Temple (3-5) @ Navy (5-3)
(Saturday, 2:30 pm, CBS College Sports)
If you’re looking for a good old fashioned smashmouth football game this weekend, you should probably tune in to CBS College Sports at about 2:30 this weekend. Navy will roll out their triple option attack and try to penetrate the solid Temple defense. To give you an idea of how old fashioned this game could be, consider this: Navy didn’t thorw a single pass in their win over SMU a week ago. With quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada back in the fold, they’ll have at least the threat of a play action pass, but you can still bet on the ball staying on the ground more often than not. That is a direct challenge to a surprisingly stout Temple defense. The veteran Owls, led by Junior Galette, have been terrorizing MAC foes of late. In their five conference games they have limited opponents to 66 rushing yards (2.0 yards per carry!), and 16.2 points per game – not too shabby. But I don’t think Temple has enough offense to pull out a victory.
J.Pike’s Pick: Navy 17, Temple 10
UAB (2-6) @ Southern Miss (2-6)
(Saturday, 7 pm)
Sure, these two teams only have four wins between them this year. But there will be enough young talent on the field that you should pay attention anyway because both of these programs are capable of taking a big step forward in Conference USA next year. New Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora has a good offensive mind, and he’s got some weapons at his disposal. Junior running back headlines the attack with 969 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. But freshman wide receiver DeAndre Brown is the player that has Golden Eagle fans excited. At 6-foot-5, Brown is piling up touchdowns at an alarming rate (9 so far) thanks to the mismatches he creates in the red zone. But the Blazers possess possibly the most exciting player you’ve never heard of in junior quarterback Joe Webb. Webb is an excellent athlete that is improving his passing every week. He has the numbers (1,726 yards, 8 td passing; 723 yards 7 td rushing) that will put him in the running for the Faulk Trophy next season if he gets a little more help around him. Look for this game to be close at halftime, but Southern Miss will pull away in the second half as UAB has consistently played poorly after halftime this season.
J.Pike’s Pick: Southern Miss 31, UAB 20
Rice (5-3) @ UTEP (3-4)
(Saturday, 8:05 pm)
I’m not sure why this game isn’t on television because it should be the highest scoring game of the weekend hands down. Rice won last year’s meeting despite giving up 48 points. This year both teams will be without top defensive players this week due to injury, so the Owls might need to score more than 56 this time around to secure the W. Oh yeah, I should also mention that Rice is allowing 36.5 points per game, and last week UTEP gave up 77 points and 791 yards to Tulsa! Each quarterback should have a field day Saturday night. Euless Trinity alum Trevor Vittatoe paces the Miners with his excellent 16-4 TD/INT ratio. Chase Clement is like a mini-Colt McCoy (2,360 yards, 24 td passing; 402 yards, 7 td rushing) and has positioned himself as a serious underdog candidate for the Faulk Trophy. I’ll give the slight edge to Rice here because although they don’t have as much talent as UTEP does on paper, they have played more consistently up to this point.
J.Pike’s Pick: Rice 63, UTEP 51