HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Tom Herman told his team last week that national relevance was on the line in UH's game against Louisville.
Well, after beating Louisville over the weekend, the Cougars have established that national relevance.
Houston got enough votes in the newest AP polls that they essentially now rank 33rd in the country. That's a legitimate sign of growth after only two games of the Herman era.
"Being on the radar... I'd rather be there than not be there, I can tell you that," Herman said.
But Herman's similar to most coaches. Rankings and polls aren't what really matters. It's all about what happens to improve what's on the field.
"Maybe if we're sitting here in eight or nine weeks, still talking about (the rankings), it might mean a little bit more, but there's a whole lot of season left to play," Herman said. "I think that the biggest thing that the win did was probably that hopefully, some of those fringe guys in the locker room will look at it and say, 'Hey, this crazy guy and his staff might know a little thing about what they're doing and it's time for me to jump all in.' We've got about 25 guys that are all in, in my opinion, right now. We need another 15 or 20 to go where we need to go at the end of the season, so the only factor that I think about is how this win and the way that we won affects the locker room and it should, hopefully, affect it positively."
From what was seen in a viral video of a celebratory UH locker room, the Cougars' vibe off such a road win was overwhelmingly positive.
"The bowl win last year was a big one, but (this) one was huge," senior offensive lineman Alex Cooper said. "To go into someone's house and be able to deflate the crowd... One of the best things to see is before the last snap, to see the crowd disappearing, I mean, that was a good time."
And for Cooper, after all the program's ups and downs over the years, the Cougars' relevance for the national polls does help out.
"The only thing it makes us want to do is go harder," Cooper said. "The only thing it makes us want to do is put the pads on. I think Tuesday's our first practice and have one of the best practices ever."
And as UH readies for a bye week before hosting Texas State on September 26, the focus is as sharp as ever.
"I told some of the guys, 'We could beat Texas State (in terms of preparation) two weeks in a row,'" Cooper said. "Preparing this week and next week, so that's the goal."