Houston vs. Mississippi State
The facts are Houston averages 573 yards of total offense (good for 7th in FBS) and that the Cougars can stop no one. Evidenced by last week's embarrassing loss to UTEP. Since Houston coach Kevin Sumlin can't get defensive help until the offseason, you have to presume that the Cougars will put up a lot of points and... .stop no one. Mississippi State very nearly upset LSU and most certainly learned all the ways they could score on Houston. The Bulldogs are playing for a bowl bid since being in the same division as the LSU and Alabama virtually guarantees watching the SEC Championship at home. It will be a shootout with Mississippi State prevailing. Miss. State continues open season on Houston's defense, 38-28.
UTEP vs. Memphis
The conventional wisdom this week's game against Memphis is letdown territory for UTEP. The Miners knew they could ruin the BCS hopes of Houston and did so emphatically. Now, as many actors ponder, "What's my motivation" as UTEP steamrolls toward a nationally televised showdown with Tulsa next week. The reasons for winning are not as evident as last week but UTEP wants to get to a bowl and maybe even win Conference USA and that should be enough to dispatch of the Tigers. Memphis coach, Tommy West's hot seat just got hotter with another loss last week at UCF. If there was a time for season salvaging it would be now. Memphis gives up 406 yards of offense and you won't win many games like that. This is Memphis' homecoming game and it doesn't matter. UTEP wins 30-14.
To be fair, Rice has had a tough schedule with SEC and Big 12 opponents to contend with. But to be realistic, Rice is not a good football team, and looks to be the sure win that every other C-USA West will have this year. Rice can't stop the running game (giving up 164 yards a game) which is Navy's bread and butter. Look for Navy to run at will on Rice. Expect Rice to be thrown overboard, Navy 27-13.
Tulane pulled out a big win on the road against Army last week. Marshall lost to East Carolina. These two teams are evenly matched and in such cases; the more talented team would get the edge. The Green Wave have more playmakers than Marshall. Expect big days from Tulane's Joe Kemp and Andre Anderson Tulane drowns the Herd, 28-17.
Southern Miss has played BCS conferences tough, beating Virginia, and losing to Kansas on the road by a touchdown. Now, they head to Louisville which is in the midst of a rebuilding year and is on the bottom looking up in the Big East. The Golden Eagles love to run the rock behind Seniors Damian Fletcher and Tory Harrison while putting up over 400 yards of offense a game. The Cardinals aren't good against the run, giving up 140 yards a game. This matchup favors Southern Miss. It is Louisville's homecoming and that always adds incentive. Southern Miss 28-27.
East Carolina vs. SMU
East Carolina definitely strikes a good balance offensively with Patrick Pickney at QB and two good running backs in Brandon Jackson and Dominique Lindsay. The Pirates have a good schedule coming up (with the exception of No. 5 Virginia Tech), so this would be a more than winnable game. SMU is at home and gave TCU a good game for about a half. Expect a more complete game this week. The Mustangs make the Pirates walk the plank, SMU 34-31.