The Pregame Warm-Up Podcast: Legends & Leaders, Coaching Carousel part 2 and Bowls.


This week we poke fun at the Big Ten’s division names and new logo, trying to figure out why they did it.  We discuss more changes in the coaching ranks and  talk about a few of the upcoming bowl games, including the Letdown Bowl, which features Boise State and Utah.  I’m joined this week, as always, by Michael Felder from InTheBleachers.net and Jon Dove from NFLMocks.com.

Here is the Will Muschamp press conference:

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Conference USA Report: Week 8


Last week gave us some big time wins and heartbreaking losses in the Conference USA. 

East Carolina had a big win against the more talented NC State Wolfpack, 33-27 in OT.  The Pirates missed a field goal in OT, but sealed the win when true freshman safety Damon Magazu intercepted a Russell Wilson pass at the goaline. 

The Rice Owls jumped out to a huge lead on the Houston Cougars, leading 27-7 at one point.  Then the Cougs woke up and even took a 31-27 lead late in the 4th quarter.  That lead wouldn’t last as Rice QB Nick Fanuzzi hit Vance McDonald for the go ahead TD, Rice won 34-31.

The Southern Methodist Mustangs traveled to Annapolis for a showdown with the Navy Midshipmen.  SMU started off the game hot, leading 14-0 at halftime.  Kyle Padron was throwing and even running the football at will and the Mustang D was looking good.  Then the 3rd quarter started and it was a different story.  Three unanswered scores for Navy made it 21-14 in the 4th, until Kyle Padron threw his 3rd TD of the game.  The Midshipmen would strike back taking a 28-21 lead late in the 4th, but the Mustangs had a shot.  The game ended with an SMU Hook ‘n Ladder attempt.  Navy wins 28-21.  The game changed on 2 Padron turnovers, a fumble and INT, both converted into TD’s by Navy.

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 24: Fans of the SMU Mustangs wave a flag during play against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 24, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

UAB pulled off a huge upset over the UTEP MIners, 21-6.  The Miners couldn’t do anything on the offensive side of the ball, while the Blazers did what they wanted on offense after halftime.  UTEP led 6-0, until the Blazers went on a scoring spree late in the 2nd half.  UAB QB Bryan Ellis threw for 272 yards and 3 TD’s.

Ranking the C-USA

1.  East Carolina Pirates They pulled off a huge win over NC State, now they get a little easier test when Marshall comes to Greenville.

2. Southern Miss Golden Eagles They get to the bye week after beating down Memphis.  UAB comes to town Oct 30.

3. SMU Mustangs How will they respond after the tough loss to Navy?  A win at home against Houston would push them to 4-0 in CUSA, that would help them get over it.

4. UCF Knights I continue to be impressed by the Knights defense.  They get a tough Rice team at home this week in what should be a good game.

5. Houston Cougars David Piland isn’t Case Keenum, but he filled in well last week.  If the Cougars can get Beall going on the ground, they have a good shot against SMU.

6. Tulsa Golden Hurricane The Golden Hurricane got back to their offensive ways against Tulane, and head into the bye week fresh off a win.  They head to Notre Dame on Oct 30 for a huge road game with the Fighting Irish.

7. UTEP Miners  After a tough loss to UAB, the Miners should put one in the W column this week when Tulane rolls into town.

8. UAB Blazers I hope the Blazers took time to enjoy their win over UTEP, because they travel to Mississippi St this week .  It won’t be pretty.

9. Rice Owls After the big win over Houston last week, they head to UCF for a battle with the Knights. 

10. Tulane Green Wave Tulane is a team I wouldn’t want to play if I were a contender.  They will always battle, regardless of the score.  They just need more talent on their roster.

11. Marshall Thundering Herd  They were over matched last week against UCF and I see more of the same this week when they travel to ECU.

12. Memphis Tigers This team needed a bye after getting destroyed the past few weeks.

April 17, 2010: DE Bruce Miller (49) during University of Central Florida Spring Game at the Bright House Network Stadium in Orlando, Fl.

