October is a special month. It’s a month filled with treats, tricks and sweets. Oh yeah, it just happens to feature my birthday as well. So, we’re in a giving mood this week and placed more teams into this week’s winner’s circle than any of the previous weeks. The biggest victor this week comes to us from the Sunshine State after walloping what many consider as one of the two front runners to be invited to the conference. Could the victory be their ticket into the conference? Time will tell.
South Florida 4-1 (1-0 AAC) Won 45-20 at Cincinnati
This is a major statement. South Florida humiliated Cincinnati on the road. The Bulls are in the Tampa market which is the No.11 television market compared to No.36 Cincinnati. And let’s not forget, Florida is a much more desirable travel destination than Ohio. South Florida, is by far, this week’s big winner. If the Big 12 is to expand, the Bulls should be considered strongly as one of the new members.
Houston 5-0 (2-0 AAC) Won 42-14 vs. UConn
It was an amazing week for the Cougars. First, they blow past an expansion rival who comes from a bigger media market, and has a better overall athletic profile. Houston did this on national television. The cherry on top came Saturday when Oklahoma escaped Fort Worth with a Big 12 road win. If Houston goes undefeated and gets into the playoffs, then it’s either expand or feel the national scorn of the general public for the Big 12 Conference.
Boise State 4-0 (1-0 Mountain West) Won 21-10 vs. Utah State
The Broncos could be a possible addition if the Big 12 is willing to add football only members. Every week Boise State inches closer to an undefeated record is another week the Broncos state their case loud and clear that they should be added to the conference. Utah State did not find the end zone until the fourth quarter. Boise State has multiple BCS appearances, including victories over Oklahoma and TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
UCF 3-2 (1-0 AAC) Won 47-29 at East Carolina
I’m in a giving mood this week. One week ago, it was quite frustrating to find a winner. All of the expansion candidates, except Boise State (who has already been provided the boot), were just plain awful. This week, the Golden Knights went on the road and pummeled an East Carolina team whose shine is turning to rust quickly. UCF will be overshadowed this week by their rivals to the west, but they are quietly 1-0 in conference play with a road victory.
Temple 3-2 (1-0 AAC) Won 45-20 vs. SMU
Honestly, I wanted to place this win in the “taking care of business” section. However, Temple is unbeaten in conference play and destroyed a team from Texas with lots of history. Also, Philadelphia is the No.4 television market, so Temple one-ups the team from the No.5 television market. All smiles at Lincoln Financial Field. Santa Claus came two months early.
Air Force 4-0 (1-0 Mountain West) Won 28-14 vs. Navy
Under normal circumstances, this is a victory placed in the “taking care of business” section. This victory has special meaning to it though. To show support for the fine, young men and women who serve our country, this team is a winner. Sure, they win for us every day. However, being undefeated and taking that first step to the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy makes me love the Falcons this week. Air Force was once invited to the Big 12 Conference, but declined at that time.
Taking Care of Business
BYU 2-3 Won 55-53 vs. Toledo
The Cougars handed the Rockets their first loss, but the Big 12 would have liked this to be a complete blowout. The good news for BYU is West Virginia remaining undefeated with a victory over Kansas State. The bad news is that Utah is no longer undefeated as they lost to Cal this week. BYU could be an amazing addition to the Big 12 Conference, but some of the public schools are currently skeptics in regards to some of the on-campus practices and their rule against playing sports on Sundays.
Tulane 3-2 (0-1 AAC) Won 31-24 at UMass
The Green Wave are trying to build a monster here. This is a positive. It’s a road victory and provides Tulane with a winning record in October. They are halfway to bowl eligibility. However, it’s still against UMass which keeps them out of the winner’s circle this week.
Northern Illinois 1-4 (1-0 MAC) Won 31-24 at Ball State
It would be nice to place the Huskies into the winner’s circle for grabbing their first win, and doing so on the road against a team with a winning record. We just can’t muster up the fortitude to do that this week though. At least the monkey is off their back. One team from Houston can’t say that.
Arkansas State 0-4 (0-0 Sun Belt) IDLE
The least likely team to be added out of all of the candidates will continue searching for their first victory of the year against Georgia Southern Wednesday.
Cincinnati 3-2 (0-2 AAC) Lost 45-20 vs. South Florida
The consideration of Cincinnati for expansion is a complete joke and this loss is the proof. This is a commuter school which is located in the No.34 television market and has been humiliated for two consecutive weeks at home by conference opponents. Their main rival is Miami (OH), and they struggled against FCS opponent UT Martin. Literally, the only reason they are in serious consideration is because they are close to West Virginia. If South Florida doesn’t replace Cincinnati as a top school in expansion considerations, then kiss the Big 12 Conference goodbye.
Connecticut 2-3 (0-2 AAC) Lost 42-14 at Houston
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in this loss. It was on the road and to one of this year’s elite programs. UConn got humilaited though and the Big 12 isn’t looking for another Kansas. This program would clearly provide the conference some top notch basketball action. However, that 0-2 record in a non-Power Five conference looks like a major zit on the day of prom.
SMU 2-3 (0-1 AAC) Lost 45-20 at Temple
To put it bluntly, this was awful. Give credit to Chad Morris though. He took over this team after June Jones abruptly decided he didn’t want to coach college football anymore. By the way, that guy is apparently an offensive coordinator at the high school level in Hawaii now. I’d say SMU is a winner in that divorce. Ouch!
Memphis 3-1 (0-0 AAC) Lost 48-28 at Ole Miss
Believe it or not, this is considered a rivalry game. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they lost. This was a prime chance to garner a marquee win and show the world Memphis is prepared to be a Power Five Conference program. Memphis competed decently at an SEC venue with considerably less talent. It’s still a loss though, and that’s what folks will remember.
Colorado State 2-3 (0-1 Mountain West) Lost 38-17 vs. Wyoming
It seems that Colorado State’s campaign to become a member of the Big 12 Conference dies just a little bit each week. That trend continues by losing to a school that felt its chances were so slim, they didn’t even bother putting together a presentation. Honestly, I’ll take Wyoming any day over Arkansas State, East Carolina, Northern Illinois and Temple. At least Wyoming borders the states of the former Big Eight.
Rice 0-5 (0-3 CUSA) Lost 44-28 at Southern Mississippi
No, Brett Favre did not play quarterback in this game. Rice fans are currently studying hard and waiting for baseball season. Two more losses and Rice is officially not going to a bowl game.
What the Big 12 missed out on
East Carolina 2-3 (0-1 AAC) Lost 47-29 to UCF
It was all Golden Knights in this game. The Pirates have dropped three straight. At this point, they’ll be lucky to make a bowl game.
New Mexico 2-2 (1-0 Mountain West) Won 48-41 vs. San Jose State
The Lobos held a 41-20 lead heading into the 4th quarter, but they still needed one more score to claim victory. This school did not add much to the Big 12 Conference, and that is why they are down in this section. New Mexico is undefeated in Mountain West play, and that’s something they can be proud of for now.
San Diego State 3-1 (0-0 Mountain West) Lost 42-24 at South Alabama
How does one team go from defeating Cal to all of a sudden dropping an egg to a 7-year old program. Hey, at least they’re an FBS team. There are FCS teams that can claim victory over Big 12 opponents this year.
UNLV 2-3 (1-0 Mountain West) Won 45-20 vs. Fresno State
This victory for the Rebels says more about the state of Fresno State than it does UNLV. Remember, it was one week ago that the Rebels fell at the hands of Idaho.