By Lucas Owens
The American is starting to heat up, with many teams getting into their second conference game and some great matchups. Temple and ECU have this week’s Thursday night matchup, and UCF and Cincy take an encore Friday night with a heated matchup at Nippert Stadium as the rematch of last year’s game on college gameday. USF looks to stop their downward spiral against UCONN, and SMU continues their great season, hosting Tulsa.
Temple (-11.5) @ ECU
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville N.C. Thursday, October 3 at 7:00 PM CST
The Temple “revenge for Buffalo” trip hits another stop this week, as the Owls go to Greenville to play an outmatched ECU. Temple looks like they have the edge over ECU on both sides of the ball this week, but then again, they also looked like they did against Buffalo. Temple’s win last week over Georgia Tech was an emotional one, and I think the Owls will not let this Thursday night matchup get ahead of them. For ECU, if they can pull off the upset, they come one more win closer to gaining a surprise bowl eligibility, but with a loss they are pretty much in the same position they were before, as this was definitely not one the Pirates are expected to win.
Prediction: Temple 28 – 14 ECU
#18 UCF (-3.5) @ Cincinnati
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio. Friday, October 4 at 7:00 PM CST
Exactly 24 hours after Temple-ECU kicks off, the AAC East features another intense divisional game, with Cincinnati hosting UCF. Both teams come off insanely strong performances last week and look to do the same Friday night. This matchup is one, along with when both teams play Temple, that will most likely decide who wins the AAC East. For the Bearcats, UCF has been an opponent they have been dreading the past few years, but this game is a great opportunity for Cincy to staple their place on top of the AAC East. For UCF, Cincy is an opponent that the Knights have to take seriously, and play cohesively against, to beat. Whoever wins this one will put themselves in a good position to win the AAC East in the most impactful early AAC game since UCF beat Memphis in Orlando a few years ago at the start of their first undefeated season in what would be Memphis’ only regular season loss of 2017.
Prediction: UCF 42 – 38 Cincinnati
USF (-11) @ UCONN
Pratt & Whitney Stadium and Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn. Saturday, October 5 at 11:00 AM CST
Both UCONN and USF have not been having the most prosperous of seasons this year and are definitely on a downward trend. USF coach Charlie Strong has more in this game than might first appear, as a loss here could seal his fate of losing his job at the end of the season, or even before. UCONN does not have a lot going for them this year, with their one win being by three against FCS Wagner, and their last season in the AAC looks to be going like they have in recent years: bad. Not much is lost, though, with them having to shift to another conference or becoming independent last year, and a program that continues to neglect their football program does not get good results – go figure.
Prediction: USF 28 – 14 UCONN
Tulane (-3) @ Army
Michie Stadium, West Point, N.Y. Saturday, October 5 at 11:00 AM CST
Tulane re-enters play this week after a week and a half off and are currently looking straight into their first of two opponents this year running the triple option. Army’s only loss this year is a close defeat at the hands of Michigan, so they are certainly a formidable foe for the Green Wave. QB Justin McMillan will have the biggest test, as Army’s front line is used to defending against running quarterbacks, and McMillan is still slightly rough at passing the ball. I have a feeling that this one will ride off of McMillan’s ability to throw and how quick the defense can get off the field, both of which I am not quite sure of yet, but I still think the Green Wave will be able to get it done against the Army Black Knights.
Prediction: Tulane 24 – 21 Army
Navy (+3.5) v Air Force
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md. Saturday, October 5 at 2:30 PM CST
Navy faces off against fellow service academy Air Force this week who, after a few down years, look incredibly improved this year. Their one loss comes by 11 to Boise State, who have had the Falcons’ number for years. For Navy, Air Force represents a tough opponent who can show the Midshipmen exactly who they are this year. If their triple option offense, and especially QB Malcolm Perry, get back up to speed, they can control the pace and do very well against Air Force. Air Force comes up as the favorite in this one, but I think it is more of an even matchup than anything. However, I still think Air Force will come out ahead in a very tight one.
Prediction: Air Force 21 – 20 Navy
Memphis (-14.5) @UL Monroe
Malone Stadium, Monroe, La. Saturday, October 5 at 2:45 PM CST
Memphis comes off a resurgent win, and UL Monroe just beat South Alabama, who Memphis previously beat by 36. Memphis is by far the favorite in this matchup and should have no problem with UL Monroe. The Tigers should use this game as another one to not take lightly, but to also use as a tune up heading into the bulk of their AAC play. The Tigers’ defense should have a handle on the Warhawks and come in strong until the end of the game where they bring in their backups.
Prediction: Memphis 62 – 10 UL Monroe
Tulsa (+13) @ #24 SMU
Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas. Saturday, October 5 at 6:30 PM CST
Tulsa has a tough test for them this weekend, with SMU coming in red hot after two huge victories. QB Shane Buchele looked better than ever against USF last week, so don’t be surprised if he brings that level of play again. Tulsa’s defense is good enough to present a great problem for SMU’s defense, but their offense has to keep up with the Mustangs to have a chance in this game. Whether QB Zach Smith can do that is up for debate. SMU should keep on rolling though and come away with a good victory to begin AAC West play.
Prediction: Tulsa 14 – 49 SMU
Americ6n Game of the Week: #18 UCF @ Cincinnati
UCF and Cincinnati both have looked very dominant recently, so it is no surprise that this game is getting the spotlight this week. UCF and Cincy can both keep up with each other offensively and play good enough defense to pose a problem.
This week’s American Athletic Conference slate looks mighty interesting, so make sure to check out everything that happened next Monday for The Most Americ6n Recap!
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org