Week 8 Picks

Rice @ UCF

The UCF defense should control this game like they have throughout the season.  Rice has some nice weapons in QB Nick Fanuzzi, RB Sam McGuffie and a handful of good WR.  The story of this game might be the season ending knee injury to UCF QB Rob Calabrese.  Jeff Godfrey will be the lone QB in the Knights QB rotation.  I still like the Knights to win 27-7.

Houston @ SMU

This game is going to fun to watch.  Offense will be king as the Mustangs and Cougars can score the ball in bunches.  The key to this game will be Cougs running backs Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes.  Get these 2 going and Houston has a great shot to win.  I’ll take my chances with the Mustangs though, 34-28.

Marshall @ ECU

ECU should dominate this game from start to finish.  The Pirates QB Dominique Davis had an enormous game last week and I expect more of the same.  He has been fun to watch this season.  ECU wins big, 40-17.

UAB @ Mississippi St

Miss State is going to roll in this game.  They are just too much for the Blazers to handle.  Miss State wins 52-10.

Tulane @ UTEP

I like UTEP to get back on track in this West division battle.  UTEP wins 31-20.

Written by Jason Madson.  Follow him on Twitter @isbnJMAD.

Around C-USA Week 6


Tulane traveled into New Jersey as a team that hadn’t won a road game since early last season, and left with a huge upset win.  I know Rutgers hasn’t been a force this season, but Tulane has been far from it.  The rest of the Conference played out as many expected it to.  SMU and Tulsa continue to put up points in bunches, Southern Miss looks like a dominant contender for the league title and North Carolina beat the Pirates of ECU soundly.  Lets take a look at some of last weeks Top Performances.

Week 5 Top Performances

Tulsa QB GJ Kinne continues his dual threat dominance.  He threw for 214 yards and 2 scores, while gaining another 34 yards on the ground and 1 TD.  He has really taken to the hurry up, no huddle offense this season.

The trio at SMU consisting of QB Kyle Padron and WR’s Cole Beasley and Aldrick Robinson had a monster game.  Padron threw for 371 yards and 3 scores, with a 75 % complection percentage.  He is good!  Beasley and Robinson combined for 14 receptions 306 receiving yards and 2 scores.  In this same game, Owls running back Sam McGuffie also had a pretty good day with 96 rushing yards and 45 yards receiving.

Austin Davis didn’t really fill up the stat book on Saturday for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, but the QB did have 4 total TD.  He threw for 1 score and rushed for 3 more in the blowout victory over Marshall.

Conference USA Top to Bottom

  1. 1. Southern Miss (4-1)  I know they played Marshall, but they looked like the best team.
  2. 2. East Carolina (2-2)  Had to drop them off the top after the blowout loss.
  3. 3. Houston (3-1)  If they can keep the pressure off Broadway with the running game, they should be fine.
  4. 4. SMU (3-2)  Offense is king here, and they have the weapons to compete.
  5. 5. UTEP (4-1)  Trevor Vittatoe continues to lead this team to wins.
  6. 6. UCF (2-2) After the tough loss to KState and a bye week, how will they respond?
  7. 7. Tulsa (3-2) GJ Kinne is the real deal, but can they stop anybody on Defense?
  8. 8. Rice (1-4)  We saw a glimpse of the potential offered by Sam McGuffie, will it continue?
  9. 9. UAB (1-3) UAB has found a QB mix that works, UCF should be a good match up.
  10. 10. Marshall (1-4) The bye week came at a good time for the struggling Herd.
  11. 11. Memphis (1-4)  Heading to Lousville isn’t the best situation for the Tigers right now, especially after losing their starting QB to a concussion.

Week 6 Matchups and Picks

UAB @ UCF   Both teams will be using 2 quarterbacks in different fashions for tonight’s game, does that mean neither team has one?  I like the way the UCF defense has been playing, so I will take the Knights 27-10.

