Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
The Observer

Neri: Best bad college football game to watch, Week 6

There has been no shortage of non-Power-5 football to watch so far this week, and there won’t be any time soon. We are currently in a stretch of 50 straight days of professional and college football action, which means there will be lots of mediocre matchups to follow in the coming weeks. But fear not, because I am here to help you sift through them and decide which of these is the best ‘bad’ game of the week.

Last week, I picked Liberty vs. Sam Houston State as the most interesting midweek matchup, and it did not disappoint. The now 0-5 Sam Houston Bearkats continued to show that they are better than their record indicates. The Liberty Flames, meanwhile, stayed perfect by showcasing their top-tier talent on both sides of the ball. While it was not the shootout I had predicted, there was plenty of high-quality action throughout. The Bearkats battled back from a 21-10 halftime deficit to find themselves down 21-16 with a fourth and goal from inside the 5-yard line. However, a questionable play call led to a 50-50 ball in the back corner of the endzone, which was batted away, as the Flames managed to hang on in dramatic fashion. With any luck, this week’s matchup will contain equal or better intensity in the late moments of the game.

Memphis and Tulane are both mainstays in the American Conference. You may have seen their names floating around in the lower end of the Top 25 rankings in the past few years. However, you may not know that both of these teams have recently made their way to the national stage by way of their respective New Year’s Six bowl games. Memphis saw their trip come in 2019, as they were ranked 15th in the Cotton Bowl against No. 13 Penn State, which they lost 53-39. Tulane, on the other hand, did them one better just last year, when they shocked No. 8 USC in the same contest.

Now, they both sit at 4-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play, looking to reassert their dominance over the AAC. On top of this, they both still have the potential to play their way to another New Year’s Six Bowl, which the top-ranked conference winner from the Group of 5 is guaranteed. What this means is that when these two conference rivals face each other Friday night, there will be both conference and national implications on the line.

Not only does the game itself have significant meaning, but the talent on both sides of the ball is more than worth the watch. This matchup will showcase talented running backs facing off against each other, as Makhi Hughes is coming off a 123-yard rushing game for the Tulane Green Wave, averaging over five yards per carry on the season. Blake Watson secured his own 100+ yard rushing effort in the Memphis Tigers’ last matchup and is averaging nearly yards per carry himself.

The real separator in this clash, however, will likely come at the quarterback position. Tigers qaurterback Seth Henigan — a solid QB who enters into the game having thrown for 1,300-plus yards and 10 touchdowns — will match up against the Green Wave’s Michael Pratt, who is currently ranked as Mel Kiper’s No. 9 quarterback for the upcoming NFL Draft. Pratt has loads of arm talent and is currently completing 75% of his passes on the year. However, he is coming off of an injury and did not look sharp for most of his most recent game against UAB.

All of these factors add up to what I believe should be an exciting Friday night matchup. There will be talent all over the field. A future NFLer at the quarterback position for Tulane. And, most importantly, a lot to play for between these two teams. If you’re looking for a college football appetizer before the main course Saturday, go ahead and throw this one on the TV. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.