HOUSTON (KTRK) --There could have been a blizzard in Houston, and still, Cougar fans would have turned out to welcome home the Peach Bowl champions.
Instead, it was cold and overcast, and 50-plus red-wearing Coogs endured the occasional drizzle. Their jubilation over the against-the-odds win was enough to warm them.
When the buses carrying the team and the coaching staff, a roar of "Who's house? Coogs house" could be heard on Cullen Boulevard.
Players arrived with suitcases, swag bags from the Peach Bowl, and big smiles.
"This is the best year of my life," said Alex Cooper, a Cougar linebacker.
The Cougars beat Florida State 38-24 in Thursday's Peach Bowl.
"I feel like we're bring a lot of energy back to Houston and the university," said Mason Denley, another linebacker.
They are doing that, and more.
Most of the credit is being given to coach Tom Herman, who transformed the team into a major bowl game contender and winner in a season. It was accomplished through a culture change of discipline and accountability, which also included 4:30am training sessions.
Herman says the credit goes to the players and the coaching staff. The fact that the seniors bought in to his changes, without resistance, he says is something he never before encountered. Typically, those who have been in a program are less likely to adapt. Instead he says they embraced it, and then went for it.
"They did it all," he said, "for the university and the city. We're the hometown team in the nation's fourth largest city, and we gave them something to cheer about."
They have. And if you want to become a season ticket holder for next year's games, which includes an opening game match with OU in NRG stadium, be prepared to pay more. It's supply versus demand, and the Cougars are very much in demand, so ticket prices will be going up.