Memphis @ Louisville   Memphis just needs to hope they get some lucky bounces in this game.  The young Cardinals have more talent than do the Tigers, but experience is lacking.  I like the Cardinals at home 33-17

East Carolina @ Southern Miss  This is one game that every football fan should watch, or atleast DVR and watch later.  The top 2 teams in the East Division square off in what should decide the divisions champ.  This game is going to feature the 14th ranked ECU passing attack and the 16th ranked Southern Miss Defense.  Defense will prevail in the Golden Eagles Homecoming game, SoMiss wins 22-20.

Mississippi State @ Houston  Houston gets a big time test to come to their house on Saturday, and I don’t like their chances.  It’s not a CUSA game, so a loss won’t kill them.  I think the Bulldogs will be the more physical team and take this game from the Cougars easily.  I like Miss St, 28-17.

Army @ Tulane Army lost a tough game to Temple last week, but have been pefrect on the road so far this season.  Tulane is coming off a huge upset victory over Rutgers.  I like the Army option attack lead by QB Trent Steelman, who had a hand in all 5 Black Knight TD’s last week.  The Black Knights should take this game, 30-21.

Tulsa @ SMU   This game is going to be a good one, with 2 of the top QB’s in the C-USA with GJ Kinne and Kyle Padron.  Watch the scoreboard light up in this game, as I like SMU to take it 41-34.

Rice @ UTEP   UTEP should take this game easily at home, Rice just doesn’t have to firepower to keep up with Trevor Vittatoe and company.  I’ll take the Miners, 31-23.

Written by Jason Madson @isbnJMAD on Twitter

Around C-USA:


 

Oh so close. Three near misses that would have been big wins for each program and the conference.

It started Friday night with SMU falling to TCU 41-24 in Dallas. But for at least 2 ½ quarters the game was much closer then the final score might indicate and SMU actually held a l7-14 lead in the 3rd quarter. But #4 TCU responded with 3 straight td’s to take a 35-17 lead on their way to the 41-24 final. Not many people were giving UAB much of a chance when they ventured to Knoxville to take on Tennessee. They left with what has to be a dose of confidence after taking the Vol’s to double OT before falling 31-29.

One week after their Hail Mary win comeback win over Troy the UAB QB duo of Bryan Ellis and David Isabelle almost led the Blazers to another stunner. Ellis completed 29 of 55 for 373 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Isabelle ran 16 times for 73 yards and completed 4 of 5 for 56 yards and a touchdown. Ellis hit Pat Shed on a 14-yard pass to pick up a first down in the second overtime but his 7-yard pass to Patrick Hearn came up 4 yards short of the end zone, and Josh Zahn scored on a 21-yard field goal to put UAB up 29-26 before Matt Simms threw a 25-yard touchdown to Denarius Moore on Tennessee’s first play of double-overtime for the game winning td.

UCF battled thru two rain/lightning delays of 86 and 75 minutes and led the game for 59 minutes and 36 seconds before Carson Coffman ran in from seven yards out with twenty-four seconds remaining for the KSU winning score. UCF missed two field goals and had to settle for three points on two other deep drives, allowing Kansas State (4-0) to stay within striking distance. And when the Wildcats drove the length of the field and scored in the final minute, it left the Knights (2-2) with an empty feeling.

Even with the devastating loss of QB Case Keenum, Houston still has some potent offensive weapons as they demonstrated in their 42-23 win over Tulane. Bryce Beall rushed for 123 yards and a career-high four touchdowns as Houston held off a Tulane rally 42-23, Saturday. The Cougars (3-1, 2-0 C-USA) jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, but Tulane pulled within five, 28-23, in the fourth quarter before Beall put it away with his fourth touchdown, a 25-yard run with 3:58 remaining in the game. Freshmen Terrance Broadway, who was making his first career start finished 19 of 28 for 174 yards and one interception

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 17:  Bryce Beall #25 of the Houston Cougars is tackled by Chinonso Echebelem #24 of the Tulane Green Wave at the Louisiana Superdome on October 17, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

One week after their big home win over Kansas, Southern Miss had to hold on for dear life at the end to preserve a 13-12 win over Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La. The Golden Eagles (3-1) led 13-3 in the fourth quarter and appeared on their way to victory against a Bulldogs offense that struggled until late. Deron Wilson picked off Louisiana Tech quarterback Tarik Hakmi at the Southern Miss 20-yard line with 2:31 left on the clock to seal the win. Austin Davis threw for 233 yards and one score for Southern Miss.

