Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
We’re halfway through the season and I am 45-17 after an 8-2 performance last week. I only picked one potential upset this week and that’s SMU over Navy, which I think could be an emotion-driven win for the Mustangs. I also like Idaho to notch it’s sixth win and TCU to stay undefeated.
Here are all of my picks:
Wyoming 30, Air Force 28: Air Force is a talented team, but it’s pretty banged up right now and its quarterback situation is in flux. Wyoming has won three straight with Austyn Carta-Samuels as the starting quarterback and if the defense can hold up against the triple option, the Cowboys could make it four in a close one on the road.
Temple 24, Army 21: These teams have split the last four contests with Temple handling the Black Knights a year ago. But both of these teams are much improved and this should be a pretty interesting game. Army has three wins this season, but hasn’t notched that elusive fourth win since 2005.
Central Michigan 35, Western Michigan 17: Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit said his team falls somewhere between the one that was blown out by Northern Illinois and the one that blew out Toledo. Well, Central Michigan is better than both those teams and this could be another tough loss for Cubit’s squad. At the very least, this game will test CMU’s defense, which has struggled some against pass-heavy teams.
West Virginia 28 Marshall 17: There was part of me that wanted to pick this as an upset, but Marshall hasn’t quite become diverse enough on offense to stay with the Mountaineers. Marshall running back Darius Marshall is going to have a tough time against a West Virginia rush defense that is allowing just 84.60 yards per game and the Marshall defense is going to struggle to stop West Virginia dual threat quarterback Jarrett Brown.
TCU 24, Colorado State 14: Colorado State has played well this season and if TCU didn’t have such a stellar defense, I might throw this game in the Rams favor. The Rams do have a better offensive system, but Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington and Co., won’t let Colorado State quarterback Grant Stucker have much time to throw and Colorado State probably won’t be able to do much on the ground. Not to mention this game is at TCU and Colorado State is in a severe losing skid.
Idaho 38, Hawaii 32: Idaho’s season hasn’t just been about notching six wins for bowl eligibility, it’s been about paying back some of the teams that have beaten on the Vandals in past years. Such will be the case against Hawaii. Idaho has beaten the Warriors just once and that was in 1960. In the seven games since then, the Warriors have won by an average 29.5 points. Also, if Idaho wins this game, it’s bowl eligible.
Southern Miss 26, Memphis 21: Memphis had a great win last week against UTEP, but Southern Miss is going to be a tougher challenge with a rushing defense that allows just 109 yards per game. The Golden Eagles are a little beat up. Starting defensive end Roshaad Byrd was lost for the season this week and quarterback Martevious Young is starting just his third career game. Still, Southern Miss has a ton of weapons on offense and the Memphis defense has been spotty.
Northern Illinois 35, Toledo 17: Northern Illinois might be the only team in the Mid-American Conference West that can challenge Central Michigan. The Huskies have excelled in the running game and that’s where Toledo is most deficient allowing 188.83 yards per game. Toledo has been a mixed bag this season, so there’s no telling which team will show up, but Northern Illinois has been tough all season.
SMU 38, Navy 28: This is the first annual battle for the Gansz Trophy and SMU is going to be fired up to play for their assistant coach, who passed away in the spring. Both of these teams come in with confidence after last week’s performances, however, SMU’s win over East Carolina was most impressive considering the Pirates were atop Conference USA East. With a win, SMU can be first in C-USA West all by itself.
Utah 28, UNLV 14: On paper this game isn’t close, but at some point UNLV players are going to wake up and want to win a game to save their coach’s job. Utah would be that win and UNLV has the talent to do it, but it hasn’t shown the spirit in quite some time. I picked a conservative score, but if UNLV continues to play the way it’s played the last few weeks, it could be even more lopsided.