There are a number of easy candidates to point to as far as the most underperforming or disappointing teams in 2019 but in terms of the top spot — or lowest one, depending on how you want to order things — it might be hard to top Houston in their first season under Dana Holgorsen.
The Cougars were expected to challenge for the AAC crown and be among the top Group of Five teams after luring their head coach over from West Virginia with a hefty Power Five-caliber contract this offseason. Though they went just 8-5 a year ago, there was plenty of talent returning on the roster and there was even a budding dark horse Heisman campaign for starting quarterback D'Eriq King.
Things have not turned out that way however as UH has sunk to 3-6 on the season after getting trounced by UCF on Saturday and it will be an uphill battle to even make it to a bowl game. King sat out the game, as he has for the last several at Houston given that he curiously decided earlier this year to announce he was redshirting with the intention of returning to the team in 2020.
Only you’re not going to believe this, but it appears the signal-caller might not be back with the Cougs current dumpster fire after all.
There’s little chance that King will return to Houston, as he’s expected to enter the transfer portal in the postseason and garner interest from top programs like LSU, Georgia and Florida State. (Former Houston OC Kendal Briles is the offensive coordinator at FSU, and wherever Briles is coaching next year would loom as a potential landing spot for King.) Don’t discount LSU, which will need to replace Heisman favorite Joe Burrow.
Such a move is hardly unexpected, as it was widely speculated on as soon as it was announced that King was going through such a move. He should have one season remaining as a grad transfer in 2020 and is coming off his last full season under center having thrown for 36 touchdowns and rushed for 14 more. While he’s not quite Jalen Hurts–caliber coming to the grad transfer market, he’s certainly up there and a good reason why programs like the Tigers and Seminoles seem likely to gauge his interest in joining them next year.