Week 9 Conference USA action kicks off tonight as  Rice heads across town to take on the #17  Houston Cougars. Saturday's matchup between  SMU and Tulsa could hold great significance in the C-USA West race, and the high flying Golden Eagles of #25  Southern Miss will head into El Paso to take on a confident UTEP squad. It should be an action packed weekend of college football in C-USA. Here are the Rush's game picks for week 9.
 Rice Owls (2-5, 1-3) @ #17  Houston Cougars (7-0, 3-0) Thursday October 27th 8:00 p.m. ET
The Owls will head across town to take on an offense that no one has been able to slow down. The Cougars rank 1st in passing yardage per game (441.7) and points for (49.3). Even though the "rivalry" part of this may allow Rice to play a litter tougher early on, it'll wind up being a long night for them.
Projection: Houston 52, Rice 21
The Blazers are coming off their first win of the season, and probably their most complete performance. They had over 500 yards of total offense against UCF, while holding the Knights to 330. Marshall had the task of stopping a freight train last week and didn't do so well losing 63-28 at Houston. The Herd are good enough to win this one, but the Blazers may have finally found their spark.
Projection: UAB 31, Marshall 24
The Wave has hit rock bottom, as their coach resigned and they then fell to Memphis at home all in the same week. East Carolina has been floating around the relevant/irrelevant line for much of the season, but they are coming off a much needed win at Navy. ECU will get back to .500 after this one.
Projection: ECU 38, Tulane 14
The Mustangs are coming off a 27-3 loss to Southern Miss, but I'm still not sure if that can be credited to a great performance by USM or a poor one by SMU. Either way, another test awaits in Tulsa as the Golden Hurricane are undefeated in conference and have only lost to 3 top five teams. Its the moment of truth for the Hurricane.
Projection: SMU 28, Tulsa 24
 Memphis Tigers (2-6, 1-3) @  UCF Knights (3-4, 1-2) Saturday October 29th, 4:00 p.m. ET
The Tigers are coming off a road win at Tulane, but let's not get too excited just yet. On the flip side, UCF is coming off a loss to the previously winless UAB Blazers, and are watching their season slip away right before their eyes. I like Memphis to hang around, but I just can't see the Knights being this bad.
Projection: UCF 27, Memphis 17
#25  Southern Miss Golden Eagles @  UTEP Miners (4-3, 1-2) Saturday October 29th, 8:00 p.m. ET (6 MT)
The Golden Eagles are absolutely rolling right now, winning five in a row capped by a 27-3 win over SMU last week. The Miners are getting things going as well. They have won two in a row, and rushed for nearly 900 yards in the last three weeks. They are playing very physical and confident, and truly have a chance to win every game left on their schedule. Miners shock the conference.
Projection: UTEP 34, Southern Miss 30