Season record (straight-up, vs. spread): 13-4, 7-9-1
Temple at Houston (-7.5) — 9 p.m. — ESPNU
Houston was my preseason pick to win the AAC, and there are signs that the Cougs are finally figuring out how to win in 2014. Beating one-time AAC favorites Memphis is a good start (who thought we’d write that sentence in 2014?) but now the Cougs need to get some momentum rolling. They’re in a pile of 1-1 teams in the middle of the league, and they can bring Temple down to the muck with them with a strong performance Friday. The Owls haven’t done much against good teams this year — they’ve played their last three games against UConn, Tulsa, and Delaware State. Ultimately, I think Houston quarterback’s great play from last week (14-of-25, 168 yards passing, 95 yards rushing) continues, giving Houston the advantage.
Temple - 25
Houston - 35
Tulane at UCF (-20) — Noon — ESPNU
UCF has a nine-game AAC win streak that should reach 10, barring Tulane figuring itself out for the first time in a year (the Green Wave beat ECU in overtime Oct. 12 of last year. Since then, it’s been uninspiring.) The only question with this game is if UCF’s offense shows up. Justin Holman had a strong game last week against BYU (30-for-51, 326 yards), but that was his first good game of the year. If he goes back into his shell, can the Cougars muster enough offense to pull away?
Tulane - 21
UCF - 35
USF (-2) at Tulsa — Noon — ESPNews
This game opened even, but quickly shifted towards USF, and for good reason. Tulsa, as I have said on a weekly basis since starting these posts, is terrible. South Florida is offensively inept, but they seem to have something going on the defensive side, holding Wisconsin and ECU to under 30 points. Tulsa, on the other hand, has lost five-straight and could use a break. This is the week the Hurricane fights back, a bit — because if Tulsa doesn’t win this week, I can easily see them losing out. Two teams that need wins, two teams that don’t necessarily deserve them. There’s a lot better things to do at noon on a Saturday, but I’ll pick the Bulls in a sad, sad, sad football game.
USF - 35
Tulsa - 31
Cincinnati (-13) at SMU— 3:30 p.m. — CBSSN
This is a favorable margin for SMU, brought on by back-to-back covers. The real question here is Cincy’s defense, which is the worst in the country (I thought Tommy Tuberville was supposed to be a defensive expert…) SMU, on the other hand, is second to last in yards per play. Which crappy unit wins out? I have to side with the Bearcats — but I’m keen to pick a home underdog to cover here.
Cincinnati - 40
SMU - 30