Neither division is decided quite yet, and these next two weeks should provide us with some entertaining football. UCF and Memphis are the front-runners for the East and West, respectively, but both teams need to play hard until the end. Memphis has a tough matchup this week, and the Knights need to focus on this week and not get caught looking ahead to next week.
P6 Pick’em records- Joe: 63-15 Joey: 65-13
Game of the Week
SMU at #21 Memphis (Memphis -13, Saturday 11:00am CT)
Don’t be deceived by the spread, this game can be closer than that. Everyone knows about the offensive firepower for both teams, but it’s going to be which defense can stop the other offense that determines the outcome.
SMU finds themselves in a bit of a skid, but not a skid that should put fans into panic mode. Losing by a combined 10 points to UCF and Navy isn’t something to freak out about, but it doesn’t get easier this week. The offense has started off the last two games slow, and the Mustangs were digging themselves out of holes in both contests. UCF and Navy combined to score 74 total points against the Mustangs, and it (once again) comes down to if their defense can get multiple stops. So far, that answer has been no.
Memphis’ defense has drastically improved now that they’ve experienced some good health on that side of the ball. The youth that struggled in the beginning of the season is now improving and making key plays at big moments. It doesn’t hurt that the offense has continued to put points on the scoreboard, but that’s what makes this teams so dangerous. The Tigers need a win or a Houston loss to clinch the West, and a solid win over SMU would build a lot of momentum heading into next week and into the conference championship.
Joe: Memphis 47 - SMU 38
Joey: Memphis 44 SMU 30
Rest of the AAC
Tulsa at USF (USF -13, Thursday 6:30pm CT)
This should be a Bulls blowout, but we’ve seen some crazy things from Tulsa before. USF still controls their own destiny, and a win would put them in position to win the division with another win next week. Quinton Flowers hasn’t received the recognition he probably deserves, but that all could change in the next two weeks. His team just needs to start fast for once.
Joe: USF 44 - Tulsa 23
Joey: USF 31 Tulsa 17
#15 UCF at Temple (UCF -14, Saturday 11:00am CT)
Just like their Florida counterparts, UCF can’t get caught looking ahead to next week. A loss doesn’t ruin anything, but it would put a damper on the season. If a New Year’s bowl game is their goal, winning the AAC is the biggest step to meet it. That starts Saturday against a suddenly hot Temple team. Frank Nutile has taken over at quarterback, and he’s been a big reason for the Owls’ success. They will need him to play his best game against a Knights team that can score in a hurry.
Joe: UCF 34 - Temple 28
Joey: UCF 38 Temple 17
Cincinnati at ECU (Cincinnati -3.5, Saturday 11:00am CT)
A battle to not be the worst team in the conference, essentially. Both teams are building for next year, and Cincinnati might have their hands full. The Bearcats inconsistent offense faces a bad ECU defense, but which one will beat the other?
Joe: Cincinnati 27 - ECU 21
Joey: ECU 24 Cincinnati 23
Navy at #8 Notre Dame (Notre Dame -18.5, Saturday 2:30pm CT)
Notre Dame was embarrassed on national television, and their offense is looking to rebound quickly. Might be just the defense they needed to face in order to do so. Expect to see the Irish offense to torch the Midshipmen defense.
Joe: Notre Dame 45 - Navy 23
Joey: Notre Dame 44 Navy 20
Houston at Tulane (Houston -9.5, Saturday 3:00pm CT)
This game was closer than the score indicated last year, but that shouldn’t be the case this year. Tulane is headed in the wrong direction after a promising start, while Houston struggled early and is just beginning to catch fire. The Green Wave rushing attack will have to stop Ed Oliver if they want to be successful, otherwise the passing game will need to step up. Oh, and they need to find a way to slow down D’Eriq King.
Joe: Houston 38 - Tulane 23
Joey: Houston 34 Tulane 20
Boston College at UConn (Boston College -21.5, Saturday 6:00pm CT)
If you haven’t heard AJ Dillon’s name by now, you will. Boston College’s offense finally has some spark, and Dillon should find plenty of green grass on Saturday.
Joe: Boston College 34 - UConn 17
Joey: Boston College 45 UConn 23