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Conference USA Week 1 Game Previews & Fearless Predictions


It’s not the prettiest of weeks for Conference USA games, but there are a few dates with Power 5 types to make a statement. Check out the fearless predictions and game previews for all the Week 1 Conference USA games.


Conference USA Week 1 Game Previews & Predictions

Conference USA Game of the Week

Thursday, September 1

Rice at WKU Fearless Prediction & Game Preview
8:00 PM, CBSSN, L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY

Charlotte at Louisville

7:00 PM, ESPN3, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY

Louisville won’t be messing around with bigger fish to fry coming soon, and if this is really the team it’s supposed to be this year, it shouldn’t have much of a problem with a Charlotte team that won’t have the punch to keep up once the offenses start rolling.

The 49ers will have their moments on the ground, but the passing attack won’t go anywhere with the Cardinals cranking up the defensive pressure from the first drive. Charlotte won’t be able to do nearly enough defensively without a pass rush of its own, and after few early stops, the floodgates will open.

The Cardinals will make the statement that they’re ready to make huge splash – at least they’ll look that way to open things up.

Line: Louisville -39.5, o/u: 61
Fearless Prediction: Louisville 51, Charlotte 17
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Indiana at FIU

7:30 PM, ESPNU, FIU Stadium, Miami, FL

Will being at home help FIU? With gametime temperature likely around 90 and with thunderstorms threatening, it’s going to be a hot, muggy night that should wear on both teams. In Indiana’s perfect world, it hits on a few big early plays to get this over with. It might take a little long than it’ll want.

The Golden Panther secondary won’t be able to keep up with the Hoosier passing game, but it’ll be RB Devine Redding and the IU ground attack that’ll take over and open things up.

FIU’s offensive front will have its moments paving the way to a few good scoring drive, but the Hoosiers will rise up in the third to take control. They’ll need to in what’ll be a war of attrition in the swampy conditions.

Fearless Prediction: Indiana 38, Florida International 20
Line: Indiana -9.5, o/u: 61
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 3
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2.5

Saturday, September 3

Louisiana Tech at Arkansas

4:00 PM, SECN Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR

How much work to the Bulldogs have to do? They’ve got a few good offensive weapons, and the defense will be breaking in some new parts, but the spotlight will be on an offensive backfield that needs to be able to score every time it gets a chance – there might not be too many scoring shots.

Arkansas will try to get the passing game going again next year, but it’s going to start out the season by blasting away with the ground attack on the Louisiana Tech defensive front that’ll have a rough time holding up for a full sixty minutes. The Hogs will own the time of possession battle, crank up the offensive line, and won’t have a problem taking control early and grind out the game.

Fearless Prediction: Arkansas 37, Louisiana Tech 17
Line: Arkansas -26, o/u: 53.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2.5

Hampton at Old Dominion

6:00 PM, CUSA.tv, S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA

Can the Pirate defense hold down the veteran Old Dominion offense? The Monarchs have to get off to a hot start with road games at Appalachian State and NC State coming up, and they shouldn’t have too many problems with their new up-tempo attack cranking up the option with QB David Washington back from a knee injury and ready to rumble.

But the Monarchs need their star healthy for the season and should play several options under center throughout the game. Even against a strong Pirate run D, ODU shouldn’t have too many problems getting up early and getting the backups some meaningful work.

Fearless Prediction: Old Dominion 45, Hampton 16
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

Southern Illinois at Florida Atlantic

6:00 PM, CUSA.tv, FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL

Can this be the stepping stone for a Florida Atlantic team that needs to gear up for road games at Miami and Kansas State? It’ll be a good test against a Saluki team with a high-powered offense, and no defense whatsoever.

SIU should have another dominant attack with a high-end passing game and an offense coming off a 500-yard-a-game season. Fortunately for the Owls, their strength coming into the season should be a solid secondary with enough experience and talent to keep the Salukis under wraps just enough to survive.

