C-USA Landmines - The Scary Letdown Games
Marshall TE Cody Slate
Marshall TE Cody Slate
Posted Aug 20, 2009

What are the dangerous games that every Conference USA team needs to watch out for? These are the ones that might be sandwiched in between two bigger games, they could be the ones late in the season that will be tough to get up for, or they simply could be letdowns.

The Conference USA Landmine Games

The traps to watch out for

By Pete Fiutak

Landmine Games For Every Team
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It's next to impossible for a team to get up for every game over the course of the long season. It's easy to be jazzed for the big rival or the top five team, but college kids can't remain focused enough to play razor sharp for one game and then maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.

Below are the very dangerous letdown games for each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least, these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might be pushed very, very hard.


-  East Carolina - Sept. 26 vs. UCF
This is a landmine because ... No, the season opener against Appalachian State isn't the one to worry about. ECU is far better than UCF, and it should be focused for the Conference USA opener, but after going on the road to face West Virginia and North Carolina, the home sandwich between four road games could be dangerous.

-  Marshall - Sept. 19 vs. Bowling Green
This is a landmine because ... It's the MAC all over again for Marshall, and it shouldn't be considered much of an upset if the Falcons pull out the win. Coming off a game at Virginia Tech, and with the league opener at Memphis ahead, Marshall will have to get ready for a shootout against Tyler Sheehan and the BGSU attack.

-  Memphis  - Nov. 14 vs. UAB
This is a landmine because ... Will the Blazers be better by mid-November? Memphis had better be ready for QB Joe Webb, and it had better have its chin up in the midst of a brutal second half of the season. Before dealing with the Blazers, MU goes to Southern Miss, plays East Carolina, and goes to Tennessee. The season ends at Houston and Tulsa.

- Southern Miss - Oct. 24 vs. Tulane
This is a landmine because ... There was a time when this was the big game of the Conference USA season. Southern Miss has had issues with its consistency over the last few seasons, and this is a perfect opportunity to let down with a trip to Houston ahead on Halloween night.

- UAB - Nov. 7 vs. Florida Atlantic
This is a landmine because ... There's not really a true landmine game for the Blazers, considering they're going to be the ones trying to upset everyone else, but they'll look at the home game against a Sun Belt team as chance to come up with a win during a nasty second half of the year. Not only does UAB have to deal with Rusty Smith and the Owl offense, but it's the first home game after three road dates. There are two road games to follow.

- UCF - Sept. 19 vs. Buffalo
This is a landmine because ... Will UCF really care about the defending MAC champions after going to Southern Miss the week before and with a trip to East Carolina the week after? The Knights might be worrying more about trying to stay alive in the Conference USA race than RB James Starks and WR Naaman Roosevelt.


- Houston - Oct. 24 vs. SMU
This is a landmine because ... SMU has the offense (potentially) to be one of the few teams that can keep up with the Cougars. With bigger fish to fry against Southern Miss the following week, with a date at Tulsa to follow, Houston had better be ready for a firefight. Case Keenum and the attack will come up with around 500 yards of total offense, but Bo Levi Mitchell could throw for almost that many for the Mustangs.

- Rice - Oct. 10 vs. Navy
This is a landmine because ... There's no such thing as a landmine for a Rice team that should struggle this season, but if it's not the November 14th game against Tulane, it'll be the game with the Midshipmen. A home game before going to East Carolina, this is a must win for the Owls to have any dreams of a decent year.

- SMU - Sept. 5 vs. Stephen F. Austin
This is a landmine because ... The Lumberjacks aren't very good, but they'll have one of the nation's top FCS passing offense. QB Jeremy Moses led the way for a No. 3 passing attack that averaged 346 yards per game. Needless to say, the passing total in this game is going to be through the roof.

- Tulane - Oct. 3 at Army
This is a landmine because ... Considering how rough this year should be for Tulane, it can't afford to blow it against an Army team that will spend the year finding itself. Black Knight head coach Rich Ellerson won't have worked his magic yet, and Tulane needs to take advantage by running Andre Anderson over and over and over again.

Tulsa - Oct. 31 vs. SMU
This is a landmine because ... SMU might have been the worst team in America last season and Tulsa still had a problem putting the game away in a 37-31 win. This year, the Golden Hurricane will be coming off games against Boise State and at UTEP and will be looking ahead to Houston, East Carolina, and at Southern Miss after dealing with the Mustangs.

 - Nov. 21 at Rice
This is a landmine because ... UTEP has never done well over the second halves of seasons under Mike Price, and the problems are likely to continue with three road games in a road in November. The game against Rice is the third away game in three weeks, and if things aren't going well, it could be disaster time for the Miners if Rice has improved.