lead the Cougars, whom achieved back-to-back winning seasons in and , led by southpaw quarterback Jared Stephens and nose tackle Gavin Anae. The next year, the two called a student body meeting to organize another petition. The Cougars finished the season with a 10—1 record and a No. The season would be a disaster in the eyes of the Cougar faithful. In , after compiling a 12—0 record and reaching No. The Cougars' prolific offense and Andre Ware's Heisman Trophy raised the program to a level of national recognition that it had perhaps never enjoyed before. In late November the Cougars accepted an invitation to the Texas Bowl. Fan interest increased in the Briles era, and talk began of expanding Robertson Stadium beyond its current capacity. The invitation was motivated by the departures of Syracuse and Pittsburgh from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference and was part of an effort by the Big East to shore up its strength in football. The Cougars had only won eight games in Dimel's three-year tenure, but things were about to change. The undefeated Cougars 12—0—0 opened the season with a 20—14 victory over Pitt , ranked No. Major Applewhite era —present [ edit ] On December 9, , Major Applewhite was named head coach following the departure of Tom Herman. Dana Dimel era — [ edit ] After coaching at Kansas State as an assistant under the legendary Bill Snyder , Dana Dimel was selected as the 9th headman of the Houston Cougars after a successful stint as the head coach at Wyoming. Draconian as these penalties were, the NCAA said that they would have been even harsher including being limited to 20 scholarships for and 50 paid recruiting visits for had Yeoman still been coach. The team went on a five-game winning streak, earning national recognition and prospects of competing in the College Football Playoffs, until losing to the SMU Mustangs in early October. However, the most damaging penalty in the long run was a reduction to 15 scholarships for the season. The Cougars also played in their first bowl game since , losing to No. The decade of the s had not been a good one for UH football.
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