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September 26, 2013

Week Five Preview

UCF will be on the biggest stage in program history when the 3-0 Knights host No. 12 South Carolina this Saturday at 12 noon on ABC.

The Sept. 14 win at Penn State has started to put UCF and quarterback Blake Bortles on the lips of lot of people and that will only multiply if the Knights can extend their unbeaten record with a win against the Gamecocks.

Elsewhere in the American Athletic Conference, Houston looks to go 4-0 with a visit to Texas-San Antonio. Other top AAC teams, including No. 7 Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers, have the week off.

Two of the league's three winless teams - UConn and Temple - have a decent chance to get the monkey off their back but the outlook is bleak at USF where they host No. 15 Miami.

The action begins on Thursday with future American member Tulsa hosting Iowa State on Fox Sports 1. The Golden Hurricane beat the Cyclones in last year's Liberty Bowl.

Here's a look at every game involving the American, future league members East Carolina, Tulane, Tulsa and Navy, plus UCF's non-conference opponents.

Yahoo! College Football Scoreboard

Lines are for entertainment purposes only, picks are head-to-head.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
Iowa State (0-2) at Tulsa (1-1) - 7:30, Fox Sports 1
THE BUZZ: Tulsa and Iowa State are meeting for the third time since last season. The Cyclones won the 2012 season opener in Ames, 38-23, then both schools were matched in the Liberty Bowl where the C-USA Champion Golden Hurricane decisively won the rematch, 31-17. Tulsa is coming off a 51-20 shellacking by the hands of Oklahoma, while ISU only has two games under their belt, both losses to in-state FCS Northern Iowa and Iowa.
THE LINE: Tulsa by 3
THE PICK: Tulsa
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
No. 12 South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at UCF (3-0) - 12 noon, ABC
THE BUZZ: UCF isn't ranked yet, but certainly would be with a win on ABC against South Carolina, which most consider to be the biggest home game in the school's young history. Knights QB Blake Bortles is making a name for himself with the nation's third-best QB rating. USC QB Connor Shaw is a dangerous dual-threat athlete. UCF is glad to have back OT Torrian Wilson to assist fending off USC stud DE Jadeveon Clowney.
THE LINE: South Carolina by 7
THE PICK: UCF
No. 15 Miami (3-0) at USF (0-3) - 12 noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Miami and USF have played every season since 2009, but this is the last scheduled matchup. Last weekend's slate featured several uncompetitive games, including Miami's 77-7 win vs. FCS Savannah State in which the fourth quarter was shortened to 12 minutes. Canes QB Stephen Morris injured his ankle, but is expected to play. USF, off to a terrible start, is coming off a bye week. They were throttled by FAU, 28-10, on Sept. 14.
THE LINE: Miami by 19
THE PICK: Miami
SMU (1-2) at TCU (1-2, 0-1 Big 12) - 12 noon, Fox Sports 1
THE BUZZ: "The Battle for the Iron Skillet." It's the 93rd matchup between the two DFW Metroplex teams with TCU holding a 45-40-7 series edge. TCU has won 11 of the last 13, but SMU won the last visit to Fort Worth, a 40-33 OT win in 2011. SMU was crushed at Texas A&M last week, while TCU was idle. The Horned Frogs haven't lost more than two games since 2007, but already have two in the first three games this year (LSU, Texas Tech).
THE LINE: TCU by 19
THE PICK: TCU
East Carolina (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) at North Carolina (1-2, 0-1 ACC) - 12:30, WRBW-2/ESPN3
THE BUZZ: Fifth consecutive meeting and UNC has won the last four games, including a 27-6 win in 2012. Last week the Tar Heels had a 20-7 lead at Georgia Tech but were shutout in the second half as the Yellow Jackets rallied to win, 28-20. East Carolina, coming off a bye, narrowly lost a 15-10 decision to Virginia Tech on Sept. 14. The ECU defense takes a hit as starting nose tackle Terry Williams was suspended indefinitely earlier this week.
THE LINE: UNC by 12.5
THE PICK: UNC
Navy (2-0) at Western Kentucky (2-2, 0-1 SBC) - 2:00, ESPNews
THE BUZZ: Navy ranks No. 1 in the country averaging 398.0 yards per game, though the Midshipmen have played just two games (wins vs. Indiana and Delaware). Trends could bode well for WKU as Navy has lost four consecutive games coming off a bye week (not including Army). It's Military Appreciation Day at WKU as they will hand out 10,000 mini American flags to the first 10,000 fans. New WKU coach Bobby Petrino has played musical QBs this season - Brandon Doughty began the season as starter but eight interceptions in the first three games led to freshman Todd Porter starting last week. Former UCF commit DaMarcus Smith is also competing there.
THE LINE: Navy by 3
THE PICK: Navy
Akron (1-3) at Bowling Green (3-1, 1-0 MAC) - 2:30, ESPN3
THE BUZZ: Akron looked to be on the upswing following their near-upset at Michigan on Sept. 14, but they returned home to a crushing 35-30 defeat to Louisiana-Lafayette. Akron hasn't won a game against an FBS team since the 2010 season and it probably won't happen against Bowling Green, one of the favorites to win the MAC.
THE LINE: Bowling Green by 14
THE PICK: Bowling Green
UConn (0-3) at Buffalo (1-2) - 3:30, ESPN3
THE BUZZ: The two schools have been playing since their FCS days with UConn holding a 16-4 lead in the series and winners of the last eight. UConn won last year's meeting, 24-17. Playing in a nationally-televised ABC primetime home game, the Huskies gave No. 15 Michigan a big scare last week before falling 24-21. Buffalo, coming off an open date, has a 26-23 win vs. FCS Stony Brook and has lost to Ohio State (40-20) and Baylor (70-13).
THE LINE: Even
THE PICK: UConn
Houston (3-0, 1-0 AAC) at UTSA (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) - 4:00, Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Houston plays its first ever game against FBS newcomer Texas-San Antonio. The Larry Coker-coached Roadrunners began play in 2011 and elevated to FBS in 2012 as a member of the WAC. This is their first season in C-USA and they just notched their first conference win at UTEP. Houston is one of three undefeated teams in the American following last week's 31-26 win against Rice in the Bayou Bucket Classic. The Cougars lead the AAC in rushing (252.0 yards) and total offense (548.3 yards).
THE LINE: Houston by 2
THE PICK: Houston
Temple (0-3, 0-1 AAC) at Idaho (0-4) - 6:00, No TV
THE BUZZ: The American may have three undefeated teams, but they also have three winless teams and Temple is one of them along with USF and UConn. Each have losses to FCS competition with the Owls joining that club on Sept. 14 with a last-second loss to Fordham, 30-29. They had a bye week to get ready for an Idaho team that is also winless with setbacks to North Texas (40-6), Wyoming (42-10), Northern Illinois (45-35) and Washington State (42-0).
THE LINE: Temple by 7.5
THE PICK: Temple
Tulane (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) at Louisiana-Monroe (2-2) - 7:00, ESPN3
THE BUZZ: Tulane's first trip to Monroe since 2002. The Warhawks crushed the Wave in New Orleans last year, 63-10. Tulane traveled to Syracuse last week only to get stomped, 52-17. ULM was the latest to take a beating at the hands of Baylor (70-7), but they did get an ACC victory vs. Wake Forest (21-19) back on Sept. 14.
THE LINE: ULM by 13.5
THE PICK: ULM


Bye weeks: FIU (0-4), Penn State (3-1), Cincinnati (3-1), No. 7 Louisville (4-0), Memphis (1-2), Rutgers (3-1).



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