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Weekest of the Weak: Miners and Side Dishes, Oh My

You've all gone and done it now.

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Seriously, people. Not only have the readers done a poor job of commenting on the articles, so that Charles can have warm fuzzies about the work he is doing...

They've done so poorly that Charles has up and quit. Now you get me. And what does that mean?


Yeah, you know what shut up. First comment is either about how weak the weakest of the week article is, or how weak the weakly matchup is, or.... I DON'T EVEN KNOW.

Look. We made it up to six comments, but it's really only five because one of those was a comment about how many comments there were.

That's Charles' job, people!!! UGH. Anyway, onto this week's matchups.

Runner Up #1: The General Concept of New Mexico State, Troy, and North Texas

All three of them showed signs of life last week, with the Aggies and Mean Green pulling off a win. So, reprieve earned. Even the weakest have weaks of improvement.

Runner Up #2: Temple Owls @ SMU Mustangs

This one is merely the most lopsided of matchups. The Owls are coming off a near loss to Notre Dame last weak, in which they did not look a whole lot worse than the eighth-ranked team in the country. They will now be looking to ride out their frustrations on the nearest available ponies.

Enter the SMU Mustangs. This was bound to be a rough (if entertaining) season for the Mustangs, as Chad Morris would very likely succeed as an offensive genius and gradually figure out the defense. That has kind of happened, as the Mustangs have improved defensively (47.8 ppg in their first four, 34 ppg in their last four), if as much due to entering conference play as due to scheme or personal growth.

The offense, however, has not improved in kind (26 and 24 ppg, respectively). This has caused SMU to improve from nearly defeating James Madison to staying close but never truly threatening Tulsa. Moral victories abound. This week won't be one of them.

Runner Up #3: The Entire Slate of Conference USA Games

Based on preseason hype, the best matchup is 8-1 Marshall at 3-5 Middle Tennessee. Based on offensive production, the best matchup is... Middle Tennessee against Marshall, or Old Dominion against UTSA if you want equally bad offenses. On defense, if you want a matchup of good HAHAHAHA VERY FUNNY. You made me look up the stats and there isn't one because this is flipping Conference USA.

As for a just plain bad matchup, I've saved the worst for...

(Not) Winner of the Weak: Rice Owls @ UTEP Miners

Here we are. Do you know how I know this is a terrible matchup? Let me offer up the following.

UTEP is 3-5. They've been outscored by an average of 46-11 in their five losses, and the best team they've lost to has surrendered 55+ points five times but only surrendered 20 to the Miners. That also includes a loss to UTSA where they scored six points; again, that's 1-7 UTSA. Their three wins have been by a total of 23 points, against teams with a combined record of 7-17 (one of which is a .500 FCS team).

The Miners' leading rusher is LaQuintus Dowell. He started the season as a defensive back, and he took over the lead in rushing yards just this past week. Aaron Jones is still second, and he hasn't played a snap of the last six games. This is the state of UTEP football, who still hasn't had a player rush for over 75 yards since about week three.

Yes, I'm ramming numbers down your throat, because it's either that or NON-STOP FOOD PUNS. So suck it up.

Rice (The Artist More Fondly Known As SIDE DISH) is 4-4. Their four losses have been by an average of 51-18, with their silver lining being that their defeaters have a combined record of 23-10.  Their three FBS wins have been by 22 points over teams with a record of 5-19, plus a win over quite possibly the worst FCS team.

SIDE DISH's last five games include three losses that they were literally never in - last week they trailed La Tech 28-7 at halftime and that was the game that stayed close the longest. That also included needing a last-second touchdown to avoid blowing a 14-point lead against an Army team that couldn't even beat Fordham. It also included a one-point, come-from-behind win over an FAU team that couldn't even beat the UTEP team I just described.

Their starting quarterback, Driphus Jackson, was the third best quarterback in the conference last season behind Brandon Doughty and Rakeem Cato. After Cato's departure Jackson has... regressed, to roughly the fifth best quarterback in the conference, even though Doughty is the only incumbent ahead of him. This is the state of Rice football.

Your choice. Root for a defense that can't stop anybody and an offense that can't come from behind, or... a defense that can't stop anybody and can't score period. So this is, I guess, the stoppable force versus the movable object. What a great weak this will be.