Sunday, September 20, 2015

College Football PASS/FAIL Report: Conference USA Week 3


PASS: Rice, Marshall, Louisiana Tech, FIU, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, UTEP

Rice took early control in the west with a solid win at North Texas. The Owls could be a dark horse running in the division now.

Marshall took the easy road with a runaway win over FCS Norfolk State.

Louisiana Tech had several shots to bring down Kansas State, but fell in OT. The Bulldogs showed some serious fight, and look like they could still navigate the CUSA West moving forward.

FIU is continuing a bit of a resurgence this season, as they largely cruised by North Carolina Central 39-14. The schedule will tighten up in conference play, but Ron Turner finally looks like he deserves some credit here.

Middle Tennessee welcomed newcomer Charlotte to CUSA football with a 73-14 trashing yesterday. The Blue Raiders are playing some strong football right now, and they are looking like a team that would love to make the East Division an interesting place moving forward.

Even if their defense utterly failed all night, Southern Miss gets a pass for a 56-50 win over Texas State that they surely would have lost last season. The Eagles are finally showing signs of life, and the needle is heading in the right direction for the first time in a long time.

There is no doubt about how bad UTEP has been this season, but they persevered against arch rival New Mexico State in a 50-47 win last night. UTEP is still a mess, but this was a must have win for the Miners.

FAIL: FAU, North Texas, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, Charlotte

FAU had a chance at home to get a nice win over Buffalo, but the Owls never showed up, and now FAU looks like they are sinking fast.

North Texas looks like a team on the fall, as they were never really in it with Rice in a home loss. Coach Dan McCarney is losing this team fast.

Western Kentucky had Indiana on the ropes. They were about to go 3-0. The damn broke late, and the Toppers dropped a game they should have won to go to 2-0 against P5 teams. Instead, the loss, and loss of reputation.

Old Dominion got a home date with NC State, but it did not go very well in a 38-14 loss. ODU is still rebuilding a bit, and struggled in a win over Eastern Michigan, and played sloppy against FCS member Norfolk State. There is some work to be done here, but I have confidence that things will improve.

Charlotte officially entered CUSA play yesterday, and what a rude awakening it was in a 73-14 loss. The honeymoon is over, as we now know what we are looking at after a cupcake start to the schedule. There is some serious work to be done in building this program.

SMU is still showing improvement under Chad Morris, but they have to learn to play defense against good teams to get wins. The offense, which was largely moribund last season, has shown signs of life, however. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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