Most experts consider Houston a dark horse candidate to win the AAC. The Cougars will sport a new offense and defense buoyed by Ed Oliver and the additions of transfers Isaiah Chambers, Deontay Anderson, and Darrion Owens. The Cougars have a chance to make some headway thanks to a difficult, yet favorable September schedule.
at Rice September 1
The Bayou Bucket is in play again. The Owls are restarting with a new head coach and new basically everything else. Rice gives Houston a nice tuneup for Kendal Briles' new offense and the new pieces on defense. All that and the Cougars can put in a road trip without traveling more than six miles from campus.
Arizona September 8
Former Houston coach Kevin Sumlin and 'Zona. The Cougars beat the Wildcats in Tucson last season to open the season. The Wildcats have one of the most intriguing quarterbacks in college football in Khalil Tate. Tate didn't play until the fourth quarter last year but expect a healthy dose of him this season. Let's all remember how the 3rd Ward defense shut down Lamar Jackson a couple years ago. They'll need a similar effort to slow down Tate, but this is a game Houston should win.
at Texas Tech September 15
A good old SWC rivalry renewed as the Cougars travel to Lubbock to take on a desperate Kliff Kingsbury and Tech. We circle this one on the calendar, the same way we circled last year's matchup with the Red Raiders. Things didn't go well last year, but that was before Houston realized their best quarterback was playing receiver. Houston's offense should be in a better place than in 2017, but slowing down Tech's defense at Jones Stadium won't be easy.
Texas Southern September 22
With a win over TSU, the Cougars can legitimately claim to be the kings of all Houston. After two straight P5s and before conference play starts, a nice SWAC appetizer should be just what the Cougars need.
There's no reason Houston can't win four straight to start the year. The trip to Lubbock is undoubtedly the most daunting, though Arizona won't be a pushover. A 3-1 September is an excellent step and perhaps more realistic. After that, they just have to lay waste to the AAC.