From the Bird’s Nest: Three Intriguing Games This Weekend
I'm really looking forward to the Cajuns' home opener this weekend against Nicholls State. Weather should be great, the Cajuns are coming off a solid win, an in-state opponent is coming to town which will help the crowd somewhat and people are excited about what Coach Mark Hudspeth is bringing to the table.
But, with just a couple of weeks before the first Harris Interactive Poll, there are some other games I'll be keeping an eye on.
LSU (-3.5) at MISSISSIPPI STATE--Thursday---The Tigers have certainly been impressive so far. But, this week they play their first true road game of the season as they open SEC play in Starkville. Mississippi State lost a tough one last week at Auburn. This will be the Bulldogs home opener. Now, conventional wisdom would say, since LSU rested many players last week against Northwestern State while MSU expended a lot of energy in their loss to Auburn, the Tigers should have a great advantage and a cakewalk. I'm not buying into that. I probably would had Mississippi State won the game. But they didn't. Their backs are against the wall and they're going to get a big boost from the home crowd. Beware the wounded animal. LSU may win this game, but they're going to have to work for it.
OKLAHOMA (-3) AT FLORIDA STATE---OU simply embarrassed the Seminoles last year in Norman. Florida State has an outstanding defense and, playing at home, will have a raucous crowd behind them. I'll be interesting to see how much FSU can slow down a pretty potent Sooners offense. The Sooners had last week off and that's an advantage. There are some that aren't buying into Florida State's lofty ranking. We'll find out this week. A win here and the "Noles are a legit top three team in my book.
CENTRAL FLORIDA (-4) AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL---I'll grant you Louisville isn't going to be in the Fiesta Bowl this year. The Cardinals are very young. But that doesn't take away from FIU's win last week on the road against a team from an AQ Conference. With Southern Miss stumbling out of the gate, UCF is now the favorite in the Eastern Divison of CUSA. Can FIU pull off another upset? If they can, they'll be favored in every game they play the rest of the season. Mario Cristobal's club is one win away from a catalyst to a very special season.
HOUSTON (-8) AT LOUISIANA TECH---The Cougars got off to a bit of a slow start last week against North Texas, then put the hammer down to spoil the opening of the new Apogee Stadium. Now their high powered offense is headed to Ruston to take on Tech, a team that gave up 42 points to FCS opponent Central Arkansas last week. Case Keenum and company have to be licking their chops, but chances are Tech was looking ahead to this one last week. Still, it's an awfully potent offense the Bulldogs will be facing.
Three games where the visitors are all favored. The home underdog frequently ruins the weekends for those who don't do this for entertainment purposes only, as I do.