Thursday, October 8, 2009

BCS Busters: Week 6 Preview

Game of the Week

Houston @ Mississippi State

After getting tripped up by UTEP last week, the Cougars now have everyone wondering how good they really are. They get the Bulldogs this week, which should be a good indicator to see if they put last weeks’ tough loss behind them. Mississippi State has already hung tough in their games against LSU and Georgia Tech and could pose problems on both offense and defense for the Cougars. Everyone knows that quarterback Case Keenum is the motor that makes this offense go, but as we saw last week, he can’t win games all by himself. The Cougars’ run game has been overlooked, or at times forgotten, thus far as they are relying on Keenum’s arm to win every game for them. In the first three games for the Cougars this appeared to be a plan that was working. But as we saw last week, it can be a major issue. If the Cougars had gone to the ground game early and controlled the clock and momentum of the game, the outcome would have likely been different. Running back Bryce Beal is a talented back who had 1,247 yards rushing (6.3 yards-per-carry) and 13 touchdowns in 2008. To date, he has only 60 rushing attempts for 279 yards (4.7 yards-per-carry) and three touchdowns, which makes him on pace for only 180 carries and 837 yards rushing. He will need to get back into the offensive mix if Houston wants to maintain leads, which they were unable to do against UTEP. They average 127 yards-per-game rushing, but that number should increase after this game. The defense will have to regroup as well, giving up a whopping 58 points to a mediocre, at best, UTEP offense last week. The Bulldogs come in averaging 28 points-per-game, which happens to be a higher average than what the Miners boasted coming into their game against Houston. The Cougars will win this game if they have a better balance on offense and if their defense can play better than the 32 points-per-game they are allowing. If not, then the Cougars’ dream season turns into a nightmare.
Prediction: Mississippi State 31, Houston 30

Players to Watch: Houston: Case Keenum (QB); Bryce Beall (RB); James Cleveland (WR); Tyron Carrier (WR); Mississippi State: Tyson Lee (QB); Chad Bumphis (WR); K.J. Wright (LB); Pernell McPhee (DL); Leon Berry (KR)

Other Game to Watch

Utah @ Colorado State: The first conference test comes on the road for the Utes where Colorado State is 2-0 this season. Quarterback Terrance Cain and running back Matt Asiata will look to score early to give their defense a chance to go after Rams quarterback Grant Stucker who has 10 touchdown passes this season.
Prediction: Utah 27, Colorado State 21

TCU @ Air Force: Quarterback Andy Dalton will have to be on his game against a fast Falcons' defense. Two years ago his costly interception allowed the Falcons to take the game to overtime and eventually the win.
Prediction: TCU 20, Air Force 10

BYU @ UNLV: The Cougars look to go 2-0 in MWC conference play. Quarterback Max Hall will need to protect the football to give his team a chance to win on the road. The Cougs will likely focus on the Rebels passing attack which is averaging 270 yards-per-game through the air this season.
Prediction: BYU 33, UNLV 14

Florida A&M @ Miami:
The undefeated Rattlers head into Landshark Stadium for their biggest test of the season. Dual-threat quarterback Curtis Pulley will need to have an outstanding showing against the swarming hurricanes defense if they want to pull off a major upset. Their defense, which is giving up only 11 points-per-game this season, will try and put pressure on quarterback Jacory Harris and make him get outside of the pocket to make plays.
Prediction: Miami 34, Florida A&M 14

Photos Courtesy of College Press Box, University of Houston