Tis week we have a limited slate of games. That’s because conference play begins and we have some byes. With both participants in last year’s title game losers at the end of september we have the beginnings of a new race of the division titles.
MTSU @ Marshall CBSSN 630pm
This is the second year in a row where these two teams face each other on a Friday night. Last year, Marshall dominated a weakened MTSU squad on the road. Both teams are coming off a big win — Marshall over rivals WKU and MTSU in the upset over FAU. Herd WR Tyre Brady is an issue and if Marshall can keep Alex Thompson upright and clean, he should be able to find him often enough.
Line: Marshall -3 O/U: 50.5
Pick: Marshall has enough to win this. Marshall 27 MTSU 25
ODU at FAU Stadium 4pm
Old Dominion was robbed but only Lane Kiffin railed at the officials. FAU is the clear better team but ODU is playing better. This is a weird game and could be two teams passing each other on the way up and down the standings or FAU can propel themselves back into good feelings by using the Monarchs as a stepping stool. I don’t think FAU is putting up 450+ yards rushing like they did last year in Hampton Roads, but Motor is still capable of dominating this one.
Line: FAU -13.5 O/U: 63
Pick: FAU is at home and that should resolve some issues. FAU 37 ODU 27
UAB at LA Tech
ESPN+Stadium on Facebook 6pm
Last year UAB won 23-22, with a blocked FG on the last play of the game. Tech beat NT the same way last week. This seems like it is a revenge tour for Tech, but this is the third straight tough game. Yes, UAB is good, even if they are 14-point dogs. Both LSU and NT ran on this Bulldog defense and that does not bode well. Jaylon Ferguson is a force, but he gets sacks. UAB does not give up a lot of sacks, because the run game is so good.
Line: LT -9.5 O/U: 56
Pick: UAB in a stunner. UAB 27 – Tech 24
UTSA at Rice ESPN3 6pm
UTSA has two straight wins over struggling programs — Texas St. and UTEP. The question and the issue for Frank Wilson is how to justify those squeakers. Yes, UTSA is young and gelling, but there are big questions about style and scheme. Meanwhile, Rice is young and new head coach Mike Bloomgren is installing his culture and personality. His Owls are running all over everyone, but coming up a little short. A struggling UTSA is the perfect salve.
Line: UTSA Pickem O/U: 50
Pick: Rice wins this in a non-upset. Rice 31 UTSA 21
North Texas at UTEP beIN 6:30pm
North Texas is hurting after the home loss to LA Tech. In previous years that could have derailed this team. Listening to the post-game talk among the players and you hear so much coach speak and repeat of the ‘reset’ motto that it is difficult to think that the Mean Green will not take their frustrations on a struggling UTEP squad perhaps missing their best player.
Line: UNT -27 O/U: 53
Pick: NT gets a cathartic win 50-6