Conference USA football is off to a strong start. Here’s how Rice football’s future opponents are trending through Week 3 of the 2018 season.
Stock Down – Southern Miss (1-1)
Results (1-1): vs Jackson State (W), vs UL-Monroe (L)
Rice’s next opponent had their Week 3 game against Appalachian State canceled because of Hurricane Florence. There only two previous games didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the Eagles. Formerly suspended quarterback Kwadre Griggs will be active for this game, but it’s still unclear how much playing time he’ll get. That’s a lot of question marks.
Stock Up – Wake Forest (2-1)
Results: @ Tulane (W), vs Towson (W), vs Boston College (L)
Wake Forest had a long list of departures to replace this fall including a few key pieces in the secondary and their starting quarterback. In place of John Wolford, Sam Hartman has been serviceable, completing 55.3 percent of his passes and averaging 278 yards and two touchdown passes per game. Their only loss of the season came against a potent BC offense and the Demon Deacons took them down to the wire.
Stock Even – UTSA (0-3)
Results: @ Arizona St (L), vs Baylor (L), @ Kansas St (L)
UTSA deserves some credit for daring to do something no other Conference USA squad did this year, play three Power 5 opponents in their first three games. UTSA lost all three games, but the testing they received to start their seasons will pay dividends down the road. A win would have been nice, but there’s no reason for the Roadrunners to be too concerned about their season quite yet.
Stock Up – UAB (2-1)
Results: vs Savannah St (W), @ Coastal Carolina (L), vs Tulane (W)
UAB captured the hearts of the nation in their recent return to football. Removed from that fresh jolt, the Blazers have been up and down. This was one of the toughest teams to peg entering the year, and they’ve held their own through three games. Spencer Brown is becoming a workhorse on the ground, coming near 300 yards rushing with two scores so far this season.
Stock Up – FIU (1-1)
Results: vs Indiana (L), @ Old Dominion (W), vs UMass (W)
Butch Davis has built some sturdy program over his varied stops, and FIU is becoming one more feather in his cap. The Panthers gave Indiana a run for their money and continue to present opponents with a balanced offensive attack led by quarterback James Morgan and stable of capable running backs. This team is ahead of schedule.
Stock Up – North Texas (3-0)
Results: vs SMU (W), vs Incarnate Word (W), @ Arkansas (W)
The arm of Mason Fine is among the best in Conference USA. He took his gunslinging talents on the road to Arkansas and threw it all over an SEC defense. Arkansas isn’t the cream of the crop in their conference, but they’re still a talented team. Nobody has been able to keep up with the Mean Green so far.
Stock Even – UTEP (0-3)
Results: vs Northern Arizona (L), @ UNLV (L), @ Tennessee (L)
There’s not much more to see here. UTEP was expected to be bad this season and they’re started out the year with losses to NAU, UNLV and Tennessee. The schedule doesn’t get easier with Conference play starting soon, and that could make for another frustrating year for the Miners and their fans.
Stock Up – Louisiana Tech (2-0)
Results: @ South Alabama (W), vs Southern (W)
It’s hard to start better than undefeated. Louisiana Tech has taken care of business, but the schedule is about to get a lot more challenging. Road trips to LSU and North Texas in the next two weeks make it hard to get too excited, but watching their host of big-play receivers go deep is plenty of fun for the time being.
Stock Up – LSU (3-0)
Results: vs Miami (W), vs SE Louisiana (W), @ Auburn (W)
There isn’t a team in the entire nation with a better resume right now than the LSU Tigers. After blowing out Miami in Week 1 the Tigers came from behind to take down Auburn in Week 3. An elite defensive unit with enough quarterback play from Joe Burrow has turned this team into an unexpected force in the SEC.
Stock Down – Old Dominion (0-3)
Results: @ Liberty (W), vs FIU (L), @ Charlotte (L)
Liberty is in its first year as an FBS program. Charlotte is projected to finish near the bottom of the CUSA East. The FIU loss isn’t too egregious, but the body of work does not look impressive in the slightest. Old Dominion has some time to turn things around, but the early returns aren’t very promising.