Fearless Predictions for Week Five - FAU @ USF
Week Five is here and it presents us with some interesting matchups in the SBC and around the country. The first four weeks of the season brought lots of surprises including some memorable wins and forgettable losses. As we pass through the first third of the season MTSU and Troy are at the top of the SBC standings. However, if history has shown us anything it is that the race for the SBC title will come down to the end of season. With that said, let's get to some predictions for Week Five.
10/02 North Texas vs. Louisiana (Lafayette)
UNT comes into this one with a 1-0 conference record after shocking FAU in South Florida. Louisiana (1-1 in the SBC) comes off of a disappointing loss to MTSU. A week ago the obvious choice would be to pick the Cajuns in this game. However, the performance by North Texas against FAU has opened some eyes around the SBC. Louisiana ranks 109th nationally in scoring with 17.3 ppg while the defense ranks 111th having given up 37.7 ppg. The offense is anemic ranking below 86 teams in passing and rushing. UNT ranks worse in scoring at 115th nationally, but the Mean Green have found some offense relying on a strong running attack and the legs of 3rd string QB Riley Dodge. North texas has also surprisingly done a better job throwing the ball than Louisiana. The Cajuns need a win to stay relevant in the SBC. The Mean Green can make a statement with a win in Cajun country. The UNT offense has more to offer and the defense has proven to be better statistically than the Louisiana defense. I have to take North Texas in this one.
North Texas 24
10/05 Middle Tennessee vs. Troy
MTSU hosts Troy in a rare Tuesday night game. Both teams are 2-2 and 1-0 in the SBC. The team that comes away with a win on Tuesday will take a huge step forward in the race for the SBC title. Troy has been prolific on offense and the Trojans rank 6th nationally in passing yards. The Trojans are led by redshirt Freshman quarterback Cory Robinson who has 1244 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. The Troy defense has been as suspect as the Troy offense has been good. The Trojans rank 101st nationally in points allowed. At 2-2 the average differential is just over 3 points. What this means is that Troy plays close games. MTSU is expected to welcome back dynamic QB Dwight Dasher. Playing MTSU's biggest rival in a nationally televised game doesn't allow Dasher much time to shake off the rust. Fortunately MTSU has played well on defense and they have developed a strong running attack. This should take the pressure off of Dasher should he see the field. MTSU should be able to ride the home field advantage in this one. I think the only detriment will be if Dasher does start and he tries to do too much. I like that MTSU has been able to win decisively. That combined with a home field advantage on a Tuesday night in Murfreesboro is a good recipe for victory for the Blue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee 35
10/02 Florida Atlantic at South Florida
FAU visits USF after a tremendously disappointing loss to North Texas. The Owls have two choices moving forward. They can feel sorry for themselves and cash in the season or they can turn things around starting with the game against the Bulls. The Owls have the weapons on offense to compete with South Florida. Jeff Van Camp has looked good throwing the ball and Lester Jean and Rob Housler have looked good enough to warrant attention from opposing defenses. Unfortunately the running game has not developed and FAU ranks 114th nationally in rushing yards per game with only 73 yards per outing. On defense the Owls have not done much to improve from a year ago. Most disappointing is the inability of the FAU defense to limit the opponent's run game. That is not a good sign going up against USF. The Bulls are 22nd nationally in rushing yards per game and mobile QB B.J. Daniels will look to expose the Owls' defense. On a positive note for FAU, Daniels is streaky and he is prone to make poor decisions and turn the ball over. Florida Atlantic needs to win the turnover battle in order to keep this game close. While I do think the Owls will come out with something to prove after a poor performance last week, I do not think that they will have enough to take out the Bulls.
South Florida 31
Florida Atlantic 20
Also on tap this weekend are Florida International at Pittsburgh, Arkansas State at Louisville, Miami at Clemson, Oklahoma vs. Texas, Florida at Alabama and an interesting West Coast showdown between Stanford and Oregon.
For those heading to Tampa, be safe and enjoy the game.
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