Western Michigan @ Central Michigan
Is this the battle that will decide the best team in Michigan? Not quite – the Spartans at Michigan State might have something to say about it. But both of these teams are probably better than Michigan right now. Each team is led by their outstanding quarterback – Tim Hiller for Western and Dan LeFevour for Central. Hiller is a really good pocket passer, while LeFevour is more in the Tim Tebow mold. The winner of this game will end up challenging Ball State for the MAC West division crown. I’ll give the Chippewas a slight edge since they are at home, but this should be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend.
J.Pike’s Pick: Central Michigan 36, Western Michigan 34
Southern Miss @ Rice
This matchup between two of the better teams in Conference USA will feature an impressive amount of skill position talent. Rice boasts arguably the best quarterback in the league (Chase Clement) and one of the most underrated wide receivers in the nation (Jarrett Dillard). Clement is a small college version of Chase Daniel – he’s small, but quick and efficient. He powers a potent passing game that also features rising star tight end James Casey, who has already caught 54 passes this season. Southern Miss features the best running back in the league (Damion Fletcher), the best freshman receiver in the league (DeAndre Brown), and one of the best pass catching tight ends in the nation (Shawn Nelson). That’s a lot of athleticism going up against two teams that put defense on the backburner - a shootout is imminent. Rice has the advantage with a more experienced team so the Owls should come out on top.
J.Pike’s Pick: Rice 37, Southern Miss 31
Arkansas State @ Louisiana-Lafayette
Arkansas State has slowed down after their scorching start. After a win over Texas A&M early, they have cooled off to 4-2 with recent losses to Memphis and Southern Miss. The Ragin’ Cajuns on the other hand are just getting heated up. Their running game ranks tops in the land and running back Tyrell Fenroy (842 rushing yards) and quarterback Michael Desormeaux (708 rushing yards) are starting to really run wild. Give UL-Lafayette the edge as they are on a roll and playing in front of the home folks.
J.Pike’s Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette 34, Arkansas State 26
Air Force @ UNLV
UNLV looked like they might be a surprise team in the Mountain West after their early season win over nationally ranked Arizona State. But it turns out ASU might not be very good this year and the Mountain West is better than anybody expected (other than my partner, B.Pike – he knew what was brewing out west). Air Force is once again one of the most efficient teams in the nation. They’ll make UNLV pay for every mistake they make, and fight for yet another victory over a more talented opponent.
J.Pike’s Pick: Air Force 26, UNLV 20