\By Lucas Owens
This week, while not the most exciting in the American Athletic Conference, does have some intriguing matchups. Cincinnati hosts Memphis in a rematch of last years championship game, Navy visits SMU, and UCF and Houston battle once again, so there are a few very good matchups to look forward to.
ECU (+16.5) @ Tulsa
Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday, October 30 @ 8:00 PM CST
This game, on paper, really should not be close at all. ECU and quarterback Holton Ahlers have struggled for weeks on offense, and Tulsa is the exact opposite of the team you want to play to get your groove back. Their front seven is just too much to handle, and I have a feeling no matter what Tulsa’s offense does, it will be enough to win this matchup. Quarterback Zach Smith has been the embodiment of “good enough” in the Golden Hurricane wins this year, so ultimately, Tulsa should easily get it done this week.
Prediction: ECU 14 – 35 Tulsa
Memphis (+6.5) @ No. 7 Cincinnati (Pow6r Game of the Week)
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday, October 31 @ 11:00 AM CST
Cincinnati had a huge win last week over SMU, but the road gets no easier as they have to contend with a Memphis team hot off wins against UCF and Temple at home. Considering how many yards Memphis has allowed per game, though, and Cincinnati’s road to success should be well traveled. Memphis allows a horrendous 567 yards per game, which even though Cincy does not have the best offense, should be used to quarterback Desmond Ridder’s advantage. Ridder had his best game in a while last week, so I would watch his performance in what should be a good game for the Bearcats.
Prediction: Memphis 28 – 35 Cincinnati
Temple (+4) @ Tulane
Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday, October 31 @ 11:00 AM CST
If there is one game this week that you do not watch, this should probably be it. But that is not to say that this matchup is not intriguing at all. Temple quarterback Anthony Russo finally got his groove back against Memphis last week, and although he ended up with a loss in that matchup, Tulane’s bad pass defense should be easily exploited by him. Tulane, on the other hand, is still searching for their quarterback of the future in week 9, but hopefully for Michael Pratt, he is the answer for the Green Wave. For once, I am going to go against the spread, and say I think Temple will come out on top in this matchup.
Prediction: Temple 42 – 38 Tulane
UCF (-2.5) @ Houston
TDECU Stadium, Houston, Texas on Saturday, October 31 @ 1:00 PM CST
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” A Tale of Two Cities, but also an apt description of UCF’s and Houston’s seasons up to this point. Houston has bounced back behind quarterback Clayton Tune, leading them to a 2-1 record thus far, but UCF is 3-2 themselves after two debilitating losses to Memphis and Tulsa. UCF still looks to be a fantastic team, but they need to get themselves on good footing before I would say they are one of the best in the conference again. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel should shine in this matchup, but still, it will probably be a good, close game in Houston.
Navy (+12.5) @ SMU
Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas on Saturday, October 31 @ 6:30 PM CST
Last year, this game was the decisive matchup that pretty much ended SMU’s chance to win the conference, but this year, it is just another game to the Mustangs. Navy has not looked the greatest this year, and that can be largely attributed to the lack of a quarterback to run their system. Dalen Morris has been the best option for the Midshipmen so far, but he still just has 439 yards through six games. The bigger problem is their lack of rushing, as the lost of Malcolm Perry is being felt through all three of their losses. SMU, on the other hand, has a high flying offense and a defense that knows how to play the triple option since they play it every year, so the Mustangs will most likely come out on top in Dallas.
Edited by Emma Moloney