The Big 12, as you may know, is looking to add teams, and No. 6 Houston – which is 16-1 under Tom Herman with wins over Florida State and Oklahoma, among others – seems like a pretty good option.
Well, depending on who you are.
If you’re Tom Herman, joining the Big 12 would be great. if you’re, say, Bob Stoops, you probably wouldn’t like it.
Either way, it could happen.
“I believe it’s something that our administration is actively pursuing,” Herman said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Whether (our success) helps or hurts us, I think those decisions are made by presidents. They’re made by boards of regents. They’re not asking athletic directors and football coaches. I think if you left it up to the football coaches, absolutely, we wouldn’t have a chance in heck to get in the Big 12 because we’re already beating some of those teams on recruits here in our great city of Houston. We’re the hometown college football team of the third-biggest city in America, and there’s really good high school football, and it’s the eighth-largest TV market. So certainly if you’re an athletic director or a football coach, that probably worries you a little bit. I think the strength of any conference is in competitive balance. I think anytime you can add a competitive program to your conference, you’re going to better it.”
Given his age and accomplishments, Herman, 41, is perhaps the hottest coaching commodity in the country. If there’s an opening at a Power 5 school, there’s a pretty good chance Herman will get a phone call.
“I don’t know,” Herman said, downplaying his value. “I think each and every job that does come open, they’re looking for different things. Some people are looking for regional ties. Some people are looking for an old, experienced guy. Some people are looking for a young, up-and-comer. Some are looking for great recruiters. Some are looking for great Xs-and-Os guys. Some want defense. Some want offense. So I think it’s very specific for each and every position that comes open. And that’s, again, kind of the nature of the business. You never know what any of these administrations are looking for when those jobs do come open.”
For now, Herman is focused on winning football games. The Cougars have just one more ranked team on their schedule – No. 3 Louisville (3-0) on Nov. 17 – but that’s eight games from now. Houston plays at Texas State this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, before hosting Connecticut on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Greg Ward Jr., who led Houston to wins over Oklahoma and Cincinnati, will be available this weekend as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
“Yeah, he’s hurting,” Herman said. “There’s no doubt about it. He strained some ligaments in his shoulder. They’re healing. The good thing is he didn’t tear his labrum, he didn’t hurt his rotator cuff. A lot of the pain was just a lot of the swelling in there. The doctors have assured me and our staff – and most importantly, him – that he’s not at any further risk of damaging that shoulder any more now than he was before the injury. So it’s a pain-tolerance deal while the thing heals, and it is healing. Obviously you continue to play on it and get it banged around, it’s going to take a little bit longer, but he’s gutting through it and we appreciate him doing that because we do need him to win. But you’re right. When it comes down to winning or losing a game, he also did rush for the two go-ahead touchdowns there in the fourth quarter for us against Cincinnati. So we’ll try to be as smart as we can, but he knows that if we need him, we need him – and he’ll be ready.”