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Conference USA Game Picks

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Its now or never. Four teams in Conference USA are desperate for a win as bowl season approaches, and three of those four face the end of the line as a loss would put an end to their bowl hopes. On the other end of the bowl spectrum, Houston and Southern Miss are both still fighting for the opportunity to play in a BCS bowl. #11 Houston sits in the driver's seat, while #20 USM is a mere passenger. The BCS is obligated to take the highest rated non aq champ if ranked in the top 12, or top 16 if ranked higher than any aq champ. Considering the Big East currently has no top 25 teams, C-USA has a great shot at sending a team to a BCS bowl. There should be some great action in Conference USA this week, and here are the Rush's picks for all those games.

[2] #20 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (9-1, 5-1) @ [10] UAB Blazers (2-8, 2-5) 8:00 p.m. ET, Thursday November 17th

The Golden Eagles extended their win streak to 8 last week, knocking off UCF 30-29. The Knights had a chance to tie the game with no time left, but elected to go for two. USM stopped them and escaped with the 1 point victory. The Blazers were down 35-17 to Memphis heading into the 4th quarter. They scored 24 unanswered to knock off the Tigers 41-35. I'd like to think the Blazers can hang in this one, but there's just no way.

Projection: Southern Miss 38, UAB 20

[8] Marshall Thundering Herd (4-6, 3-3) @ [11] Memphis Tigers (2-8, 1-5) 8:00 p.m. ET, Thursday November 17th

The Thundering Herd need this one to keep their bowl hopes alive. Last week they got demolished by Tulsa, 59-17, and hardly looked like a bowl worthy team. Memphis had a strangle hold on UAB, before letting that game slip away 41-35. Marshall has been extremely inconsistent all year, but this seems like one that they should be able to handle fairly easily.

Projection: Marshall 44, Memphis 24

[3] Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-3, 6-0) @ [5] UTEP Miners (5-5, 2-4) 3:00 p.m. ET, Saturday November 19th

The Golden Hurricane are coming off a statement win over Marshall 59-17. They have now won 6 in a row, and are still very much alive in the conference race. UTEP won at home last week over ECU 22-17, and is now 1 win away from becoming bowl eligible. The Tulsa vs. UTEP game is usually close no matter what, especially in El Paso. The Miners need it more, and it has no effect on Tulsa's season.

Projection: UTEP 31, Tulsa 28

[12] Tulane Green Wave (2-9, 1-6) @ [9] Rice Owls (3-7, 2-4) 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday November 19th

The Green Wave got mauled by Houston last week 73-17, and have now lost 8 in a row. The Owls lost on the road to Northwestern 28-6, but had made a big stride with a home win over UTEP the week before. This one is Rice all the way.

Projection: Rice 35, Tulane 14

[4] SMU Mustangs (6-4, 4-2) @ [1] #11 Houston Cougars (10-0, 6-0) 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday November 19th

The Mustangs have been in a bit of a slump lately, and it continued last week at home with a 24-17 loss to Navy. They have now dropped 3 of 4. The Cougars are rolling, and are up to #11 in the BCS rankings. Last week they blew out Tulane 73-17. I'm not sure SMU could've beat UH when they were peaking, much less now.

Projection: Houston 55, SMU 24

[6] UCF Knights (4-6, 2-4) @ [7] ECU Pirates (4-6, 3-3) 7:00 p.m. ET, Saturday November 19th

The Knights are coming off a heartbreaking loss at home against #20 Southern Miss. They had a shot at the win, but fell to 4-6 after the 2 point conversion failed. ECU is also coming off a tough loss 22-17 at UTEP. Both these teams need this win, but only one will still be bowl eligible once this game ends. I like the home team.

Projection: ECU 34, UCF 31