BY NEIL BISMAN
CONFERENCE USA INSIDER
State bragging rights are on the line…It’s just that Tulsa doesn’t stand much of a chance. Oklahoma has come out smoking in the early part of the season, blowing out North Texas, Miami and Utah State. Things appear to be working on both sides of the ball for the Sooners, as the defense has given up just 26 points on the season and the offense has scored no less than 51 in any contest. Tulsa’s offense appears to be off and running after a slow first half the first week against Louisiana-Monroe, but the defense has been shaky at times. Shaky will not do it Friday night under the lights at Skelly Stadium. Home field advantage or not, Tulsa just doesn’t have enough to take down the big boys from Norman.
Prediction: Oklahoma 56 – Tulsa 24
Why isn’t Rice on the schedule…Thing’s never seem easy for East Carolina. After opening the season at Virginia Tech, they have had to play North Carolina, Southern Miss and now perhaps their toughest test, a trip to Morgantown to take on West Virginia. There isn’t any light on the other side of the tunnel as after this one they have to travel to Houston and then get UCF at home. At that point, ECU may be the best 1-5 team in America. As you can guess, ECU doesn’t stand much of a chance this week. The Pirates will go out and play hard as they always do, but Steve Slaton, Pat White and freshman sensation Noel Devine are just way too fast and way too talented for the Pirate defense to contain.
Prediction: West Virgnia 44 – East Carolina 21
Second time is a charm…Central Florida gets its second shot at winning its first ever home game at Bright House Networks Stadium but should have a much easier time this week as they take on Memphis. The Tigers were able to right the ship a little bit last week in their win over Jacksonville State but the running game, on both sides of the ball, is still an issue for Memphis. With all due respect to Jacksonville State running back and one time second-stringer Cedric Johnson, UCF running back Kevin Smith is just a little bit better and should have a field day against the Tigers’ defense.
Prediction: Central Florida 31- Memphis 13
Battle of the underrateds…Don’t let the records fool you when Colorado State travels to Houston to take on the Cougars. Both teams have had tough early slates. As a matter of fact – look for the Rams to steal one on the road.
Prediction: Colorado State 27 – Houston 24
It’s kind of like a bye week…Rice gets rewarded for its brutal early season start by winning a trip to Austin to take on Texas. Yes, the Longhorns haven’t looked that strong thus far but that should not be an issue on Saturday. Rice wide receiver Jarrett Dillard deserves better than this.
Prediction: Texas 56 – Rice 7
If you can’t beat New Hampshire…Following last week’s embarrassing loss to New Hampshire, Marshall has to shake the cobwebs and play a red-hot Cincinnati Bearcats squad. Don’t expect Cincy to cool off this week, either.
Prediction: Cincinnati 38 – Marshall 14
Somebody in the conference has to win, right?...Tulane and UTEP both represent the conference’s best chance at avoiding an unacceptable winless week for the conference. The Green Wave and Miners get Football Champion Subdivision teams Southeastern Louisiana and Texas Southern, respectively.
Prediction: Tulane 34 – Southeastern Louisiana 14
UTEP 31 – Texas Southern 10
DFW Duel Sponsored By Statefarm…Don’t look at me, that’s what they call it when TCU takes on SMU.
Prediction: TCU 41 – SMU 13