After a week full of games that featured intrigue with rivalry contests and the chance for a lot more clarity in the Conference USA standings and bowl picture, this week offers none of that as zero contests will feature two teams with winning records.
As a result, choosing this week’s Game of the Week was a bit of a problem as there aren’t a lot of exciting games. We could see just about every game be a blowout and I wouldn’t be that surprised.
Choosing C-USA Record: 60-18
Game of the Week
UTSA at Middle Tennessee (Middle Tennessee -20.5)
UTSA is coming off of a huge win in the rivalry game against North Texas. Meanwhile Middle Tennessee was nearly upset down in Miami against FIU.
The Roadrunners really need to pull off a upset in their next four games if they are to go to a bowl game whereas MTSU can’t afford a slip up if it wants to remain in the hunt for the East division.
According to Vegas MTSU should win pretty convincingly. However, after their performance against FIU in which the defense allowed 517 yards this game is far from a lay-up.
UTSA is averaging 30.8 points per game in conference play and has already showcased that they can exploit a weak rushing defense in their game against Southern Miss when they rushed for 339 yards.
Unfortunately, that game was in the friendly confines of the Alamodome and although the offense has looked better during conference play they still haven’t been able to find much success on the road.
The Roadrunners have not scored over 20 points away from the Alamodome not once this year. If they are going to beat MTSU that needs to change as the Blue Raiders are averaging 45 points per game at Floyd.
The best shot UTSA has at winning this game is to keep it on the ground and give the ball to Jalen Rhodes and Jarveon Williams. UTSA ranks 22nd in Rushing IsoPPP and Rhodes is big reason why as he’s averaging nearly six yards per carry.
But for all the grief MTSU’s defense gets for not being able to stop anyone this is actually where the Blue Raiders are best. They do not give up explosive plays on the ground as they rank 5th in Rushing IsopPPP(!)
Because MTSU has not played well defensively for a majority of the year I see the Roadrunners hanging around in this one and think they cover the spread but in the end the Blue Raiders are more consistent, explosive and talented.
Middle Tennessee 48 UTSA 28
The Rest of C-USA...
FAU at Rice
The Owls are struggling. Both of them. In this loser leaves town game I see the team who wants it more coming away with the win.
Rice 31 FAU 17
Charlotte at Southern Miss
Count me as someone who has been really disappointed in Southern Miss’ offense this season. The only game they have really impressed me was the opener against Kentucky and the offense only looked excellent in that second-half comeback in Lexington.
After leaning on Nick Mullens to pick apart defenses last season this year it’s been the Ito Smith show as he’s been the star of their offensive attack. The offense isn’t on the same level as WKU, MTSU, and more importantly Louisiana Tech.
Charlotte is playing with a ton of confidence and has had two weeks to prepare for the trip to Hattiesburg but USM’s offense will be too much for them in the long run but if they don’t look amazing in this one it’s hard to see them winning any shootouts down the road.
Southern Miss 31 Charlotte 21
Louisiana Tech at North Texas
Louisiana Tech’s defense has looked pretty good minus games against MTSU, Western Kentucky, and Texas Tech. Those three quarterbacks were capable of exploiting Tech’s secondary. Mason Fine isn’t on that level just yet.
The Bulldogs have not allowed over 28 points to any team minus those three teams and are still scoring points in bunches. Something tells me Dallas native Ryan Higgins is going to have a big day in his home state.
Louisiana Tech 52 North Texas 28
FIU at Western Kentucky
The Panthers are continuing to show a lot more fight under Ron Cooper and nearly beat MTSU. But the gauntlet that is Louisiana Tech, MTSU, and now WKU is going to have them come away with zero wins.
That near upset should cause Jeff Brohm’s team to be on alert. The Tops have looked amazing since escaping Murfreesboro with a win and I don’t see them slowing down this weekend.
Western Kentucky 45 FIU 21
Marshall at Old Dominion
The last time ODU had a chance to clinch bowl eligibility at home they were upset by FAU on senior day last season. I don’t see them letting that opportunity slip again against a Marshall team that is averaging just 21 points per game during conference play.
Old Dominion 31 Marshall 21
Houston Baptist at UTEP
Believe it or not 2-6 UTEP has a chance to run the table and get to a bowl game and they have a decent shot as their schedule is awful. After this they finish the season at FAU, at Rice, and home against North Texas. The Miners get the win they need to start their quest of a four-game winning to streak to reach the postseason.
UTEP 41 Houston Baptist 20