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P6 Pick’em: SMU and Navy’s defenses are in for real tests

A deep offense faces a unique one, and their defenses have struggled all year.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Southern Methodist Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 may be light on games, but not on potential shifts in the conference. Three of the top four teams are off this week, but teams five and six in our Power Rankings face off. Our P6 Pick’em records continue to stay close. Joe picked the Temple upset of Navy to gain back a game, but the Cincinnati win over Tulane was one that neither one of us anticipated.

P6 Pick’em Records- Joe: 60-14 Joey: 62-12

Game of the Week

SMU at Navy (Navy -4.5, Saturday 2:30pm CT)

Who is Navy? Right now, it appears that they are an average team at best, and are heading in the wrong direction. Three straight losses have the Midshipmen in disarray, and it doesn’t get easier. Even Zach Abey’s return last week wasn’t enough for Navy to erase 34-13 deficit. Now, they face an offense that can beat their defense in numerous ways.

SMU had UCF on the ropes. Literally had the best team in the conference, who nobody had touched all year, on the ropes. But couldn’t quite come through. Maybe that’s a sign of how the Mustangs will end year, and maybe their defense is going to lead the way. SMU’s defensive unit has been the problem all year, and it’s been the offense’s responsibility to win the game. Even against the Knights, SMU lost by seven, but allowed 615 yards of offense. Same story, different week. But, man, can there offense exploit a defense.

Teams have been trying to slow down the Mustangs all season, and started by double teaming Courtland Sutton. In stepped LSU trasnfer Trey Quinn, and took some pressure off of his fellow receiver. UCF tried to take away both last week. So, James Proche stepped in. And right when you think you have this offense figured out, a combination of Xavier Jones, Braeden West, and Ke’Mon Freeman come at you. Good luck stopping that.

Navy being favored is fairly confusing, but it’s hard to make a strong case against the Midshipmen. We’ve been saying all year that the triple option is so hard to stop, and that might be why Navy is favored. Sure, they are in the midst of a three game losing streak, but the returning starters know how to win football games. Their defense is just what worries us.

Joe: SMU 38 - Navy 31

Joey: SMU 32 Navy 28

Rest of the AAC

Temple at Cincinnati (Temple -2.5, Friday 6:00pm CT)

Temple is coming off of a huge upset over Navy. With the program going from the top of the conference to near the bottom, the Owls needed a change. In stepped Frank Nutile, and the team looks different offensively. Hopefully that change continues to take the pressure off of the defense.

Cincinnati is coming off of their own surprising win, beating Tulane 17-16 last week. Inconsistent offensive production has been the problem all year, but the defense has been solid. The Bearcats held the Green Wave to just 132 yards on the ground last week, and might have to hope that the offense duplicates last week’s performance.

Joe: Temple 30 - Cincinnati 24

Joey: Temple 24 Cincinnati 21

UConn at #18 UCF (UCF -38.5, Saturday 11:00am CT)

The line is 38.5, what more do we need to say?

Joe: UCF 51 - UConn 17

Joey: UCF 44 UConn 10

Tulane at ECU (Tulane -5, Saturday 6:00pm CT)

This matchup suddenly has become intriguing, which is not what Tulane wants to hear at this point in the season. The Green Wave need to win the rest of their games to become bowl eligible, but that starts against an offense that might be gaining some traction. ECU lost to Houston last week, but the offense seemed to come alive. At least in the passing game. With a nonexistent rushing attack, Gardner Minshew threw for 468 yards. For reference, ECU had 504 total yards.

Tulane may have their hands full, but their own rushing attack might come alive this week. ECU’s defense continues to be porous, and that may be just what the Green Wave need to get one win closer to bowl eligibility.

Joe: Tulane 27 - ECU 20

Joey: Tulane 21 ECU 17