HOUSTON Houston is in between coaches and dragging around a seven-game bowl losing streak.
Interim coach Chris Thurmond doesn't want his Cougars worrying about any of that stuff heading into the Texas Bowl against TCU on tonight.
"Players and coaches are expected to win no matter when it is," Thurmond said. "We aren't looking back. We are just trying to get ourselves in a position to beat TCU. We don't talk about that. We only talk about things that give us a chance to play well in this game."
The Cougars (8-4) of Conference USA haven't won a bowl game since the 1980 Garden State Bowl. They lost their coach, Art Briles, in late November when he left to replace Guy Morriss at Baylor.
Kevin Sumlin was hired as Briles' permanent replacement two weeks ago, but for now he's still Oklahoma's offensive co-coordinator and Thurmond, the secondary coach, is in charge.
TCU (7-5) is playing in this bowl for the second time in three seasons after beating Iowa State in 2005 when it was known as the Houston Bowl. It is the Horned Frogs' ninth bowl appearance in the last 10 years.
TCU coach Gary Patterson, who has several players from the Houston area on his roster, likes playing in Houston to help with recruiting.
"Being able to say hello to the coaches, you know you can't talk to recruits (but) they come out and watch practice," Patterson said. "Those things are invaluable because we don't get a chance to come down to Houston as much as we would like ... getting a chance to give back is a big deal."
Horned Frogs quarterback Andy Dalton is from the Houston suburb of Katy and enjoyed being back in his hometown during the holidays.
"I'm loving it," he said. "I'm getting to play in front of all my friends and family, and it's going to be a great atmosphere."
After playing Baylor, Texas and SMU this season, Patterson knows how intense it is when two teams from Texas meet and expects the same on Friday.
"I call this an emotional game when you're back in the state of Texas," Patterson said.