The college football season is winding down with bowl season on the horizon. Conference championships are ready to take place across the country soon. The Conference USA has been a bit of a mess this season. They started really late in the year, with some teams having played 11 games and others just four, like Rice. Then in the case of Old Dominion, they haven’t played any games.
A mess can be found in pretty well every conference in the FBS, though. In any case, Conference USA will have a championship game, which will pit the winner of the East against the West division. Marshall currently leads the East with a record of 4-1 in-conference and 7-1 overall. Meanwhile, over in the West, the UTSA Roadrunners have been impressive. They own a record of 5-2 in-conference, while notching a mark of 7-4 overall.
The Florida Atlantic Owls wrap up the regular season on Thursday night against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on the road. The Owls were still alive to repeat as C-USA champions, but that opportunity seems to have evaporated after the Marshall game was cancelled. Marshall was scheduled to play against Charlotte, but that’s been called due to Covid-19. A Marshall loss and FAU win would have been huge for the Owls.
However, the Marshall cancellation takes away any drama that would have been in Week 15. The Owls are playing to finish the regular season with a record of 6-2 and perhaps a better bowl invite. Note that if Marshall can’t play in the C-USA Championship because of an ongoing Covid-19 situation, then FAU will replace them and represent the East. That would keep their dream alive of repeating as conference champions.
Southern Mississippi is just looking to close out this season on a high note. That’s if the team cares at all, because it hasn’t seemed to be the case for a long minute now. Southern Mississippi are going into Thursday night with a record of 2-7. The Golden Eagles have been competitive the last two weeks at least.
They were 23-20 losers against UTSA last week in a frustrating loss, and 10-7 against Western Kentucky the week prior. The offense has been incapable of finding a groove and has a tough defensive matchup in front of them tonight. Head below for our free FAU vs. Southern Mississippi pick for December 10, 2020.
Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles NCAAF Betting Odds:
FAU vs. Southern Mississippi Prediction:
Southern Mississippi will have to figure out their offense against a really good Owls’ defense on Thursday night. Southern Mississippi has really struggled to put the ball in the end zone since scoring 35 points against Liberty in a 56-35 loss five games ago. The problems for this offense arrived once starting quarterback Jack Abraham decided to opt out in the middle of the season and transfer. He was coming off a decent performance in a 41-31 over North Texas, with 235 yards passing and 2 touchdowns.
After scoring 35 points against Liberty, Southern Miss has scored just 14.25 points per game through four games. They scored 24 points against a bad North Alabama team on November 7. That’s the most points they’ve netted in their last five games. Tate Whatley has been able to get experience at quarterback, so I suppose that can be viewed as a positive in what is regarded as a throwaway season for the Golden Eagles.
The sophomore threw for 199 yards with 2 interceptions and no touchdowns on 41.4% completions last season as a backup. It can’t get any worse than that, so it’s only upwards for Whatley. He has passed for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 56.9% completions. Whatley has also rushed for 36 yards and 4 scores on the ground. With FAU in town, this is going to be his stingiest test yet.
FAU has been one of the best in the FBS defensively. They’ve conceded just 299.6 yards and 12.4 points per game in 2020. Their sixth in the country in yards allowed, and third in points allowed per game. It’s hard to envision how the Golden Eagles are going to move the ball in this game. Whatley might develop into a good quarterback next year, but there is still a lot to learn.
I would like to take the UNDER here, but 43.5 doesn’t provide much of a cushion for special teams or turnovers. Expect the Owls to grind out a win here with their defense. Expect this to be a close matchup early on in the first half. It could be ugly for a quarter or two. The Owls should be the better of two at making adjustments on offense. This looks like a 24-10 win for FAU on Thursday night.