This is the 25th season of CUSA Football and the little league that we all follow is trying to celebrate the good that has been associated with the name for the last quarter century. It is hard to celebrate when the current members are dropping games in week 1 against very questionable competition.
Well, that is a bit of a broad brush.
Let us be clear: this week’s slate of games has not so far impressed upon us or the public at large that CUSA has good teams.
WKU 28 Central Arkansas 35 ✻
The Hilltoppers came into this game roughly 10-point favorites over the FCS Bears overcame a 14-point deficit in the first quarter to upset WKU. Western got burned by an 80-yard trick play that tied the game, but also allowed 404 passing on 21/29 attempts.
The good: The offense looked nice after some ineptitude in the Mike Sanford era.
Tulane came out and ran all over the supposedly formidable Golden Panthers on opening night and even more impressively, held the FIU offense all night. James Morgan is supposed to give UNT’s Mason Fine a run for his money this season but looked harassed and uncomfortable all night vs the Green Wave. Tulane put up 545 yards of offense (to FIU’s 267) and let up way early. It could have been more. Tulane were only 3 point favorites.
The good: The game eventually ended.
UAB 24 Alabama St 19 ✻
This game was about a yard and / or a dropped pass away from being embarrassing. Instead, it is a motivating teachable moment for Bill Clark and his defending league champion Blazers. Overall UAB looked good in spots, but gave up big plays in special teams and on defense. Ultimately, a mid-4th quarter goal line stand and an ASU miscue might have won this game. Blazers were favored by 40.
The good: A win is a win, which is better than losing.
Charlotte 49 Gardner-Webb 28 ✻
New head coach Will Healy took his shirt off — as you do in North Carolina
The 49ers were big favorites but a big win to start off his Niner career and get everyone hyped — not to mention a viral video — is a great way to start things off. Running back Benny LeMay looked good.
Friday Game: Rice takes on Army in New York and are big dogs. Line has them +22.5
The league gets a nice chance at some big-game hunting. FAU is probably going to be stomped by OSU, but you never know. Middle and Tech take on some big-named programs and I _think_ the Tech one can go either way.
Unfortunately there is some upset potential with the UIW game, wherein former Red Raider WR Eric Morris and company come in off a helluva first season in which they won a share of the league title and made it to the FCS playoffs.
FAU +27.5 at Ohio St.
North Texas -20 vs ACU
UTSA -5.5 vs U Incarnate Word (San Antonio area FCS squad)
Marshall -39 vs VMI
ODU -27 vs Norfolk State (home opener of new stadium).
Southern Miss -26 vs Alcorn St
UTEP -17.5 vs Houston Baptist
MTSU +34.5 at Michigan
La Tech +19.5 at Texas