With two big games within the Group of Five ranks this Friday, I thought I would put together a quick preview together for each of these with my picks.

The two games involve three American Athletic Conference teams of SMU, Tulane, and Houston, along with independent BYU. Both SMU and BYU are currently ranked both in the AP and Coach’s Top 25 polls but both will need to travel this date to Tulane and Houston respectively.

Houston is also undefeated but has played just one game and ironically was a win against Friday’s other team in Tulane. The Green Wave sit at just 2-2 with both losses coming against AAC foes in the aforementioned Houston, along with another loss to Navy. But both losses were close and the Green Wave have the home field in this one.

SMU (4-0, 1-0 AAC) at Tulane (2-2, 0-2 AAC)
When: Friday, Oct. 16th, 6:00 PM EDT
Where: Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, La.
TV/Streaming: ESPN/WatchESPN (subscription req’d)

Fearless Prediction:

SMU lost two major parts to the offensive attack for the season in second-leading rusher RB TJ McDaniel as well as QB Shane Buechele’s favorite target and current leading team receiver in WR Reggie Roberson.

Tulane’s offense has been able to put up points but its defense has let just as many score on the opposite side.

This is the difference as SMU’s defense is much better than it was last year and will be the difference in this one despite the Mustangs’ offense being down a couple of key cogs.

SMU has won the last five match-ups, including a 37-20 decision in Dallas
last season. That score sounds about the right difference again this year. SMU 38 Tulane 21

BYU (4-0) at Houston (1-0. 1-0 AAC)
When: Friday, Oct. 16th, 9:30 PM EDT
Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston, Tex.
TV/Streaming: ESPN/WatchESPN (subscription req’d)

Fearless Prediction:

This battle of the Cougars will come down to the best offense. Houston scored 49 points last week in its season opener over Tulane, while BYU had been on a similar pace to that in its first three games but came back to earth last week in edging UTSA 27-20.

BYU QB Zach Wilson was missing a couple key offensive linemen in last week’s game and it showed. He should have a line back at full strength this week. It will also help the running game also despite RB Tyler Allgeier having a 100-yard rushing contest last week.

Houston QB Clayton Tune shook off some rust in his season opener and three for a couple interceptions early but did seem to get back in the swing of things late to throw for 319 yards and two touchdowns and led the team on four straight second half touchdown drives.

The BYU defense looks like the stronger of the two teams and likely will be the difference in this game. Points will be scored by both teams but the Utah based Cougars will get a few more stops than the Texas based Cougars in what should come down to the end of the game before this one is decided. BYU 41 Houston 34