Sophomore RB Zach Line is averaging 7.8 yards per carry for SMU and has 53 carries for 415 yards on the season.

Houston and East Carolina both ran in the national top 10 in scoring offense. Houston is seventh with their average ppg of 44.3 and the Pirates check in at number nine with 42.3

Tulsa is 9th in passing offense averaging 310 yards per game and 5th in total offense at 523 total yards per game.

UAB is tied for tenth nationally in sacks with 12 team sacks

Best team win week 2:

Marshall survived a two point conversion attempt by Ohio with no time left on the clock to pick up their first win of the season. Ohio’s Boo Jackson connected with Terrence McCrae on a 36-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 24-23 with no time left. The Bobcats elected to go for the two-point conversion, but Jackson’s pass sailed through the back of the end zone to secure Marshall’s win.

Worst team loss week 2:

The UCF win at Kansas State would have been considered an upset nationally but it was still a heart breaking loss for the Knights. A loss they have to feel they let slip thru their grasp. UCF missed two field goals and had to settle for field goals on two other golden TD scoring opportunities. In addition, the winning KSU TD actually came on a busted play shovel pass.

C-USA Power rankings:

  1. East Carolina (2-1) – Still number one after a bye week.
  2. Southern Miss (3-1) – Dodged a bullet at Louisiana Tech.
  3. UCF (2-2) – Time to move past the tough loss and focus on the C-USA race.
  4. Houston (3-1) – Maybe not all is lost for this team.
  5. SMU (2-2) – Looked good for 2 ½ quarters vs TCU.
  6. Tulsa (2-2)– Got rid of some of the bad taste with a win over an overmatched opponent.
  7. UTEP (3-1) – Held server at home vs Memphis. Barely
  8. Memphis (1-3) – Tough loss at UTEP.
  9. UAB (1-3) – Almost pulled off the stunner in Knoxville.
  10. Rice (1-3) – Would have hoped for better showing at home vs Baylor
  11. Marshall (1-3) –  First win under their belts by the skin of their teeth.
  12. Tulane (1-2) – Couldn’t get past the Houston without Keenum.

Blind Squirrel’s C-USA picks for this week

Last week’s pick’s record (9-0) (17-3 overall)

Tulane at Rutgers: Another road game for Tulane that doesn’t look like a good match-up on paper. Will the QB change that seemed to spark Tulane vs Houston help?                                  My pick: Rutgers 27 – Tulane 17

East Carolina at North Carolina: The Pirates have taken to the new offensive system quickly with their only loss at Virginia Tech. UNC has played a brutal early schedule with losses to LSU and Georgia Tech. My pick: East Carolina 31 – UNC 24

UTEP at New Mexico: To say that New Mexico is struggling is an understatement. They are 0-4 and have been outscored by and average of 56 to 10 on the season. UNM has played a tougher schedule and they are playing at home. My pick: UTEP 31 – UNM 27

SMU at Rice: Although they are 1-3 win only a win over North Texas, Rice hasn’t been blown out in any of the losses to Texas, Northwestern or Baylor. SMU is starting to click in the passing and rushing game. My pick: SMU 35 – Rice 21

Tulsa at Memphis: Memphis got their only win in their only previous home game vs Middle Tennessee. Can they keep pace with the Tulsa offense? Possibly, the Tulsa offense is potent but the Golden Hurrican defense has given upt a ton of points. My pick: Tulsa 42 – Memphis 28

Marshall at Southern Miss: Marshall goes back on the road after getting their first win last week over Ohio. Southern Miss is back home where they are very tough. The Golden Eagles need to be careful not to get caught looking ahead to October 9th matchup vs East Carolina.                          My pick: Southern Miss 31 – Marshall 17

Written by John Huber @Fort80 on Twitter