central florida vs. Southern Methodist, 3:30: The Knights (1-3, 0-1 C-USA) were walloped in their conference opener at Texas El-Paso last week 58-13. But if there's one team hurting more it might be SMU (1-4, 0-2) and first-year coach June Jones. Both teams have three-game losing streaks. The Mustangs are the worst rushing team in the nation, averaging 33 yards, and the worst in total defense, allowing an average of 519.2 yards. UCF continues to search for stability at quarterback and gave freshman Rob Calabrese (13-for-31, 167 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) his first start. He earned praise in an otherwise forgettable loss and led the Knights in rushing with 11 carries for 86 yards. He continued his battle with junior Michael Greco for the job, with today's starter a game-time decision. Former Land O'Lakes QB Joe Weatherford, a redshirt freshman, played in his first collegiate game last week but appears to be No. 3.
Florida International at North Texas, 7: Can the Golden Panthers (1-3) piece together their first back-to-back wins since 2005? That would be the case if they can take down the Mean Green (0-4) for the second time in as many seasons in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams. FIU, which had a strong effort in a Week 3 loss to USF, has the nation's worst offense, averaging 196.3 yards and 13.5 points. When these teams played in Denton, Texas, two seasons ago, the Mean Green won 25-22 in seven overtimes.
Bethune-Cookman at Morgan State, 4: The Wildcats (3-1, 1-1 MEAC) have picked up consecutive victories thanks to coach Alvin Wyatt's vaunted "Wyatt Bone" offense, which ranks sixth in Division I-AA in rushing (250.3 yards per game). They also have the country's No. 8 scoring defense, 5.3 points per game. Brian Sumlar leads the MEAC with seven rushing TDs, five in his past two games.
florida a&M vs. South Carolina State, 6: The Rattlers (3-1, 1-1) have won two straight and would stay in the race for the MEAC title with a victory against the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-0). They have outscored opponents by almost 10 points a game (MEAC-leading 32.3-point average) and rank 12th in I-AA in turnover margin.
Izzy Gould, Times staff writer