Picks Up! Your Week 4 Conference USA Viewing Guide & Prediction Thread

The weeks seem to be flying by now.  Last week, the C-USA received a boost from SMU who beat Washington State and Southern Miss. who knocked off Kansas.  Also, on the lower end of the spectrum,  Memphis beat Middle Tennessee State and UAB knocked off Troy.  Marshall is the only C-USA school who hasn't won a game and no team is left unbeaten.  

This week, there are only two C-USA games on the schedule. 

Here's the Schedule:  Picks & Pre-Game Awards are after the jump.

Day Game Kickoff (MST) TV
Friday TCU at SMU 6:00 PM ESPN
Saturday UCF at Kansas State 10:00 AM Fox SW
  UAB at Tennessee 10:21 AM SEC Network
  Tulane at Houston 1:30 PM CBS CS
  Ohio at Marshall 5:00 PM  
  Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech 5:00 PM ESPN3.com
  Central Arkansas at Tulsa 5:00 PM  
  Baylor at Rice 6:00 PM CBS CS
  Memphis at UTEP 7:05 PM

C-USA needed UAB and Memphis to grab those wins.  If the league is going to be taken seriously, all the teams need to win games against MAC and Sun Belt squads because C-USA isn't doing well against the Big 6.  Here's how the C-USA is holding up so far against other leagues:

  • SEC:  0-3
  • Big 12:  1-3
  • Big East:  0-1
  • Pac 10:  1-1
  • ACC:  0-2
  • Big 10:  0-2
  • Total Record Against BCS Conferences:  2-12
Here's how the C-USA is doing against those teams from Non-AQ leagues.
  • Sun Belt:  3-1
  • MAC:  2-1
  • WAC:  1-0
  • Total Against Non-AQ Schools:  6-2
Lastly, the C-USA has won all of their 5 games against FCS schools (5-0).

On to the Preview:

The Weaksauce Award:

Given to the C-USA school that scheduled the weakest cream puff of the week.


Winner:  Tulsa for bringing in Central Arkansas

To be fair, Tulsa just played at Stillwater and still travels to South Bend, but look at the schedule- there simply aren't any other teams really deserving of this.  Central Arkansas is an FCS school and TU should score half a hundred this week.

The Funding Women's Cross Country Award

Given to the C-USA school that is sacrificing their football team for a paycheck with no chance at a W.

Winner:  UAB, for playing at Tennessee

The Blazers are off to Knoxville to take on the Volunteers in a game that will help push Tennessee closer to bowl eligibility.  UAB showed some heart last week with that gutsy win over Troy.  This week, they might not score a point.

The Best Chance to Make C-USA Look Good Award

Given to the C-USA School with the best chance to beat a BCS Conference Foe this week.

Winner:  UCF at Kansas State

This is the product of elimination here.  SMU at TCU?  It is a rivalry game and I think SMU will have some success on offense, but the more I think about TCU's defense, the more I think SMU will settle for field goals rather than score touchdowns.  SMU is a good team, and the program is gaining ground on TCU, but they aren't quite ready for prime time.

UAB at Tennessee?  No way.  Baylor at Rice?  I think the Bears will come out gunning after getting undressed last week by TCU.

K-State is undefeated and has wins over UCLA and Iowa State.  UCF played well, when Jeff Godfrey came in, against N.C. State but their best win right now is a 24-10 win against Buffalo.  Godfrey will be a good one, but he's not ready for K-State's offense.  

The Picks

Game
TCU 38, SMU 17
UCF 17, Kansas State 24
UAB 10, Tennessee 38
Tulane 13, Houston 31
Ohio 13, Marshall 24
Southern Miss 38 La Tech 21
Central Arkansas 10, Tulsa 49
Baylor 42, Rice 17

The Conference USA Game of the Week

Conference-usa-logo_medium_medium

Memphis at UTEP

There are only two C-USA games this week and they both have interesting story lines.  First, the weakest C-USA team travels to the home of the preseason favorite, Houston.  The Coogs of course are playing their first game without Case Keenum and Terrance Broadway will be making his first career start.  Tulane just isn't very good on either side of the ball and this one, luckily, will be at Houston.  Though, I'm guessing the crowd won't resemble what we saw in Houston two weeks ago.  Houston's going to struggle, but I think Broadway and Bryce Beall will make enough plays to hold off the Green Wave.

So, that leaves UTEP and Memphis.  More than anything this game will help us answer some serious questions about UTEP.

1.  Can the Miners handle a little bit of success and show up two weeks in a row?

2.  Can UTEP continue to win the games they're supposed to?

3.  Will Donald Buckram resemble the nations 4th leading rusher from a year ago?

4.  Will the Miner offense struggle or lose any rhythm by inserting Buckram back into the mix?  

5.  Has UTEP won back the Miner faithful in El Paso?  Will the crowd be a factor?

Most outsiders don't care about this game.  Most in the C-USA community don't either.  Miner fans know the significance though.  We've seen several bowl seasons slip away in the last few years because UTEP didn't show up for exactly these kinds of games that quite frankly the Miners should win.

Many commenters here, and myself, believe this team is different.  We see the senior quarterback, Trevor Vittatoe, playing absolutely out of his mind, and for the first time, using his feet to add a new dimension to the offense.  We see an offensive line that is helping our reserve running backs average 6.1 yards per rush.  We see the immediate impact running a defense that makes sense has made for our linebackers.  We see that zone coverage can work and even lead to interceptions (UTEP has 4 in 3 games).  

Is it all fool's gold?  Last year, we all got excited after UTEP beat #12 Houston and then the Memphis Tigers knocked us back down to reality.  UTEP never recovered from that 35-20 beat down.  Will history repeat itself?

I don't think so.

UTEP 41, Memphis 17


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