By Lucas Owens
The American Athletic Conference had quite a good break between Weeks 6 and 7. While UCF dropped out of the AP Poll expectedly, both Memphis and Cincinnati found their way to joining SMU as the three AAC teams ranked. While that is deservedly a great occasion, the rest of the AAC barrels on and we have another great week of conference action, with just one non-conference game to go along with four in-conference games. Sadly though, there is no Thursday night AAC mania this week, with all the games on Saturday.
#23 Memphis (-4) @ Temple
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Penn. Saturday, October 12 at 11:00 AM CST
Memphis enters their closest spread game so far this year when they go to visit the Temple Owls, and this one has all the makings of a fantastic early morning game. Memphis comes off a dominant win over UL Monroe, and Temple has a week and a half between ECU and this game, providing them a little bit of extra rest before this tough matchup. Temple’s defense is one of the best Memphis faces this season, and the Owls’ offense has enough firepower to keep up with Memphis all around. QB Anthony Russo is the key player to watch once again for the Owls, as he will need to have an extraordinary game passing to allow Temple to win. This game is likely going to be so close that I think it will come down to who makes the least mistakes, but even then, it is still an incredibly close matchup in my eyes. Ultimately, I think Temple will once again play spoiler to a top 25 team at home and upset the Tigers just as soon as they enter the AP Poll.
Prediction: Memphis 28 – 31 Temple
#25 Cincinnati (-7.5) @ Houston
TDECU Stadium, Houston, Texas. Saturday, October 12 at 2:30 PM CST
Cincinnati comes into this game red hot from their home win over UCF, but this matchup against Houston is nothing for the Bearcats to take easy. Houston also comes in off a bounce back win over North Texas and are making a newfound push behind replacement QB Clayton Tune. Their defense also came to play two weekends ago, and a win here could push them back to .500 after a terrible 1-3 start. QB Desmond Ridder for the Bearcats is a huge key in this game, as his play against UCF was one of the main factors for their victory and he has been showing huge signs of improvement so far this year since the Bearcats lost big at Ohio State. Cincy should be taking the Cougars seriously, but I still think despite possibly having a scare the Bearcats will come out on top.
Prediction: Cincinnati 38 – 31 Houston
USF (+6.5) v BYU
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. Saturday, October 12 at 2:30 PM CST
The only non-conference matchup this week is a doozy, as the struggling BYU Cougars visit the struggling USF Bulls. BYU is coming fresh off a loss to Toledo, and USF got a huge win last week against UCONN. BYU has been very up and down this season, as they have wins over both USC and Tennessee, with losses to Utah, Washington and Toledo. However, BYU has done a better job this season of staying competitive, while USF has struggled all season against good competition. Bulls QB Jordan McCloud has had a little but of an up-and-down season, but BYU is a good chance to prove himself and get the team behind him. Overall though, I think the Bulls can make this competitive, but BYU should still come out on top.
USF 14 – 17 BYU
UCONN (+34) @ Tulane
Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, La. Saturday, October 12 at 2:45 PM CST
Tulane enters as huge favorites, including an insane 98.2 percent chance to win from the ESPN Football Power Index. Tulane’s win over Army last week allowed to Green Wave to burst onto the national scene, and their momentum from the last few weeks should continue as they get deeper into AAC play. Their schedule heats up in the next few weeks, so this has a big chance of being a trap game for Tulane if they let off the gas, but I think they should come out hard enough to put it away early. For UCONN, they are on a huge downward spiral with their only win being by three points against FCS Wagner, and they need to be competitive in this game to have any chance of making this season productive at all. Their last season in the AAC has been going down in flames, and right now it looks like there’s going to be no change in that department.
UCONN 14 – 52 Tulane
Navy @ Tulsa (EVEN)
Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Okla. Saturday, October 12 at 6:30 PM CST
You know a game is going to be good when there is no spread for it. This one is looking very even, as both are coming off great performances in Week 6, with Navy unexpectedly beating Air Force and Tulsa pushing SMU to three overtimes. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, which I am resorting to with no spread, Tulsa is the slight favorite with a 58.8 percent chance to win, but still this should be a very competitive game. Tulsa has had a huge resurgence on defense this year, and Navy will be an excellent test for just how much stamina they have. Lasting through the game last week was a problem, especially in the fourth quarter, so Navy’s triple option threat will be a great opportunity to test the depth of Tulsa’s defense.
Prediction: Navy 14 – 17 Tulsa
Game of the Week: Navy @ Tulsa
As just said, this game should be a slow-paced defensive slugfest. If you are a big fan of two great defenses going head to head, this game is for you.
Thank you for checking out this article, and make sure to check out the recap for this week’s action next Monday.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org