Last night MTSU handled WKU with relative ease. There are six other games on the league slate this weekend, highlighted by the Shula Bowl tonight on Facebook/Stadium.
There are two chances to raise the profile of the league, although they are both long-shots. There was a time when this blogger would have picked Tech vs MSST but that was before two struggle-wins. Tech has been winning but not nicely. Talent is great for pulling upsets, however.
Elsewhere, we should see FIU and UAB creep closer to a title-game matchup, although Marshall will want to make their presence known by winning against a decent Southern Miss.
All times central.
Marshall at Southern Miss 2pm Stadium/Facebook
Jack Abraham is expected to play this week after leaving last week with an injury. The Marshall run game is good and dominant and has been able to continue despite having to reach down deep in it running back depth chart. The bye week healed up most of the injuries and Doc Holliday expects everyone to be ready. Southern Miss is talented but turnover-prone even if the friendly confies of The Rock will help them compete.
Line: Marshall -3.5 O/U: 47
Pick: Marshall 31 USM 27
UTEP at Rice 230pm ESPN3
Dana Dimel’s Miners gave the UAB Blazers something like a challenge even though they were shut out and took another loss. The Owls were destroyed when they faced UAB but competed well against North Texas. If there was a chance to end the streak it is here and now in Houston.
Line: UTEP -1 O/U: 45
Pick: UTEP 21 Rice 17
Charlotte at Tennessee 3pm SEC Alt
A big win over Southern Miss last week is buoying the spirits in Charlotte this week. Now, a trip to Knoxville to face Tennessee. The talent disparity will be evident. UT beat UTEP 24-0 in September.
Line: Charlotte +22.5 O/U: 47
Pick: Tennessee 37 Charlotte 17
FAU vs FIU 630pm Stadium/FB
Last year FAU won this game and clinched the East division. This year, it is Butch Davis’ crew that are in control and looking to lock things up (with a few more wins). Things are going great in Miami, thanks in large part to James Morgan’s play. He is just two TD passes behind Mason Fine for the league lead. Meanwhile, the Owls are struggling to be consistent in their QB play with freshman mistakes costing them dearly. Kiffin discussed the QB play at length this week, and mentioned some of the mistakes lining up and the post-snap decision making problems.
Line: FIU -2 O/U: 59.5
Pick: FIU 38 FAU 31
UTSA at UAB 6:30p beIN Sports
UTSA has a Butkis Award semifinalist in Josiah Tauaefa to throw at the powerful UAB run game. The Blazers are riding high and received more votes in the AP Top 25 poll. If you squint, you can perhaps come up with some scenario that sees a goodish UTSA defense exploit a relatively unexplosive UAB offense under wraps while the Runner offense gets enough. The truth is that the terrible UTSA offense is facing the league’s best. The sack machine that is the UAB front-four are going to wreak havoc in this one.
Line: UAB -21.5 O/U: 42
Pick: UAB 35 UTSA 0
LA Tech at Mississippi State 6:30pm SEC Network
Tech has the league’s all-time sack leader and a duo of talented receivers that can score against even LSU’s talented secondary. They also have an offense that had to muster up some late game trickery against UTEP. This battle of Bulldogs is leaning heavily in the maroon favor, but do not be surprised if Tech jumps up and gives them a good game.
Line: LT + 20.5 O/U: 48.5
Pick: MSST 31 Tech 21