It was a great week for Conference USA last week as Southern Miss was able get an incredible 44-35 win over the SEC’s Kentucky Wildcats. With five more games against P5 teams this week, CUSA will have another opportunity to improve the conference’s reputation.
But CUSA wasn’t the only one who had a great week as I correctly picked every game in Week 1. Will CUSA go back-to-back weeks with a win over a P5 team? Can I correctly pick every CUSA game for the second week in a row?
This week every CUSA team will be in action.
Choosing CUSA Record: 12-0
Game of the Week
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt (Middle Tennessee +5)
After blitzing Alabama A&M the Blue Raiders will take a short drive to Nashville to take on a Vanderbilt team fresh off of blowing their conference opener to South Carolina.
Under Derek Mason the ‘Dores have shut down great CUSA offenses. Last year Western Kentucky was held to 14 points and MTSU could only score 13 in a home loss last season. This year could be more of the same as Vanderbilt’s defense is still legit. I think we learn a lot about MTSU in this game.
Rick Stockstill’s rushing attacked struggled mightily against Vanderbilt last year as they rushed for 34 yards on 23 carries. Brent Stockstill is great, but he’s going to need some help from the ground game or it’s going to be the same result for MTSU. Ole Miss transfer I’Tavius Mathers could be the difference maker MTSU lacked last year in the backfield.
Injuries have really taken a toll on MTSU’s offense but I’ve been skeptical of the Blue Raiders winning CUSA East not because of their offense, but rather their defense.
Against a pedestrian Vandy offense the Blue Raiders’ defense should perform well enough for the win, but I think Vandy does just enough offensively on the ground with Ralph Webb and neutralizes MTSU’s offense for the second straight year to come away with the home win.
Vanderbilt 20 Middle Tennessee 14
The Rest of CUSA...
Maryland at FIU
I think FIU needs to win this game in order to have a chance at the postseason. I don’t think FIU wins and the clock starts ticking for Ron Turner.
Maryland 27 FIU 16
Rice at Army
Another team in which their bowl hopes will probably be determined by Week 2. Against an improved Army team, Rice somehow finds a way to win a low scoring game.
Rice 17 Army 14
Western Kentucky at Alabama
Western Kentucky will give the tide more problems on offense than USC. Think about that for a second. The Hilltoppers will stay close for a half before losing but this game will be much more competitive than Alabama’s game against the Trojans.
Alabama 40 Western Kentucky 17
Old Dominion at Appalachian State
Last year Appalachian State embarrassed ODU 49-0 in Virginia. This year the Monarchs have the chance to return the favor. After an emotional game against Tennessee last week I could see App State starting slow but App State is 71-14 in their last 85 home games. The home crowd will be too much to overcome for the Monarchs.
Appalachian State 30 Old Dominion 17
UTSA at Colorado State
Colorado State looked awful against Colorado. UTSA looked decent against Alabama State but the emergence of Dalton Sturm was a great revelation. A 2-0 start to the season for the Roadrunners would be huge for a team that really struggled last year and I think they get it done behind the arms and legs of Sturm, who will be the best player in this game.
UTSA 28 Colorado State 21
Elon at Charlotte
One of the worst FCS teams against the worst FBS team. Something’s gotta give. Lose this one Charlotte and it’ll be a winless season.
Charlotte 30 Elon 21
Morgan State at Marshall
Welcome to the 2016 football season Marshall! Chase Litton has a big day and the defense pitches a shutout.
Marshall 45 Morgan State 0
FAU at Miami
Miami’s three headed rushing attack is too much for FAU’s defense as Trey Hendrickson doesn’t get a chance to shine against another P5 team from Florida. Greg Howell and FAU’s rushing offense gets traction early, but eventually Miami turns up the pressure and forces Driskel to toss a few interceptions. Miami wins big.
Miami 45 FAU 17
Savannah State at Southern Miss
Southern Miss big.
Southern Miss 50 Savannah State 7
UTEP at Texas
The confidence for Texas after their huge win over Notre Dame is sky-high right now. UTEP keeps it close for a quarter but eventually Texas’ 18-wheeler package and Shane Buechele’s just go deep playbook gets going and becomes too much for the Miners.
Texas 44 UTEP 17
Bethune Cookman at North Texas
North Texas will win but watch closely for how the quarterbacks perform. Something tells me Mason Fine will get a ton of reps and should he perform well, could be the starter for the Mean Green going forward.
North Texas 38 Bethune Cookman 21
South Carolina State at Louisiana Tech
Another CUSA team that could possibly switch quarterbacks should the younger quarterback play well.
Louisiana Tech 34 South Carolina State 7