Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
A couple of intersectional games, an in-state game and a couple of conference matchups have my attention this week.
TULANE AT LOUISIANA TECH (Thursday, 6:30, Fox Sports 1)
It's the Inaugural game in CUSA for the Bulldogs, who set a new season ticket record this year (6,555). The two teams last met in 1998, Tulane's unbeaten season, when they beat the Bulldogs, 63-30. The teams have met only eight times and Tulane has never lost to Louisiana Tech. Neither team has really done anything impressive thus far. Tulane lost to South Alabama last week, while Tech had a very pedestrian performance at home against Lamar. If these two schools weren't in Louisiana, there'd be no way they would have made this list.
TROY AT ARKANSAS STATE (Thursday, 6:30pm, ESPNU)
The two time defending champions open conference play in a nationally televised game. For the last couple of years, we've been asking about Troy. They've been picked fifth in the league this year and have been a bit under the radar. Are the Trojans ready to resume their perch as one of the league's elite? This game could speak volumes in that regard. But this will by no means be a walk in the park. A State has been the league's most consistent team the past two years. And, they're really, really tough to beat in Jonesboro.
UCLA AT NEBRASKA (Saturday, 11 AM, ABC)
While Texas A&M-Alabama is the most talked about game this week, this one might be the best non-conference matchup. We tend to undervalue teams from the west coast here in the deep south. But Jim Mora's team has made great strides. We'll find out how great at Memorial Stadium this week. Nebraska has been a bit of an enigma since joining the Big Ten. Just how good are they? We're about to find out. A loss by the 'Huskers and those rumblings about Bo Pellini are bound to get louder.
ALABAMA AT TEXAS A&M (Saturday, 2:30pm CBS)
Well, was last year a fluke? Johnny Football Flake took the Tide defense to the woodshed last year in this game. And, I can't find too many people who don't think Alabama will win this one and win it big. A&M has picked up where they left off a season ago...and Alabama wasn't exactly a world beater in their opening performance against Virginia Tech. If the Tide go into College Station and get this one, they'll have earned it. And, Nick Saban's teams are pretty good when they have two weeks to prepare.
OLE MISS AT TEXAS (Saturday, 7pm, Longhorn Network)
Quick! Which one of these teams is ranked?? Well, up until last Saturday it was Texas, but after BYU ran roughshod over the Longhorns, they're staggering into this one against the Rebels, The 'Horns are a slight favorite in this game. Ole Miss has shown it can score. Can Texas keep up with them. Game comes at a good time for both teams. Texas is bound to be an angry club, and Ole Miss gets a week off after this game. Good thing, because the next four are against Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU.