#16 Houston vs #25 Memphis
As great as the marquee matchups in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC have been this season, this week’s most intriguing matchup comes from one of the smaller divisions: the American West Conference.
Houston is the last remaining undefeated team outside the powerhouse conferences. Memphis was in the same boat until the Navy pulled off a surprising upset, breaking then-#13 Memphis’ 15-game win-streak 45-20.
Before last week, the Memphis Tigers were averaging 48 points per game and out-rushed 7 out of 9 opponents this season. The Navy and the Tigers were tied up 17-all halfway through the 3rd quarter before the Midshipmen ran away with the game, scoring 28 points to the Tigers' 3. As I mentioned, this is Memphis’ first loss since last October, when they lost to – guess who! – Houston 28-24.
The Houston Cougars found themselves in a bit of battle for the first time in a few weeks against the Cincinnati Bearcats, but clawed their way to a narrow 33-30 win. The week before, the Cougars ripped Vanderbilt to shreds with a 34-0 win. With a perfect record to protect, the Cougars will be on high alert to keep the Bearcats – who have lost 5 in row in the overall series – at bay.
Houston has to lock away a win against Memphis for any hope of making the playoffs, and even then, it will be a reach.
Arkansas at #9 LSU
Arkansas has become a big surprise this season in many ways. First, we were surprised they weren’t performing to their top-20 ranking at the start of the season, losing three of their first four games. Then, just when they looked like a lost cause for making a bowl game or having a winning season, the Razorbacks pulled off three wins in a row, including a big 1-point upset against #18 Ole Miss last week.
The Razorbacks have have a chance to prove the early stumbles were just that against #9 LSU. We know they’re capable of pulling off a big upset, but are they capable of stopping the Tigers' beast of a running back Leonard Fournette? Given the way LSU played last week against Alabama, it’s definitely possible.
LSU’s terribly embarrassing 30-16 loss to Alabama last week was actually significantly worse than the score shows: Fournette usually runs an average of 193 yards per game but last week he only squeaked out a depressing 31 over 19 carries, and his longest run of the night was just 18-yards.
This week, however, you can bet Fournette will be looking to use his legs to their full potential, which is something Arkansas will be (has to be) expecting.
Other games on Sling TV this weekend: (All times Eastern)
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 7:30pm, ESPN
Louisiana Lafayette at South Alabama, 7:30pm, ESPNU
USC at Colorado, 9pm, ESPN 2
#11 Florida at South Carolina, 12pm, ESPN
Pittsburgh at Duke, 12pm, ESPNews
Texas at West Virginia, 12pm, ESPNU
Maryland at #13 Michigan State, 12pm, ESPN 2
Miami at #23 North Carolina, 3:30pm, ESPNU
#1 Clemson at Syracuse, 3:30pm, ESPN
#14 Michigan at Indiana, 3:30pm, ESPN
Western Carolina at Texas A&M, 7pm, ESPNU
#21 Memphis at #24 Houston, 7pm, ESPN 2
Arkansas at #9 LSU, 7:15pm, ESPN
Tulsa at Cincinnati, 7:30pm, ESPNews
New Mexico at Boise State, 10:15pm, ESPNU