Straight up: 6-1 (Memphis being the only loss, sorry for thinking big, America...)
UCF at Houston (-3) — 7 p.m. — ESPN
After a Week One surprise spanking at the hands of UTSA, Houston has righted the ship, to a degree. The Cougars have sandwiched a tough road loss to BYU with uninspiring, but definitive wins over Grambling and UNLV. The Cougars were my pick to win the AAC, and such a prediction would almost certainly require a 1-0 start to the conference slate — especially as the Cougars won’t face ECU this season. UCF is in a similar scenario to the Cougars — expectations were high heading into the season, but the non-conference slate took a bigger chunk out of the squad’s confidence than expected. The Knights are on to their second quarterback of the campaign, Justin Holman, and the sophomore with the quick release appears to be the man to hold down that role for years to come. This game is absolutely a toss-up, and both teams are desperate for a win. That should make for some wonderful entertainment, and some cold sweats for Las Vegas.
UCF - 27
Houston - 33
SMU at East Carolina (-40.5) — Noon — ESPNU
Cover your eyes, this one is going to get violent, quickly. SMU has been outscored 202-12 this season (that’s not a typo.) ECU should put up the 41-point margin with ease — and for a team in need of bowl-game style points and without much of running game, it’s not hard to see ECU pouring on even more. I do expect SMU to have its best offensive game of the season. That doesn’t mean much though.
SMU - 20
ECU - 71
Tulsa at Colorado State (-14.5) — 3 p.m. — Mountain West Network
That smell emanating from Tulsa is reminiscent of a month-old tuna sandwich left out in the sun. The Golden Hurricane are stink something fierce this season, and Colorado State is a team perfectly-positioned to take advantage. Frankly, I’m shocked this line isn’t far more generous to the Rams, who have beaten good teams this season, and whose only loss came to an equally good Boise State on the road. Tulsa, meanwhile is coming off a home loss to Texas State (who is a decent Sun Belt team, to be fair) and blowouts at the hands of Oklahoma (to be expected) and FAU (wait, what?). Tulsa’s only win this season came in August, against Tulane, and even that required scratching and clawing. What was once the most economic football program in the nation (smallest enrollment in FBS) is regressing weekly, and I’m of the belief the bubble has completely burst. Others might agree with me after this game.
Tulsa - 20
Colorado State - 42
Memphis at Cincinnati (-4) — 7 p.m. — CBSSN
This game started with Memphis as a six-point underdog, but has shaved two points on the margin in the past few days. It’s hard to see this game as anything but a polar situation. Memphis has a stout, tough-hitting defense and a sputtering offense that is now without its leading rusher Doroland Dorceus. Cincinnati has a high-flying, throw-it-70-times offense led by quarterback Gunner Kiel, and a defense that resembles a sponge. Memphis is a team on the verge — closely missing out on two upset bids so far this season — and Cincy, while offensively potent, is giving up yards at wholesale discount, and Memphis might have lost its top rusher, but the team has always been running back by committee. Add in the lack of a hometown crowd — UC will be playing in a third-full Paul Brown Stadium — and I think this game is a lot closer to toss-up than the original line suggested.
Cincinnati - 25