The Houston Cougars signed their RSVP card to the AAC championship by beating Navy at their own game
Led by Junior Brandon Wilson with 111 yards and 2 scores, Houston would finish with 218 yards rushing. Houston's loss to UConn ended with 110 yards rushing total, Wilson topped that by himself against a defense, on paper, that is Top-25 in the nation.
Greg Ward Jr. was sensational finishing with 308 yards passing, 83 yards rushing, and 4 total touchdowns. Houston was very Navy-esque with dynamic dual-threat quarterback play and a decisive effort running the ball. The Cougar's defense stepped up as well, allowing only 147 rushing yards to a team that averages over 330-per-game.
Demarcus Ayers was redonkulous. 8 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. But Ayers isn't just a receiver, he can throw TDs as well.
Houston opens up as 7 point favorites against Temple when they play for the American Athletic Conference Championship in Houston on December 5th.
USF may be the hottest team in the AAC..
after finishing 5-1 the last half of the regular season. The last half featured a 65-27 blowout of Cincinnati and a decisive 44-27 win against a #22 Temple team that was undefeated in conference play at the time. Quintin Flowers is only a sophomore and is already playing at a near elite level. Next year if he limits his turnovers and they carry the momentum from this season, the rest of the AAC is in trouble. Let's not forget the 230 yards and 2 touchdowns that Marlon Mack put up against Temple either. He too, is only a sophomore.
Top AAC programs are losing their coaches, but...
Justin Fuente is headed to Blacksburg. Temple's Matt Rhule has been tied to coaching vacancies at Missouri, Virginia, and Maryland. Rob Ryan may be the next head coach for Tulane. Even though Fuente and Rhule may be gone in the next few weeks, bringing in Meacham and Ryan will continue the upward swing of AAC football.
As a TCU student I was enamored by the fact that TCU was in the WAC when I first had heard about the "horny toads" and attended TCU when the Frogs first joined the Big 12 in 2012 and finished with a painful 4-8 season. We were always the Underdogs. Gary Patterson hasn't even thought about leaving the small school in Fort Worth, even when "better" coaching jobs opened up. 14 long years later, TCU would end up as Big 12 Champions and finished 10-2 this year, putting an exclamation point on an otherwise disappointing season with a win over loathed rival, Baylor.
This is an approach I wish more coaches would take. There is no real reason that Memphis can't become a major contender in the college football landscape considering the amount of college football talent that comes from within a few hours of Memphis. The same goes for Temple. Sure Philly isn't a college football town, but College Gameday showed that it could be. Hopefully Dino Babers at UCF, and whoever takes over at Tulane will look to make a stamp on that program. Especially when the land that they occupy is ripe with talent.