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Thursday, October 21, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 43

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The best of the best

C-USA's best teams, players are among the best in the nation

By Sharif Talukder
C-USA Football Notebook 

Let's look back at the week of Cougar football.

The Cougars defeated a former Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse in North Carolina 20-12, which allowed the UH players to make a huge impact in the Conference USA's Player of the Week honors.

Ketric Sanford

On offense, senior running back Ketric Sanford is the first Cougar to be named Player of the Week on the offensive side of the ball. Sanford rushed for a team-high 157 yards on 21 carries to help defeat the Tar Heels. His only touchdown of the game, a 61-yard run, gave the Cougars a 14-0 lead after which they never looked back.

On the defensive side, there are two players who share the honor this week.

One of them is UH linebacker Wayne Rogers, who had nine tackles for the game. He is the second Defensive Player of the Week for the Cougars, safety Mike James (for his performance against Rice on Sept. 4) being the other one.

Rogers helped lead the Cougars' defense by adding two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup as the defense held the Tar Heels to only 126 net yards.

The Cougar defense is now ranked ninth in the nation in total defense, giving up only 266 yards per game.

Defensive back Leo Barnes from Southern Miss is the other Defensive Player of the Week. He led the Golden Eagles' defense to shut out Army 24-0. This is the second straight week Barnes has been named Defensive Player of the Week.


Junior defensive back Leo Barnes of Southern Miss was recentl named C-USA's Defensive Player of the Week.

Photo courtesy of Southern Mississippi

Special Teams Player of the Week is Seth Marler, a kicker from Tulane. Marler went four-for-four in field goal attempts in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

A quick look at C-USA

Now that we are more than halfway through the season, C-USA can be proud of what it has accomplished this year.

The conference has two teams ranked in the top 25, which is equal to the number of teams from Pacific-10, Mountain West, Western Athletic, Big West, and the Mid-American Conference.

In the latest Sagarin Ratings, C-USA ranks sixth and trails the Big East and Southeastern Conference, both by less than a point.

Also, there have been some big wins by C-USA this season. Cincinnati beat Wisconsin on Sept. 18, East Carolina defeated Miami-Florida on Sept. 25 and we can't forget about the Cougars' win over UNC last week.

C-USA supporters will also be happy to note that the University of Alabama-Birmingham has had a successful first season in C-USA and can only help this conference grow into being as a first-tier conference in the near future.

The best quarterbacks in the nation are not in the SEC, Big 10, or PAC-10, but in C-USA. Louisville's Chris Redman, Tulane's Patrick Ramsey and East Carolina's David Garrard could be the best trio in college football.

They all rank in the top 25 in total offense, with Ramsey in first and Redman in seventh. Also, they helped place their schools in the top 30 in total offense.

Last Week's Results

Houston 20, North Carolina 12; No. 25 Southern Miss 24, Army 0; Louisville 32, Memphis 31; UAB 24, Cincinnati 21 (OT); Tulane 48, Louisiana-Lafayette 32.

Conference Standings

Southern Miss (4-2, 3-0 C-USA)

UAB (3-3, 2-1 C-USA)

East Carolina (5-1, 1-1 C-USA)

Houston (4-2, 1-1 C-USA)

Louisville (4-3, 1-1 C-USA)

Tulane (3-3, 1-1 C-USA)

Memphis (2-5, 1-1 C-USA)

Army (2-4, 1-3 C-USA)

Cincinnati (2-4, 0-2 C-USA)

Game of the Week

There are actually two games of the week, both of which will help shape the C-USA race further.

When Houston travels to Louisville this Saturday, the best of both worlds collide. Louisville's offensive power can not be matched by any offense in the nation. Then there's Houston, whose defense is ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

The winner of this game will be a step closer to going to a bowl game, while the loser will have no chance to win the conference. With Southern Miss being the only hurdle right now, the winner will look to lock up a bowl bid to either the Mobile Alabama Bowl or the Humanitarian Bowl.

This game will be on Channel 55 at 1 p.m.

The other big game this week is Tulane at East Carolina. Like Houston and Louisville, both are fighting for a bowl birth. Both have only one loss in conference and the winner could be in control of a bowl bid.

Also, both teams are going to be fun to watch. Tulane is ranked ninth in total offense and quarterback Patrick Ramsey tops C-USA in total offense. East Carolina is one of the surprise teams in the nation. The Pirates also have a good offense led by quarterback David Garrard.

A win by the Pirates will give them great position to go to a bowl game. Houston is the only team that is left on the Pirates' schedule that could give the Pirates a hassle.

T.V. Listings

Saturday:

11 a.m. -- Miami at Boston College on CBS; Michigan State at Wisconsin on ESPN2; Ohio State at Minnesota on ESPN; Michigan at Illinois on Channel 51.

1 p.m. -- Houston at Louisville on Channel 55.

2 p.m. -- Tulane at No. 20 East Carolina on Fox Sports Net.

2:30 p.m. -- Tennessee at Alabama on CBS; Nebraska at Texas on ABC.

4 p.m. -- Louisiana State at Mississippi State on ESPN2.

6 p.m. -- Florida State at Clemson on ESPN; Oklahoma at Texas A&M on Fox Sports Net.

7 p.m. -- Colorado State at Wyoming on ESPN2.
 

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