Following a 56-13 road blowout of UAB, Houston is off to a school-best 9-0 start and has risen to 11th in the latest BCS rankings.
The Cougars (9-0, 5-0), who are tied with Tulsa atop CUSA's West Division, have scored at least 35 points in every game and have won each of their last four games by 35 points or more. Star quarterback Case Keenum, who has passed for 3,626 yards, has thrown 34 touchdowns as opposed to just three interceptions.
With its top 12 BCS ranking, Houston is now eligible for the automatic bid that is awarded annually to the highest ranked team among the top 12 from the non-automatic qualifying conferences. Therefore, should the Cougars conclude the season undefeated they would be the recipient of the auto bid should Boise State be beaten. If the Broncos don't slip up, UH could be just the second team from a non-automatic qualifying league to earn an at-large berth and first since Boise State did so in 2009. That year, Chris Petersen's club squared off with and beat auto-bid recipient TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Kevin Sumlin's Cougars, who are also ranked 11th in the AP and Coaches' Polls, will look to earn their tenth win on Thursday when they visit struggling Tulane.
Southern Miss also rose in the polls after capturing a critical 48-28 win at East Carolina. The Golden Eagles (8-1, 4-1), who have won seven straight, are 22nd in the BCS Poll. Larry Fedora's squad is 23rd in the Coaches' Poll. It also moved into the Associated Press poll for the first time this season at 25th.
The Golden Eagles will host UCF (4-5, 2-3) this weekend.
Tulsa (6-3, 5-0), which has won five straight under first-year coach Bill Blankenship, is knocking on the door of the BCS poll at 28th. The Golden Hurricane also received one point in the Associated Press Poll to be ranked “36th”. It will square off with Marshall on Saturday at Chapman Stadium.
By: Thomas "Bubba" Rosenbaum
DFN Sports Staff Writer