Heart of the City: Houston

School: Houston

Location: Houston, Texas

Enrollment: 38,752

Bowl appearances: 20

NFL first-round picks: 11 (none in past decade)

Losing seasons: 21

10-win seasons: 6

Source: ESPN Stats & Info (Note: Numbers date back to 1936, the first year of the AP poll. NFL numbers date back to 1970.)

The good: Houston can offer recruits the big-school feel of a university in a BCS conference, which can be important for players in the Houston area. The metroplex is a good recruiting base, and Houston can often get some of the best players left over by schools in the Big 12, and maybe a few with offers from other schools in BCS conferences. Houston is helped by a pretty good history of success, which makes it an attractive job for coaches on the rise. Art Briles helped revive the program, and Kevin Sumlin has done the same, earning interest from lots of big schools in his time at Houston. Former star Andre Ware also makes the Cougars one of the few non-AQ schools with a Heisman winner. Its location makes it an attractive opponent for major schools within the state and nearby areas. The Cougars have played Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in recent years.

The bad: Though Houston is a good recruiting base, it's not as deep as the Dallas Fort-Worth area, which hurts the amount of talent the school can get. As good as the former Southwest Conference program can be, it's still difficult to operate outside the BCS. As a member of the Southwest Conference, the Cougars had access to the Cotton Bowl. Not anymore. It can make bowl games, but only an undefeated season would allow the Cougars to crack a major bowl game.