By Lucas Owens
The American last week was full and action packed, and I would like to say the same about this week, but alas, there are only seven games this week and only one in-conference. The teams that are playing this week have some interesting matchups, including a Thursday night slugfest between in-conference foes Houston and Tulane, SMU facing off against metro area rival TCU and UCF playing a Pittsburgh team which almost beat Penn State just a week ago. The American action gets started Thursday, and the preview starts now.
Houston @ Tulane (-5)
Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA. Thursday, September 19 at 7:00 PM CST
Houston’s season has not exactly gotten off to the best start. To be fair, when you play both Oklahoma and Washington State as two of your first three matchups, it rarely does. On the other side, Tulane enters off a dominant win over Missouri State and a good defensive performance in their loss to Auburn. This game is proving to be a must-watch as the only college football game Thursday night, and viewers will not be disappointed. For one, Tulane will be wearing some amazing Hulla blue uniforms. QB Justin McMillan also enters as both the rushing leader and passing leader for the Green Wave and looks to again face a very tough defense in Houston. The Houston Cougars will also be looking to bounce back on the defensive side of the ball after having to deal with Wazzu’s high flying offense last week. All things considered, this one is going to be a hell of a time on Thursday night.
Prediction: Houston (21) – Tulane (17)
UCONN (+27) @ Indiana
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN. Saturday, September 21 at 11:00 AM CST
UCONN enters this game off their bye week and as heavy underdogs. To be honest, I see why. The Huskies lost against Illinois and only beat Wagner by three points in week 1. Indiana does not come in much better, as they recently got blown out at home by Ohio State. However, Indiana has looked much better overall than UCONN and has done well with all of their non-Ohio State opponents this year, so I would definitely choose the Hoosiers over the Huskies
Prediction: UCONN (17) – Indiana (42)
#15 UCF (-12.5) @ Pittsburgh
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA. Saturday, September 21 at 2:30 PM CST
UCF had a stronger week 3 performance against Stanford than most expected, and QB Dillon Gabriel has been the shining star of their offense for a while now. Pittsburgh comes in off a close loss against Penn State and looking to rebound from their 1-2 start. The Panthers, believe it or not, won the ACC Coastal last year, so it would be very surprising in a weird way to see them fall to 1-3 to start out the year. Pittsburgh has not had exactly a cake walk of a schedule, and hopefully things start to go better for them as they get more into conference play, but I do not see that happening against UCF’s high-flying offense.
Prediction: UCF (42) – Pittsburgh (28)
SMU (+9.5) @ #25 TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX. Saturday, September 21 at 2:30 PM CST
The Mustangs and the Horned Frogs continue their rivalry under the sweltering Texas sun this weekend. SMU has looked strong behind QB Shane Buchele, and TCU QB Max Duggan has not faced a huge test yet this year. The problem for SMU will be TCU’s sweltering defense, which held Purdue to 13 and Arkansas Pine Bluff to 7. To win this one, SMU will have to come out strong and get out to an early lead so TCU cannot just hide behind their run game and force their defense to make stops. Buchele should look to not throw any interceptions, as he already has three this year, and move the ball down the field steadily. The Mustangs have a good chance to upset TCU and win this game, but their task will be mightily difficult.
Prediction: SMU (24) – TCU (21)
Tulsa (-3) v Wyoming
Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Ok. Saturday, September 21 at 2:30 CST
Tulsa had a tough one last week against the superior offense of Oklahoma State, so this game against Wyoming should be a welcome reprieve. Outside of Mizzou, Wyoming has not played anybody nearly as tough as Tulsa, and the game against Mizzou was up in Laramie at an insane elevation. Tulsa should have no problem with that being in Oklahoma and their offense should be in full swing. The big question is how the Golden Hurricane’s defense performs, as Wyoming QB Sean Chambers has just 245 yards passing over three games. This game, I believe, will come down to Tulsa’s pass defense, and I think the Golden Hurricane will succeed in that department.
Prediction: Tulsa (31) – Wyoming (23)
Temple (-13.5) @ Buffalo
UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY. Saturday, September 21 at 2:30 CST
Temple pulled off a great upset against Maryland, and things look to be easier this week when they travel up to New York to face Buffalo. Anthony Russo should have a field day passing against the Bulls defense, and I would look for Jadan Blue to have a fantastic performance with Buffalo’s secondary. Temple’s defense should be even more impressive, as they have allowed a magnificent 14.5 points and 275 yards per game. Buffalo, on the other hand, is coming off a rough game against Liberty, and look to be going the wrong direction before MAC play.
Prediction: Temple (35) – Buffalo (14)
ECU (No Line) v William and Mary
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC. Saturday, September 21 at 5:00 PM CST
So, ECU did not start off conference play that great. However, I believe that says more about how solid Navy is than how bad the ECU defense is. It does indeed show a lot about their offense however, namely that they have struggled against good defenses and still need to improve. Like their game against Gardnerr-Webb, I would look for QB Holton Ahlers to keep improving and ECU’s offense to have a good day against the Tribe’s defense.
Prediction: ECU (42) – William and Mary (14)
Americ6n Game of the Week: Houston @ Tulane
This Thursday night matchup looks to be a good one and will get a lot of spotlight being the only college game on Thursday. Both defenses should be on full tilt, and QB Justin McMillan has a good chance to have a great game against a great defense.
Thank you for checking out this article, and make sure to check out the recap on Monday!
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org