By Lucas Owens
Rarely do we see the amount of good games in the American Athletic on a weekday, but that is what we have tonight, as the Friday slate is incredible. Only one ranked team in the American gets to play this weekend though, as the game between Cincinnati and Tulsa was forced to be postponed.
No. 17 SMU (-6.5) @ Tulane
Shane Buchele and SMU get right back on their horse and ride down to Yulman Stadium in what should be an easily doable game for the Mustangs. Tulane has struggled so far this year against weaker teams in the American, and considering how SMU has played so far, that is not them. Quarterback Shane Buchele is off to a great start with 1326 yards passing and 10 touchdowns through four games, and SMU has managed to put down some good teams along the way. The Mustangs do have a little bit of tightening up to do on defense, but except for that, expect for them to come out on top.
Prediction: SMU 42 – 28 SMU
Houston (+5) v No. 14 BYU
Now that Houston has finally played a game, it is time for them to have a big test against the 14th ranked team in the country, BYU. Likewise, Houston will easily be BYU’s biggest test yet. The BYU Cougars have dominated most of their games, but showed some signs of weakness last week against UTSA, where they only won by a single score to a much inferior opponent. Quarterback Zach Wilson has his work cut out for him this week, as Houston’s defense looks much better than it did last year, and Clayton Tune has become a serviceable quarterback for Houston. If Houston can get a handle on their turnovers, they have a good shot in this game. However, I think BYU has just a little more firepower and that will be enough for them to get it done.
Prediction: Houston 28 – 35 BYU
USF (+11.5) @ Temple
Temple may have had a rough start to their season last week in a close loss against Navy, but they are doing worlds better than the USF Bulls. USF only has one win, against FCS The Citadel, and has not been nearly competitive in any of their matchups since. Temple needs to get a handle on their offense and actually do something there, as if they do they have a good shot of rebounding and competing through the rest of their conference schedule. This game against USF should be the perfect opportunity for the Owls to do so.
Prediction: USF 21 – 38 Temple
Navy (-2.5) @ ECU
Going into this year, I would expect this game to be a landslide in Navy’s favor, but ECU looked surprisingly good on offense last week at USF and Navy has really struggled to move the ball against okay defenses. Navy is the slight favorites, but the Pirates have the advantage of a much better offense, and hopefully quarterback Holton Ahlers can get things figured out so ECU can have a good game. ECU’s defense will be the key to this game, as it usually happens to be when a team plays Navy. If they stop the Midshipmen in their tracks on the first few drives, ECU will be in the driver’s seat, but if they cannot, it will probably be all over for the Pirates.
Prediction: Navy 21 – 24 ECU
UCF (-3) @ Memphis (Pow6r Game of the Week)
Like the game before it, this matchup looked very different before both teams lost a game this year. Now, it does not have near the hype it did beforehand. UCF struggled mightily against Tulsa’s front line, but Memphis has a suspect at best defensive line which should help quarterback Dillon Gabriel. The key for Memphis will be quarterback Brady White, and if he can get close to his performance last year during Memphis’ unbeaten streak. The Tigers have their work cut out for them against an improved UCF defense though, so I am going to take the Knights.
Prediction: UCF 49 – 42 Memphis
Edited by Emma Moloney