Conference USA Game Picks

We took a bit of a break from the game picks, but we'll get things going again here in week 4. Last week was a tough one for C-USA, so let's hope this week isn't a repeat. Four C-USA teams go up against nationally ranked opponents, and three of those four are on the road. On top of that, UCF has another tough test as the Knights travel to Provo to take on BYU. Without further ado, here are the game picks for week 4.

[2] UCF (2-1) @ BYU (1-2) Friday September 23rd 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN3.com

Last week the Knights fell on the road to a tough Florida International squad 17-10. The Knights seemed in control, but a late first half turnover led to a TD and completely shifted momentum. The Cougars were poised to have a great year this year, but have struggled thus far losing to Texas on the road by 1, and UTAH at home last week by a final of 54-10. Both teams really need this win, its just a matter of who wants it more.

Projection: BYU 27, UCF 21

[3] SMU (2-1) @ [12] Memphis (1-2) Saturday September 24th 12:00 p.m. ET

The Mustangs are coming off a 40-7 win over Northwestern St., but have yet to live up to the expectations entering the year. Memphis is headed down the same road they've been on for the last few years, but is coming off its first win of the season last week against Austin Peay. I just don't see the Tigers staying close in this one, as they couldn't even keep it close against Arkansas St.

Projection: SMU 42, Memphis 10

[9] Tulane (2-1) @ DUKE (1-2) Saturday September 24th 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com

The Green Wave are coming off a 49-10 win at UAB. That game was an extreme surprise, especially considering a depleted Tulsa team beat Tulane in New Orleans 30-3 the week before. The Blue Devils are coming off a 20-19 win over Boston College, but haven't done anything beyond that. It kinda depends on which Tulane squad shows up, but if the one that played last week makes the trip to DUKE, they should pull out the win.

Projection: Tulane 28, DUKE 17.

[11] UAB (0-2) @ [4] East Carolina (0-2) Saturday September 24th 3:30 p.m. ET

Just looking at the records it would seem that this game should be pretty close, but there is no question ECU is the better team here. The Pirates had a bye week last week, but played solid against two top 15 teams in the first two weeks of the season. The Blazers have still yet to find themselves as they've put up only 3 points and 400 yards of total offense in two games. East Carolina should come away with this one fairly easily.

Projection: ECU 31, UAB 17.

[5] Southern Miss (2-1) @ Virginia (2-1) Saturday September 24th 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN Gameplan/ESPN3.com

The Golden Eagles rebounded well with a 52-6 win over SE Louisiana after their disappointing conference opener. Virginia lost last week 28-17 at North Carolina, and has wins over William and Mary and Indiana. Coming into the season this would've seemed like a win for Southern Miss, but the way they've been playing this is definitely not a gimme. Hopefully they've gotten through their early season jitters.

Projection: Southern Miss 34, Virginia 24.

No. 13 Virginia Tech (3-0) @ [10] Marshall (1-2) Saturday September 24th 3:30 p.m. ET

Maybe Arkansas St. is better than we thought they were, as the Hokies got by them 26-7 last week. The Thundering Herd continued to surprise as they dropped a game at Ohio 44-7. The Herd are young and inexperienced, and will likely not be able to contain the Hokies potent offense, but this one shouldn't get too out of hand.

Projection: No. 13 Virginia Tech 38,  Marshall 20.

[8] Rice (1-1) @ No. 17 Baylor (2-0) Saturday September 24th 7:00 p.m. ET

The Owls had the week off last week, and barely got by Purdue on a last second blocked field goal the week before. The Bears were also off last week, and beat Stephen F. Austin 48-0 the week before. Many people thought coming into the season that the Owls were much improved. Even though that may be true, it won't help them much in this one.

Projection: No. 17 Baylor 41, Rice 14

[7] UTEP (2-1) @ No. 18 South Florida (3-0 ) Saturday September 24th 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com

The Miners are coming off a gutsy win over NMSU 16-10. The Aggies were coming off a win at Minnesota, and Miners RS Freshman QB Jay Hall struggled, but UTEP buckled down and pulled out the win. South Florida is coming off a 70-17 thrashing of Florida A&M, and are on pace to have their best season in quite some time. With starting QB Nick Lamaison still out, I just don't see the Miners being able to keep pace with the Bulls seasoned offense.

Projection: No. 18 South Florida 38, UTEP 17

[6] Tulsa (1-2) @ No. 4 Boise St. (2-0) Saturday September 24th 8:00 p.m. ET

The Golden Hurricane is coming off a loss to no. 7 Oklahoma St., but worse than the loss of the game was the loss of QB GJ Kinne. The Broncos have now knocked off Georgia and Toledo, and QB Kellen Moore is looking extremely tough. Tulsa's loss of Damaris Johnson was bad enough, but now after losing Kinne, this game could really get out of control for the Hurricane.

Projection: No. 4 Boise St. 48, Tulsa 20

Georgia St. (1-2) @ [1] Houston (3-0) Saturday September 24th 8:00 p.m. ET

Georgia St. is coming off a loss at Jacksonville St. and lost to Old Dominion before that. In fact, their lone win is against Clark Atlanta. I'm still not sure if that's a high school team. After a huge 27 point comeback against La Tech, Houston is all alone atop C-USA. Still, the Cougars haven't figured out how to stop the run. That shouldn't matter much in this one, as Case Keenum will probably throw for like 750 yards.

Projection: Houston 52, Georgia St 14.

***Numbers in [x] brackets are teams' current position in the Miner Rush C-USA Power Rankings.

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