The season is here and what better way to kick it all off than a night game (tonight!) featuring one of the C-USA's finest on national television? Southern Miss isn't the only C-USA squad on tonight either; actually four league schools kick off their seasons tonight.
There are some great games this holiday weekend. Southern Miss and South Carolina and Texas Tech vs. SMU are two where elite C-USA teams will have a grand stage to show the rest of the country that there is some talent, and depth, in this league. Marshall and Ohio State? Well, not so much.
Each week, just before the first C-USA game is played, I will use this post to provide the Miner Nation with a viewing guid of league games so you know when to set the DVR. This will also be the post where I, and you, can make our Picks for each weeks games.
|Marshall at Ohio State
|Southern Miss at South Carolina
|Florida Atlantic at UAB
|Southeastern Louisiana at Tulane
|Texas at Rice
|South Dakota at UCF
|Memphis at Mississippi State
|Texas State at Houston
|Arkansas Pine-Bluff at UTEP
|Tulsa at East Carolina
|SMU at Texas Tech
There are several FCS opponents on the opening day schedule as Houston, UTEP, UCF, and Tulane all open up with cream puffs. We'll call it a four way tie. The reality of a 12 game schedule is that teams will have to do this. Hopefully, the C-USA sweeps these gimme's..... All eyes on Tulane.
Brave Soul Award
The Marshall Thundering Herd: Opening up on a Thursday at the Horseshoe? It's gonna be a Hornets nest up there and the Herd don't have the horses to compete with OSU. Marshall has some talent, but opening night in Columbus with Terrel Pryor hoping to kick off a Heisman campaign? The odds are stacked against the Herd.
Best Chance for a Potential C-USA Upset
The SMU Mustangs: This game also wins the "Set Your DVR Award." Don't miss this one on Sunday afternoon. It has the makings of a shootout.
The Mustangs travel to the Jones SBC Stadium in Lubbock for a Labor Day game. Texas Tech is in a transition period with new head coach Tommy Tuberville at the helm. I expect there to be some growing pains for Tech offensively and with Taylor Potts behind center, I firmly believe SMU can push Tech to the limits.
I was at the Tech vs. UNM game last season. Taylor Potts lost his starting job to Steven Sheffield in that game. The media reports said it was because of a concussion and that's true, Potts was injured. But, that doesn't take away from the fact that 20,000 or so Tech fans were chanting "No More Potts" during the first half, well before the injury. The Lubbock faithful, and I suspect some players on Tech's team, aren't buying what Taylor is selling.
We'll see if June Jones and Kyle Padron can take advantage of that.
Runner Up: Southern Miss at South Carolina. I suspect USC's offense will struggle a bit in this one, the question is, can USM score a couple of touchdowns to keep this one close? On the road, in front of 82,000, I think it will be a grind it out kind of game. An upset? Can't wait to see.
Conference USA Game of the Week:
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. the East Carolina Pirates: There's only one C-USA game this week but it's a good one and lucky for us it's on ESPN 2. It will be exciting to see a traditional C-USA Spread Offense team, match up with an ECU club that is implementing the mother of all spread- the Air Raid. Expect some fireworks in this one.
Predictions? Who do you got?
Miner Rush’s Picks
Marshall at Ohio State
Southern Miss at South Carolina
FAU at UAB
SE Louisiana at Tulane
Texas at Rice
South Dakota at UCF
Memphis at Mississippi State
Texas State at Houston
Tulsa at East Carolina
East Carolina 27, Tulsa 24
SMU at Texas Tech
Texas Tech 35, SMU 31
The UTEP Pick
I don't know right now if Donald Buckram will play on Saturday. If, hopefully as a precaution, he doesn't, I'm still confident that Trevor Vittatoe and company can get it done against UAPB. Other than the Buckram story, of course, this game is about seeing the new 4-3 defense. I'm betting that UAPB will find the end zone once-maybe twice- as UTEP gets the kinks out against QB Josh Boudreaux & Company.
No wins are ever guaranteed, as we all know, but the Miners have too many seniors to let his one slip away. UTEP 45, UAPB 17.