Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer 393d

Big 12 expansion candidate tracker: Week 4

Because any of these schools could receive an invite from the conference at any moment, we’re tracking the Big 12 expansion candidates on a weekly basis this season. Here’s what you need to know about how they fared during Week 4.

Team of the week: Air Force

We can’t give this honor to Houston each and every week of the season, so now is a good time to mix it up and give some recognition to a 3-0 Air Force squad that is flying under the radar (great pun). The Falcons had it pretty easy to start the season -- FCS Abilene Christian, Georgia State, then a bye week -- but earned a solid 27-20 win over Utah State in their Mountain West opener. Their defense led the way, turning two takeaways into touchdowns to help swing a tight ballgame. They’ll get an even better test this week against 3-0 Navy.

Player of the week: Houston WR D’Eriq King. The true freshman moved from quarterback to receiver before his debut season and showed Texas State why he was an ESPN 300 athlete recruit coming out of high school. King became the first player in UH history to record a receiving touchdown (48 yards on a screen), passing touchdown (15 yards on a trick play) and return touchdown (99 yards on a kickoff) all in one game.

Fun fact: Houston has the No. 1 run defense in college football. The Cougars are giving up an average of 37 rushing yards per game through four games at a preposterous rate of 1.45 rushing yards per attempt. Todd Orlando’s defense has stopped 41 of 102 rushing attempts at or behind the line of scrimmage and allowed only five rushes of more than 10 yards.

Not-fun fact: Colorado State true freshman quarterback Collin Hill almost got decapitated in the Rams’ loss to Minnesota. You’re going to be seeing this one on TV for a long time: defensive end Tai'yon Devers comes off the edge and blindsides Hill, knocking the helmet off his head and the ball out of his hands. To his credit, Hill kept playing after that nasty blast.

Games to watch: We’ve got three good ones this weekend featuring Big 12 expansion contenders. First up, start your week with Connecticut vs. Houston on ESPN on Thursday night. Only one team has defeated UH during the Herman era, and that’s the Huskies. Then keep an eye on the showdown of Air Force and Navy on Saturday afternoon before USF and Cincinnati clash Saturday night on ESPNU.

Big 12 Expansion weekly standings

1. No. 6 Houston (4-0): 64-3 win at Texas State

2. South Florida (3-1): 55-35 loss to No. 13 Florida State

3. Air Force (3-0): 27-20 win at Utah State

4. Cincinnati (3-1): 27-20 win against Miami (Ohio)

5. BYU (1-3): 35-32 loss to West Virginia

6. UConn (2-2): 31-24 loss to Syracuse

7. SMU (2-2): 33-3 loss to TCU

8. Colorado State (2-2): 31-24 loss at Minnesota

9. UCF (2-2): 53-14 win at FIU

10. Tulane (2-2): 41-39 win against Louisiana-Lafayette

11. Rice (0-4): 42-35 (2 OT) loss to North Texas

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