Houston Season Predictions: Wins, Losses, Marquee Games, and More for Every Cougars Game in 2023

The Cougars enter Big 12 play for the first time, but have far too many questions for our Houston season predictions to give much hope in 2023.

There is a lot to be happy about as a Houston Cougars fan. Your team is entering the Big 12 after years of success in the AAC. However, our Houston season predictions present the possibility of a wake-up call for the Cougars in 2023.

Houston Season Predictions: Predicting the Game-By-Game Results

Using groupthink, College Football Network analysts have painstakingly gone through every game for every team in the Big 12 and across the country.

Find every Big 12 Season Prediction per team: Baylor | BYU | UCF | Cincinnati | Houston | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | TCU | Texas | Texas Tech | West Virginia

Picking these games straight up with a projected score using the rosters as up-to-date as the last spring practice, the Houston season predictions indicate what fans can possibly expect for the Cougars in 2023.

Week 1 – Houston vs. UTSA: Loss, 26-32

The season gets off to a rocky start as the Cougars open the 2023 campaign against the new favorite to win the AAC this fall. UTSA enters the American Athletic Conference after dominant years in the Conference USA under head coach Jeff Traylor.

UTSA QB Frank Harris is undoubtedly one of the best college QBs of this generation and 2023 should prove that to the national audience, leaving opponents in his wake, Houston included.

Week 2 – Houston @ Rice: Win, 30-22

The Rice Owls have brought in several integral pieces through the transfer portal over the years, most notably in JT Daniels this past offseason. With Luke McCaffrey and Bradley Rozner set to give opponents trouble in 2023, the Houston defense will be challenged early on in this matchup.

There are plenty of pieces to like on the Cougars roster this fall and we’ll get our answers early on with these tough two non-conference outings.

Week 3 – Houston vs. TCU: Loss, 28-29

Right in the middle of their opening slate of games comes Houston’s first Big 12 conference game against the TCU Horned Frogs. As tough as that may seem, this game is winnable for the Cougars as TCU is far from the team that carried them all the way to the College Football National Championship a year ago.

TCU has a bevy of questions on both sides of the ball and was ravished by the NFL Draft this past offseason. Houston has the chance to bring home a victory in this outing but they’ll have to have a flawless game on offense with Donovan Smith leading the charge.

Week 4 – Houston vs. Sam Houston: Win, 27-21

Their fourth straight game in the Houston area, the Cougars take on newly-appointed FBS member Sam Houston ahead of a road date with Texas Tech. The Bearcats are led by an intriguing offense and freshly transferred Grant Gunnell.

A legend in the Texas High School realm, Gunnell is back where he set records and is poised to help bring Sam Houston into FBS play. While Sam Houston may have the potential advantage at the signal-caller position with Gunnell at his best, the Cougars roster presents challenges unique to the Bearkats’ defense.

Houston squeaks by in this one.

Week 5 – Houston @ Texas Tech: Loss, 25-31

Their first real road trip of the season comes in Week 5 when the Cougars travel to Lubbock. Smith returns to face his former team in the Red Raiders, a team that should present a tough task for Houston’s secondary to contend with.

The acquisition of Drae McCray makes Texas Tech’s receiving corps that much scarier and that much deeper. That depth will pay dividends here in defeating Houston.

Week 7 – Houston vs. West Virginia: Win, 21-20

Back home after a by week and a Thursday date with West Virginia looms. The Mountaineers are a unique team to project at this stage as much of their roster is in flux. Still, we know what they will want to do in 2023 and that’s run the ball with CJ Donaldson’s power and size.

Still, Houston has the potential defensive front to match up well against a run-first team and with the slight advantage at the quarterback position mixed with home-field advantage, give this one to the Cougs.

Week 8 – Houston vs. Texas: Loss, 22-35

Avoiding the trip to Austin AND Norman in their first season in the Big 12, the Cougars play host to Texas in Week 8. Given the extra few days to prepare for Quinn Ewers and Co. in this matchup, Houston should be able to play competitively against the Longhorns in the first half.

However, the depth for Texas and the lack of star power for the Cougars spells trouble here in the second half. Texas runs away with it on the ground and through the air all the same.

MORE: Big 12 QB Rankings, 2023

Week 9 – Houston @ Kansas State: Loss, 27-28

It’s a trip to the Little Apple and a game against the defending Big 12 Champion Kansas State Wildcats that headlines the Cougars’ Week 9. This matchup lacks some luster, at least for Kansas State fans, as they’ll have to continually prove they can compete with last year’s level of success with a radically transformed roster.

Still, the Wildcats have done a great job of pulling in talent of need through the portal and should be able to run the ball well enough to stay ahead of this one the whole time.

Week 10 – Houston @ Baylor: Loss, 22-26

Baylor hosts Houston as the Cougars take on back-to-back road games for the first and only time this season. The Bears are a well-coached team with a large advantage over Houston in a very specific area.

The offensive line for Baylor has produced talented player after talented player the past two seasons and got better from the transfer portal this offseason. That mitigates Sack Avenue and the strength of Houston’s defense as a whole and gives the Bears enough of an advantage to win.

Week 11 – Houston vs. Cincinnati: Loss, 23-28

The back three games of Houston’s schedule are certainly winnable, especially since two of them are against familiar foes. However, our season predictions indicate they could split these games with losses to their former AAC opponents and a victory over a depleted Big 12 foe.

First up is Cincinnati as the Bearcats are ushering in the Scott Satterfield era with a new-look roster. This team will give us the answers to their quarterback situation well before this point. With the talent Satterfield has already brought in, it’s apparent they can compete against Houston for all four quarters. 

Week 12 – Houston vs. Oklahoma State: Win, 26-25

Houston hosts Oklahoma State here as the Cowboys are certainly going to be starving for victories this year. They were decimated by the NFL Draft this offseason as well as the transfer portal and have a slew of questions as opposed to just a handful of answers on the roster as it.

Mike Gundy has led just one losing season in charge of Oklahoma State (his first season in 2005) but it looks like that’s happening here this year until proven otherwise.

Week 13 – Houston @ UCF: Loss, 28-33

Traveling to Orlando is always fun — unless your destination is the Bounce House and a date with UCF. The Knights possess the skill players and the quarterback, especially to take over this matchup. UCF is ready to prove they belong and John Rhys Plumlee ushers in their Big 12 era with a season-ending victory.

With their eighth loss in our Houston season predictions, the first year in the Big 12 is sure to be a tough one for the Cougars. Granted, three of their final four losses are by five or fewer points, so there is hope for a few extra victories, but each game will mean everything this season in Houston.