Last year, SIU opened up the season nearly beating Indiana brutally painful loss, and ended up losing six games by seven points or fewer. It’ll be a fight for the Owls, but they’re going to be mostly susceptible to good ground games. SIU won’t bring that.

Fearless Prediction: Florida Atlantic 41, Southern Illinois 37
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Alabama A&M at Middle Tennessee

7:00 PM, Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN

This will get ugly in a big hurry.

The Blue Raiders should be able to throw the ball at will, and Alabama A&M will almost certainly not do much of anything to stop them.

The Bulldogs won’t have the secondary to come up with enough third down stops to prevent Brent Stockstill and the Middle Tennessee offense from going on scoring drive after scoring drive, and they won’t have the offense to do much more than come up with a few late cosmetic scores.

The Blue Raiders will be able to call their shot, getting the shootout and tune-up they need before going to Vanderbilt.

Fearless Prediction: Middle Tennessee 50, Alabama A&M 13
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1

Alabama State at UTSA

7:00 PM, Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

The Hornets of Alabama State should have a decent passing game and just enough toughness on the defensive front to keep this from getting out of hand. However, UTSA should be able to run well and get a good first win for new head coach Frank Wilson as he tries to turn the program into a factor.

It’s going to take a while.

The Roadrunners might need a minor miracle to get a second win before the end of the season game against Charlotte, but for one week the offense will work, the defensive front will look like Alabama for stretches, and UTSA will get to look solid.

Fearless Prediction: UTSA 37, Alabama State 16
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

SMU at North Texas

7:00 PM, Mean Green Stadium, Denton, TX

It’s a new world for North Texas with Seth Littrell taking over the coaching reins, but it’s going to take a while before the program starts to make a little noise again.

It’s taken a long, long time for SMU to get back among the living, and it’s still not quite there yet. This game should be a decent step forward for the winner – and it’ll be one of the few victories this season.

As bad as last year was for SMU, it still whacked around UNT 31-13 against an offense that couldn’t get anything moving. This year’s Mean Green team will try speeding things up a little bit, and there will be a decided difference in how the team looks, but the defense won’t be able to slow down the Mustangs enough to get over the hump in the fourth quarter. UNT will have its chances, and it won’t be able to go on the scoring drive needed.

Line: SMU -9.5
Final Score: SMU 37, North Texas 27
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Southern Miss at Kentucky

7:30 PM, ESPNU Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY

The desperation will be there for Kentucky right out of the box.

Southern Miss should be deep in the hunt for the Conference USA title, and it should come up with a great year under new head coach Jay Hopson, but UK isn’t going to win the SEC championship – or come all that close – with a season judged on whether or not it gets to a bowl game. That probably won’t happen without a win over USM.

The Golden Eagles have a big-time offense that’ll give the Wildcats a slew of problems and keep the pressure on all game long, but the defense won’t be able to handle the Kentucky offensive speed.

Each team will go on long scoring drives and have moments to potentially take over, but it’ll be the Wildcats that get the job done in the second half with one key defensive stop, and another great answer for a Golden Eagle score, to breathe easier late.

Fearless Prediction: Kentucky 41, Southern Miss 27
Line: Kentucky -6.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 3
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 3

New Mexico State at UTEP

8:00 PM, beIn Sports, Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX

Can UTEP beat the team from down the road in a key matchup it has to win if it has any hope of going bowling?

The Miners shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting the offense rolling against a New Mexico State defense that’s not going to be there. The Aggies have a high-octane attack that should be able to throw at will to help keep up the pace in a shootout, and the UTEP defense will have a problem keeping NMSU star RB Larry Rose III from taking off and doing too much, but the offense will do whatever it wants to.

It’ll be a fun game to watch with lots of big plays and moments, and a Miner win.

Fearless Prediction: UTEP 37, New Mexico State 31
Line: UTEP -9.5, o/u: 60.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2.5