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Bailey's Take on C-USA
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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 30, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

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Big Weekend for the Conference

©2001 Bonesville.net

Itís the first big weekend for college football, and itís a critical, early season chance for Conference USA to grab the media spotlight. Without a team in most Top 25 polls, the league needs to make some noise in non-conference play.

Youíd better check your calendar thoroughly, though, to make sure you don't miss one of the C-USA teams in action on this long holiday weekend. The league has games set for Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

UAB-Montana State

UAB kicked off the Labor Day weekend Thursday night in a match-up against Montana State. The Bobcats, members of the Big Sky Conference, went into the game riding a 17-game losing streak.

The Blazers extended that streak to 18 with a 41-13 win, blowing the game open with a 17-point third quarter after leading only 17-10 at halftime.

Memphis-Mississippi State

Both Memphis and Tulane take on nationally ranked opponents this week.

The Tigers head to Starkville to take on 19th-ranked Mississippi State on Labor Day Monday. Tommy West would dearly love to win his first ever game as the coach at Memphis. The Bulldogs, members of the SEC, have won the last seven in the series and are a 17-point favorite to extend the string to eight.

Tulane-LSU

The good news for Tulane is that the Green Wave scored 35 points against BYU last week. The bad news is that the Wave gave up 70 points in the loss.

Tulane was absolutely awful on defense against BYU. It probably wonít be any better this week against 14th-ranked LSU.

The SEC Tigers, though, have struggled against C-USA opponents over the last two years at home. LSU lost to UAB last year and to Houston in 1999. LSU has won the last 13 games in this long-running in-state series.

Cincinnati-Purdue

Cincinnati has a tough opener, hosting Purdue. The Boilermakers arenít ranked, but they are the defending Big Ten champions.

Cincinnati upset then No. 9 Wisconsin from the Big Ten early in the 1999 season. Last year, the Bearcats lost to the Badgers in overtime. This year, the Bearcats are taking on the Boilermakers in a very rare, Sunday afternoon contest.

Houston-Rice

Houston is picked near the bottom of the C-USA standings, but the Cougars have a great chance at a win this week, hosting cross-town rival Rice, a member of the WAC.

Both teams are former members of the defunct Southwest Conference. In fact, this was the season finale for both teams for a number of years in that league. The Owls beat Houston in overtime last season.

Texas Christian-North Texas

Also from the southwest, Texas Christian, a former member of both the SWC and the WAC, visits North Texas. For the Horned Frogs, itís only about a 30-mile trip for the game to Denton, Texas.

TCU is a brand new member of Conference USA, while North Texas is making its debut in the Sun Belt Conference.

Louisville-Kentucky

For Louisville, itís the Battle of the Commonwealth as the Cardinals meet Kentucky in Lexington. Expect lots of points in this one, as the Cards go for their third straight victory in the series.

Dave Ragone made his debut in last yearís Kentucky game. Ragone looked good in the Cards' 2001 opener last week, but the rest of the offense sputtered against New Mexico State in U of L's unimpressive win.

Southern Mississippi-Oklahoma State

Southern Miss is favored to win this week, hosting Oklahoma State.  The Golden Eagles won last yearís game between these two teams, their first ever victory over a Big 12 opponent.


Pirates Ready for Wake Forest

I had a chance to see the last part of practice on Wednesday night. I like the quiet confidence that I see out of David Garrard and Pernell Griffin. The Pirates are very fortunate to have two outstanding talents in two critical positions.

Word out of Pirate camp is that the Pirates may be explosive on special teams. Marvin Townes is apparently showing his incredible speed at practice on a daily basis. Look for Townes to make a difference on Saturday night.

Greenville is buzzing with excitement in anticipation of Saturday nightís opener. The weather, however, may offer reasons for the Pirate faithful to pack their ponchos -- just in case.

According to our meteorologists, there is a good chance of a couple of bands of thunderstorms coming through the area on Saturday. Late word, though, is that the front might move through before the late afternoon.

Letís hope the the late word from our weathermen is on target, because we donít get very many football Saturdays this season!


Brian Bailey's Conference USA Power Rankings

  1. East Carolina Pirates move up, as we anticipate a big win this weekend.

  2. Louisville Cards will be tested at Kentucky.

  3. Southern Miss Golden Eagles look to open with a win this week.

  4. TCU Horned Frogs move up after looking good in the Nebraska loss.

  5. UAB Blazers should have little trouble with Montana State.

  6. Cincinnati If Bearcats pull an upset this week, then they move to the upper division.

  7. Memphis Will have tough time at Mississippi State.

  8. Army Doesnít play until September 8th vs. Cincinnati.

  9. Houston... Cougars looking for some Southwest magic this week.

  10. Tulane Donít look now, but BYU just scored again! Give up 70, and you've go to the back of the pack.

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

02/23/2007 01:19:26 AM
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