By Lucas Owens
In a weird turn of events, due to games being postponed for a variety of reasons, the American Athletic has less games this week than last. On the bright side, we finally get to see this year’s version of ECU. Sadly, for them at least, they host No. 13 UCF. A fun week of matchups are to be had this week, so let’s get into it.
No. 13 UCF (-27) @ ECU
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, North Carolina on Saturday, September 26 @ 11:00 AM CST
Coming into this game, UCF has rattled off four straight victories, including a huge win over Georgia Tech last week. ECU, on the other hand, comes in off a rough year last year with a shred of hope for this year. The Pirates do return Holton Ahlers off a serviceable sophomore campaign, but the quarterback has a lot to prove in Greenville this year with a shortened schedule. With the new scheduling format, ECU shirks out of facing Memphis, but still has to duke it out against Cincinnati as well as UCF this week. On UCF’s side, quarterback Dillon Gabriel should have a fun weekend, as if he had that easy of a time dismantling Georgia Tech, and ECU’s squad should pose no problem for the sophomore from Hawaii. UCF should take this one, and I think they will beat the spread as well.
Prediction: UCF 56 – 24 ECU
Tulane (-3.5) @ Southern Mississippi
M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Saturday, September 26 @ 1:30 PM CST
It is safe to say Southern Mississippi has not had the best start to 2020, as the Golden Eagles have lost both to Louisiana Tech and South Alabama. On the flipside, Tulane did take their match with South Alabama, but just blew a 24-0 lead against Navy last week and did not score a single time in the second half. While the Golden Eagles’ Jack Abraham has shown promise at quarterback this year, having 578 yards to his name through two games, Tulane’s Keon Howard started okay against South Alabama, but had an abysmal performance in the Navy game. If the Green Wave are to win, it will take a great performance from him. Also look out for Tulane’s Tyjae Spears, as he can be a good rusher in a great backfield, and Southern Mississippi has a good front line, so that should be an intriguing matchup. I think Tulane should be slightly favored, as they are, but this game is looking like a complete toss up the closer we get.
Prediction: Tulane 24 – 21 Southern Mississippi
No. 14 Cincinnati (-13.5) v No. 22 Army
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday, September 26 @ 2:30 PM CST
If you are not hyped for this game, I do not have any words for you, except that you probably are not human. Army comes in off two straight drubbings of Louisiana Monroe and Mid Tenn State, respectively, in which they scored 79 and allowed just seven. That might not seem like a crazy amount to score on weaker opponents, until you factor in that Army runs a scheme known for taking a long time due to less clock stoppages, which means that their offense is firing on all cylinders right now. Cincinnati, meanwhile, did fine in their tune-up game last week, but that is exactly what Austin Peay was for the Bearcats: a tune-up. Now, they get the big boys from West Point coming into Nippert in what should be a very physical fight when Army has the ball. That alone is worth the price of admission, but factor in Cincy’s Quarterback Desmond Ridder on the other side? Yeah, this should be a really fun game.
Prediction: Cincinnati 28 – 21 Army
SMU (-34.5) v Stephen F. Austin
Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas on Saturday, September 26 @ 6:00 PM CST
SMU finally returns to Dallas after a few weeks on the road, and they do so as big winners over North Texas last week. Shane Buchele looked as good as ever behind center for the Mustangs there and should have no trouble against the Lumberjacks out of Stephen F. Austin. The only question is when you should change the channel to another game.
Prediction: SMU 49 – 14 Stephen F. Austin
Pow6r Game of the Week: No. 14 Cincinnati (-13.5) v No. 22 Army
If Cincinnati loses, they probably put up a good fight against a tough scheme. If they win, well, then it is clear that they have a really good chance of finally surmounting UCF and Memphis and taking the American Athletic Conference Championship this year, their first since 2014 when they shared the title with, you guessed it, UCF and Memphis.
Edited by Emma Moloney