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v35_CougarsDespite the loss of several key players and a lot of coaches, first-year head coach Tony Levine has high expectations for the Houston Cougars football team.

The Kevin Sumlin era is in the books and now starts the Tony Levine era. It started off pretty good as he started a new tradition and invited all of the Cougars football team families for a meal, prior to the annual "Fan Appreciation Day" held in the Alumni Center. It worked too, for close to 600 people showed up for this first-time event.

There will be a lot of first for the Cougars. There’s a new starting quarterback in David Piland, another crop of unproven receivers in Daniel Spencer, Ronnie Williams, Dewayne Peace, Isiash Sweeney, and a new offensive coaching staff, led by new coordinator Mike Nesbitt.

The 2012 NFL draft is in the books, which means that it’s time to focus on studying the talent that will be available for 2013 and beyond.

Here is a list, by position, of the players who head into this season with the most talent at their respective positions.

v34_TexansThe Houston Texans will be celebrating their 10th year of existence this season, with plenty more in the making.

The National Football League awarded its 32nd franchise to Bob McNair on October 6, 1999. Three years later, the Houston Texans officially joined the NFL.

The Texans played their first preseason game on August 5, 2002, in the Hall of Fame game against the New York Giants. They played their first regular season game on September 8, 2002, against the Dallas Cowboys , a 19-10 victory at Reliant Stadium.

With 10 seasons now in the books, the Texans will celebrate their 10th Anniversary throughout the 2012 regular season. The celebration will include a patch on the team’s uniforms during the season bearing a special 10th Anniversary logo.

The 2011 season was the most exciting ever in Houston Texans franchise history.

Fresh off its first double-digit win campaign, playoff appearance and playoff win, Houston heads into a season of great expectations. National media have listed the Texans as a preseason top five team. A few writers are even talking Super Bowl.

The Divisional Champions lost a lot of key players who have moved on to other teams, including LB Mario Williams(Buffalo Bills), DeMeco Ryans(Philadelphia Eagles), Jacoby Jones(Baltimore Ravens), just to name a few.

Here is a look at the potential impact of first-year players as we begin our season-long analysis of the race for Rookie of the Year.

Robert Griffin III-QB Washington Redskins: The Heisman Trophy winner enters the nation’s capital with lofty expectations. He even won his first-preseason game last week against the Buffalo Bills. With a big arm and running ability, Griffin should get off to a good start in Mike Shanahan’s offense.

Andrew Luck-QB Indianapolis Colts: Luck made it look easy in his preseason opening win over the weekend. He will look to be the third consecutive No. 1 pick and quarterback to win the top rookie honors. He is certainly ready to take over an NFL team, and there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve. Both Luck and Griffin will be monitored closely throughout their careers, and the comparison begins with the race for Rookie of the Year.


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