Conference play is upon us….sort of.
For most of the non-AQ schools out there they are still playing some non-conference games and that means a few more chances to bust some BCS schools down to size.
Last week we got the one school that could make the run—Fresno State. The Bulldogs won a wild game in Fresno, taking down Boise State and now Fresno State sits here heading into Week 5 of the season at No. 25 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
So rejoice you BCS Buster revelers!! Pop the corks….we have a horse to bet on in the game of BCS Busting!
On to the important stuff…..
Week 4 Results: 5-1
Fresno State was a good pick on my part, not only because I won, but because I was only 6 points off in total for this matchup, picking it as 44-37 and the final score was 41-40. In fact, it wasn't the only close one as I nearly nailed the Houston and Toledo wins as well.
Wyoming whopped Air Force bad (could the Air Forces defense actually be worse than Nebraska or Cal's?) and the most entertaining, but low scoring affair was nearly my biggest upset pick of the season as the might Utah State Aggies nearly pulled off the upset of the Men of Troy, falling 17-14 in a valiant fight.
Now that I'm done patting myself on the back about scores here, let me remind you of where I stand on my BCS busting picks for the season as well.
Season Record: 18-6
Week 5 Game of the Week:
Iowa State (0-2) at Tulsa (1-2); Thursday, 7:30pm ET on FoxSports1: Why are two teams with losing records in our "Game of the Week" here? Well, both of these teams need this game badly in order to jump-start their respective seasons.
Oh, and because this is the third game in just over a year between these two teams and the first two happened to be pretty fun matchups.
Oh, and because it will get prime time placement on a Thursday night.
It also helps that there are good questions on both teams that need to be answered. Can Iowa State be more than Sam Richardson, who won't be 100 percent healthy all season thanks to his ankle injury? If they can't this team is SCREWED.
There may not be a worse rushing football team in the country than this one without Richardson behind center, and he's the ISU quarterback.
Tulsa on the other hand hasn't handled a tough non-conference schedule all that well and will welcome a Big 12 team to town in the hopes of making up for two bad losses to Bowling Green and Oklahoma. They'll need Cody Green and Trey Watts to do more of what they did in the bowl game last season, where the Golden Hurricane ran for over 300 yards in the win.
If Sam Richardson is even close to 90 percent I expect Iowa State to win, but I won't be betting my house on it that's for sure.
Prediction: Tulsa 30, Iowa State 27
Rest of the Six-Pack:
East Carolina (2-1) at North Carolina (1-2): Saturday, 12:30pm ET on ESPN3
Just last week the Pirates nearly pulls off the upset of Virginia Tech at home and this week it's another ACC opponent, but this time it is a road game and a quarterback that can go toe-to-toe with Shane Cardin and Co.
North Carolina will counter with Bryn Renner and going into the season this should've been a lock for the Tar Heels, but Renner hasn't been steady, completing just 59.4 percent of his passes this season. The Tar Heels are a tough team to figure out as they've played two tough teams with bad results and then Middle Tennessee….With only one of those being a W and we'll let you figure that out.
East Carolina is a dangerous football team to get into a shoot out with and with Larry Fedora's offense in place it may just end up that way. Don't expect a repeat of last weekend's results here in terms of scoring. However, picking the upset this time around just isn't smart as ECU won't be at home. Give me the rams…errrr Tar Heels in this one.
Prediction: North Carolina 33, East Carolina 27
Tulane (2-2) at Louisiana-Monroe (2-2): Saturday, 7pm ET on ESPN3
These two teams are so hard to figure out. First you have ULM, who took down Wake Forest on the road yet has managed a combined seven points against the likes of Oklahoma and Baylor. Which version of the Warhawks will we see? Tulane has a Montana on their team, but Nick isn't his father and the Green Wave are an interesting team as well this season. I mean, this is a team that lost to South Alabama on the road and then went to La Tech and won.
What gives in this matchup? Well, for me it all comes down to which team can find a rhythm faster. It will be a fun QB matchup between Montana and Kolton Browning to say the least. Give me the home squad though.
Prediction: ULM 33, Tulane 20
Northern Illinois (3-0) at Purdue (1-2): Saturday, noon ET on ESPN2
NIU could reach BCS Buster status this weekend with a win over Purdue. Sure, the Boilermakers aren't a very good football team, but when you are a "non-AQ" school and you own two wins, ON THE ROAD, over a BCS school you're doing something right and voters will take notice.
Jordan Lynch has really quietly put up some awesome numbers, so much so that he's already over 1,000 total yards on the season. Look for him to pick apart a defense that hasn't been able to stop anyone all season long. After all, there is a reason NIU is a slight favorite in this one.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 40, Purdue 30
Toledo (2-2) at Ball State (3-1): Saturday, 3pm ET on ESPN3
This game is MASSIVE in the MAC and it we aren't even into October. The loser of this one goes behind the eight-ball big time and will have to wait until November to make another run at the West division title. Ball State doesn't have to play Ohio and Bowling Green out east, so this game is bigger for Toledo, who has a tougher road ahead.
Toledo QB Terrance Owens appears to be on the right track back after a sprained knee and his performance usually spurs the Rockets. However, they are going up against a Ball State defense that only gives up 24 points a game so far this season and appear to be a tough out. Will the Rockets' tough non-conference schedule do them good as conference play rolls around? That is the biggest question in this game.
Ball State won a narrow contest last year on the road in Toledo and I expect more of the same here as head coach Pete Lembo will have his crew ready once again. Along with Dave Clawson of Bowling Green there may not be two coaches who are more impressive given the talent on their teams.
Prediction: Ball State 30, Toledo 23
Utah State (2-2) at San Jose State (1-2), Friday 9pm ET on ESPN
This Mountain West matchup is huge for both teams after brutal defeats in vastly different ways to end non-conference play last weekend. Utah State nearly took down USC while San Jose State had a brutal day trying to stop Minnesota's run defense.
That is the difference in this game too as Chuckie Keeton and Co. average close to 300 yards through the air and 200 yards rushing and they happen to have easily the best defense in the Mountain West as well. Sure, San Jose State has a passing attack that can be very good with David Fales throwing the ball all over the place, but Utah State does so many things so well.
Prediction: Utah State 31, San Jose State 20