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September 1, 2004

C-USA should get off to a good start in week one (I predict 6-3 for the week) have an early opportunity to make noise this opening week of the college football season with two games against top 15 opponents West Virginia and Ohio State. Below are my predictions for the nine C-USA games scheduled for week one:

Thursday, September 2

Northwestern at TCU
TCU will get things rolling early and often when the Wildcats arrive in Fort Worth. The Horned Frog faithful will get to see the entire depth chart as this game will be out of reach before halftime. Brandon Hassell and Tye Gunn will each throw for over 100 yards and the running corps consisting of Lonta Hobbs and Robert Merrill will rush for over 200 yards.
Predicted score: Northwestern 10 TCU 45

Saturday, September 4

East Carolina at #11 West Virginia
The Pirates will play tough for a half, but the offense will struggle with the Mountaineer defense and cause the Pirate defensive unit to be on the field way too much. Art Brown will have some decent runs and show signs of returning to his old form, however, the defense will eventually run out of steam and give up big plays late. Linebacker stud Chris Moore will have more than twenty tackles.
Predicted score: East Carolina 13 West Virginia 38

Cincinnati at #9 Ohio State
This game will be close as it was last year, but the outcome will be the same as #9 Ohio State will outlast Gino Guidugli and his fellow Bearcats. Linebacker Jamar Enzor and company will keep the Buckeyes off balance and will score a defensive touchdown, but the home field advantage of the Buckeyes will allow the advantage they need to secure the win.
Predicted score: Cincinnati 20 Ohio State 24

Tulane at Mississippi State
This game would be a gimme for the Greenies if it were last year's squad, but this isn't last year. Tulane will remain close as both offenses will struggle early. The Bulldog ground game will be the difference as some option and power running will give the home standing Bulldogs the edge. Roydell Williams will have a big day with over a 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown.
Predicted score: Tulane 17 Mississippi State 34

Baylor at UAB
The Blazers will dominate Baylor from the opening kickoff as Darrell Hackney will throw for over 300 yards and run for two touchdowns. Baylor will not be able to provide an answer to All C-USA linebacker Zac Woodfin as he will have double figure tackles and cause at least one turnover.
Predicted score: Baylor 10 UAB 35

Memphis at Mississippi
Memphis will be much improved on defense and just as effective on offense this year and will easily handle the Rebels in Oxford, MS. Although Michael Spurlock will provide some exciting moments, he will not be as consistent as Eli was last year and the Tigers' defensive scheme led by Joe Lee Dunn will very opportunistic. Danny Wimprine will have over 200 yards passing, and DeAngelo Williams will rush for over 150 yards in the game.
Projected score: Memphis 31 Mississippi 19

Kentucky at Louisville
This game will be an offensive explosion on both sides as neither team decides to travel their defense and just brings extra depth for the offensive units. Stefan Lefors will go wild and throw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, the Cardinal defense will allow just as much and the game will come down to the last drive, and the ground game as Eric Shelton will pound it into the end zone for the game winning touchdown.
Predicted score: Kentucky 40 Louisville 44

Houston at Rice
This game has been very heated the past couple of years, and the Cougars will take another hard fought game from the Owls. I believe the Owls will win their conference this year, but the play of Kevin Kolb will lead Houston to the "W" over future conference member Rice. Kolb will have more than 400 yards through the air, but will have too many dropped passes to achieve the numbers he deserves. Rice will have their moments, but costly turnovers will allow this game to slip away.
Projected score: Houston 56 Rice 35

Monday, September 6

Pittsburgh at South Florida
Neither team will be what you would consider an offensive power, but South Florida will do enough to take the victory. Pittsburgh will come out strong, but the Panthers will wilt under the heat and humidity of Tampa. Lee Roy Selmon Jr. will provide a spark and cause a fumble which will result in a touchdown for the Bulls. The Panthers will not have the deep threat that departed wide receiver Larry Fitgerald provided. This will cause the Pittsburgh offense to be too predictable.
Projected score: Pittsburgh 14 South Florida 20

Southern Miss and Army do not play this week.

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