Houston has not gotten off to the start many were hoping for with Dan Holgorsen at the helm. But a 1-2 record with losses coming against two of the top programs in the country (Oklahoma and Washington State) is nothing to be ashamed of. Especially when an American Athletic Conference title is still very achievable. That run begins on Thursday night when the Cougars head to New Orleans to take on Tulane. 

The Green Wave, meanwhile, head into this matchup with a 2-1 mark with the lone loss coming at the hands of SEC powerhouse Auburn. Outside of that showdown with the Tigers, Tulane has been lighting up the scoreboards and could be in for another shootout come Thursday night. Let's take a closer look at what to expect from New Orleans between these two teams.


Houston: A 1-2 record is discouraging, but Houston's skill talent offers optimism. The Cougs have the most electric quarterback in the conference in D'Eriq King, and through three games, Texas transfer Kyle Porter appears to have emerged as the bellcow running back Holgorsen will lean on this season.

Tulane: Tulane has no identity crisis. Behind quarterback Justin McMillan and a stable of talented running backs, the Green Wave are going to attack on the ground and maul you up front. Houston's run defense, which gave up 354 yards on the ground to OU in Week 1, will be pushed to the limits here in Week 4 by Tulane ground attack.

Viewing information

Date: Thursday, Sept. 19 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Yulman Stadium -- New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN.com  

Game prediction, pick

SportsLine has Tulane as a five-point favorite in its home conference opener, but I'm leaning Houston here. The 1-2 record is deceiving considering the competition it has played. I think the Cougars go on the road and steal a win in Holgorsen's debut in AAC play. Pick: Houston +5

So what picks can you make with confidence in Week 4, and which national title contender gets a huge scare? Visit SportsLine to see which college football teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,500 in profit over the past four seasons.