The biggest game this week is in Birmingham, but there is also a good one over in West Virginia. We will learn a lot this weekend, and that is exciting. All of the league’s teams will be in action this Saturday.
The East has been interesting during conference play, as the teams have been trading division leader. The rest of the season is set up for a nice race. FIU has a relatively easy game against Rice, while we get to see if Charlotte is indeed back.
Let us go through this week’s games, but first the standings:
- FIU 2-0
- MTSU 2-1
- Marshall 2-1
- Charlotte 2-1
- FAU 1-1
- WKU 0-2
- ODU 0-4
- UAB 3-0
- North Texas 2-1
- Louisiana Tech 2-1
- UTSA 2-1
- Southern Miss 1-1
- Rice 0-3
- UTEP 0-2
The games. All times central
FAU at Marshall CBSSN/Facebook 1:30 pm
Overshadowed a bit by the big game in the West division, this game will also determine if a 2017 CUSA title game participant will have a shot to return to the game. FAU suffered a big loss this week, as senior linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is going to miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury.
Doc Holliday thought Alex Thomson would settle down last week and he did. He will be a large factor (duh, he’s the QB). FAU will load up against the run to stop a monster Marshall rushing attack and it will be on Thompson to make them pay with passes to the phenomenal Tyre Brady.
Both QBs are hit-and-miss so let us go with the home team.
Line: FAU -3 O/U: 62.5
Pick: Marshall 31 FAU 27
Charlotte at MTSU ESPN3 2pm
Charlotte comes into this game with designs on challenging the established order. Are they as good as their record? Was the win over ODU just a bad performance by ODU or an excellent game by the 49ers? This is a weird game considering Brent Stockstill is uncertain to play in this one.
For Charlotte, they have a QB replacement as Chris Reynolds is out for the year. Asher O’Hara showed enough in the FIU loss to convince me that MTSU wins this one easily.
Line: MTSU -17 O/U 48.5
Pick: Middle 38 Charlotte 10
UTEP at Louisiana Tech ESPN+ 2:30 pm
As the week has progressed, we are more skeptical of Tech than before. Upon second viewing, the relative low yardage totals from last week’s UTSA game are concerning. S&P+ says Tech played at a 64% percentile performance and so it could be just our deteriorating opinion of UTSA affecting a good Tech team.
The rush defense is concerning, as Tech is allowing explosive runs often. UTEP is struggling but had a nice week off to think up some new plays. UTEP is playing better but probably is a year or two away from being able to beat a team like Tech on the road. I ask, however, why are so many CUSA fans picking this one as the upset of the week?
Line: Tech -23.5 O/U: 48
Pick: Tech 29 UTEP 20
UTSA at Southern Miss ESPN+ 6 pm
Popular belief is that UTSA has a good defense. The numbers do not back that up. Yes, that is partly the fault of the offense, but allowing long TDs to Tech was not Grundy’s fault. Southern Miss has a good defense that can cause problems and turnovers. They did allow Rice to move the ball a bit, and North Texas had 400+ yards and a good day. UTSA does not have that capability.
Meanwhile, Jack Abraham put up 318 on North Texas’ good defense. He should be efficient and throw for big yards in this one also. The question remains if he can keep the interception column at zero.
Line: USM -16.5 O/U: 44
Pick: USM 41 UTSA 6
Rice at FIU ESPN+ 6:30 pm
Rice looked good for a while and has regressed these past few weeks. There will be a QB change, as Shawn Stankavage has a season-ending injury. That might change the fortunes for Rice or just show us why Stankavage was starting in the first place.
FIU is on a roll, and should win this game easily. James Morgan is having fun and playing really well. FIU can use this opportunity to get the run game back on track.
Line: FIU -23.5 O/U 53
Pick: FIU 45 Rice 10
North Texas at UAB beIN 6:30 pm
We have written and podcasted extensively about this game. There is not much more to add other than that we hope this is as fun as it could be.
Line: UAB -1.5 O/U 54.5
Pick: North Texas 31 UAB 21
ODU at WKU ESPN+ 6:30 pm
Both of these squads have been over-picked in this space in week’s past. Old Dominion has at least shown it can score, while WKU nearly imploded last week against Charlotte. These teams are mirrors of each other — 82nd ranked S&P+ offense vs 100+ defense and vice-versa. WKU is playing worse, however.
Line: WKU -5 O/U: 56
Pick: ODU 38 WKU 24