"And then I crashed into you
And I went up in flames….."
I can't think of a better way to describe these last two weeks in Conference USA. There was a huge crash and everything we knew went up in flames. Memphis' Tommy West got fired, Playstation U (AKA University of Houston) lost to UCF (That really happened, right?) and SMU now controls its own destiny for representing C-USA west in the title game. The title game could even be on the Hilltop. And we could have a 4-way tie for the C-USA East lead going into next week. Wow. On to the picks.
Houston vs Memphis
Games like this could spell trouble at first glance. However, Memphis knew its coach was on the hot seat all year and still mustered up just 2 wins for the season. No reason to think they will beat Houston. Houston's inconsistencies caught up with them last week. The game the Coogs should have lost in Tulsa, they did lose against UCF. Still, Houston will want to position themselves for a possible C-USA title game berth in case SMU slips up, (Houston holds the tiebreaker). Houston has too much talent for this to be that close plus the game in Houston.
UAB vs ECU
The University of Joe Webb (playing as the UAB Blazers) go into Greenville to face East Carolina. The Pirates will be the next contestant on "Who wants to stop Joe Webb?". Web has been lights out over the past 4 weeks(10 passing TDs and 4 more on the ground with no INTs and the Blazers (after a 1-3) could sneak into the C-USA title game with a win and some help holding the tiebreaker. ECU has a great defense but do not put up a lot of points, preferring to grind teams out. Randall Pickney leads the Pirate attack. The Pirates are favored by 12 ½. I think that's too high. UAB wins on a late field goal.
After derailing Houston's BCS dreams, UTEP has been reeling (1-5 since). The put up a lot of points but can't stop anyone. Rice won for the first time last week and I think they have enough frustration pent up to beat up on another team 2 weeks in a row. Look for another great game from Nick Fanuzzi and Toren Dixon.
SMU vs Marshall
The Ponies make the trek to Huntington to take on Marshall. Marshall has a lot to play for. Mainly becoming bowl eligible. This is a big game for both teams. SMU has found new life with Kyle Padron under center and is on a roll. SMU clinches the C-USA west title with a win, could be out with a loss and two more Houston wins. This could go into overtime with SMU pulling out a close one.
Tulane vs UCF
UCF is bowl eligible but a C-USA title would be even better. The Knights need to win Saturday to keep their C-USA hopes alive and they will.
USM vs Tulsa
Southern Miss needs this game to stay in the hunt for a berth in the C-USA title game. They will beat an emotionally drained Tulsa team at home. Southern Miss wins again.
Southern Miss. 34-14