The start of the MAC and Pac-12 football seasons means that all 10 FBS conferences will finally be in action simultaneously for the first time in the 2020 season. With everyone finally playing, week 10 of the college football season is packed, as evidenced by the six-game slate on tap for CBS Sports Network that starts on Wednesday. Miami (Ohio) and Ball State get the week started, followed by a Mountain West rivalry game between Colorado State and Wyoming on Thursday.
Friday night’s game may be interesting to a few FBS fan bases. Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke is looking to get off to a 3-0 start in his second stint at San Diego State as he leads the Aztecs against San Jose State. The upstart Spartans are shooting for their first 3-0 start since 1982 with former Texas A&M and Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel leading the way.
Finally, the Saturday slate brings a dose of variety, as the AAC, Mountain West and Conference USA will each be on display, concluding with Saturday night showdown between Louisiana Tech and North Texas that figures to feature a dizzying amount of offense.
Miami (Ohio) vs. Ball State
Storylines: Retribution is at stake for Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday as the RedHawks try to avenge last season’s 41-27 loss to Ball State. Miami went on to win the MAC Championship Game, but the loss ended a five-game winning streak. The RedHawks should have a chance to repeat as league champions as they return numerous key players from last year’s team, including promising sophomore quarterback Brett Gabbert. Ball State will pose a challenge, though, as the Cardinals return 16 starters from last season’s 5-7 team that lost three games by a combined total of eight points before ending the season with the win against Miami.
Colorado State vs. Wyoming
Storylines: Wyoming is looking to extend its winning streak over Colorado State to five games and bounce back from a 37-34 overtime loss to Nevada last week. The 1-1 Cowboys racked up eight sacks in their first two games, and that quality pass-rush could be a difference maker in this game. Colorado State allowed four sacks in a 38-17 season-opening loss to Fresno State last week as first-year coach Steve Addazio played two quarterbacks. Addazio has not announced whether last year’s starting quarterback Patrick O’Brien or dual-threat Temple transfer Todd Centeio, who started in the Fresno State game, will start vs. the Rams.
San Diego State vs. San Jose State
Storylines: One of the Mountain West’s early-season surprises gets a shot at one of the league’s early frontrunners when San Jose State plays at San Diego State in a battle of two 2-0 teams. The Spartans are led by former Texas A&M and Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel, who has completed 56-of-76 passes for 693 yards and seven touchdown with just one interception against Air Force and New Mexico. But San Diego State counters with what appears to be an elite defenses. The Aztecs allowed just 13 total points and 109 yards per game through the air during wins against UNLV and Utah State.
Storylines: Given Cincinnati’s rising national profile, it’s easy to forget about Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane are 3-1 (3-0 AAC), and their only loss came in close fashion against a solid Oklahoma State team. Considering the middling outside expectations for the team this season, it’s been a great start. But now things really kick into gear, with games against Navy, SMU, Tulane, Houston and Cincinnati to close the season. Navy enters 3-4 (3-2 AAC) and reeling a bit defensively after allowing 88 points the past two weeks in losses to Houston and SMU. But history is on the side of the Midshipmen, who lead the all-time series 6-1 and have won all five since the two became league foes.
UNLV vs. Fresno State
Storylines: First-year UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo is looking for his first win after leaving his post as Oregon’s offensive coordinator to take over a program that’s been to just one bowl game since 2000. Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer got his first win last week when the Bulldogs beat Colorado State 38-17. Washington transfer Jake Haener threw for 311 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. Defense has been the biggest issue for UNLV, which has lost its last two games to Fresno State by a combined 74 points.
North Texas vs. Louisiana Tech
Storylines: Louisiana Tech has won five of the last six in this series, but the Bulldogs will need a strong defensive showing to keep that success rolling this season against a North Texas team that hung 52 points on MTSU in its last game on Oct. 17. The same could be said about North Texas, too. The Mean Green have allowed 30 or more points in all five of their games this season. In short, there could be a lot of scoring in this game between mid-tier Conference USA foes.