Here are a few notes and observations from this past week four of the college football season, including some teams that look much improved, and a look ahead to week five.
UTEP – The Miners won their annual round or triangular robin with New Mexico and New Mexico State. UTEP beat New Mexico in Albuquerque and won at home against the Aggies. New Mexico beat the in-state rival Aggies in Las Cruces, but lost to UTEP at home. New Mexico State lost on the road to UTEP and at home to the Lobos. Confused? Just take away that UTEP is the best of this bunch and much improved on the year. UTEP has a very tough assignment in Manhattan against the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday. Remember, UTEP played Texas Tech very close in El Paso.
Wyoming – The Cowboys are 3-1 under new Head Coach Craig Bohl who came from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. Wyoming has squeaked by a good FCS Montana, Air Force and Florida Atlantic by a grand total of 10 points. The good news is that the Cowboys are halfway to being bowl qualified. The bad news is that they face Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday. They have a common opponent in Oregon with Wyoming losing 48-14 and Michigan State losing 46-27 a week earlier. Both games were in Eugene.
Memphis – The Tigers have been looking much better this year. They have already had one big test which they barely lost 42-35 in Pasadena to UCLA. Now they have another against regional rival Ole Miss in Oxford. The Tigers have had no problem putting up plenty of offense this season.
Arkansas State – The Red Wolves picked up a very nice win at home against Utah State on Saturday 21-14 in overtime. Credit the Sun Belt power Red Wolves for playing a tough non-conference schedule which also included games at Tennessee and at Miami. Arkansas State has a week off before opening Sun Belt play at home against homecoming opponent Louisiana-Monroe.
Old Dominion – The Monarchs won a Conference USA road game against defending champion Rice in a 45-42 upset Saturday. Since Old Dominion is a brand new member of C-USA this might just qualify as one of, if not the, biggest wins ever for the Monarchs. They stand a surprising 3-1 at this point with the other wins being at home against Eastern Michigan and FCS Hampton. Their loss is at NC State. The Monarchs host Middle Tennessee Friday night.
Kansas – The Jayhawks looked improved from the debacle at Duke the preceding week in their win at home against Central Michigan Saturday. Kansas used a simplified playbook and threw shorter passes which helped quarterback Montell Cozart have time to operate. They also featured multi-threat Tony Pierson and were able to get the ball in his hands. It worked and Charlie Weis perhaps found some new life or at least reduced the temperature of his seat a bit. Texas comes to Lawrence on Saturday. This would be huge for Weis if the Jayhawks could pull it off.