For how concerned we were in the latest AAC pawdcast, our picks were perfect. 11-0 for both Joe’s last week, but that might not be the case in Week 2. Some games, mostly Cincinnati and ECU’s game, will be obvious while others might as well be a coin flip. USF vs UConn and Memphis at UCF were canceled due to Hurricane Irma, so there will be two less games this week.
P6 Pick’em Records- Joe: 12-0 Joey: 12-0
Game of the Week
Houston at Arizona (Houston -1, Saturday at 9:30pm CT)
It’s finally time for the Cougars to play a game, and it’s not going to be easy. Houston heads out west to take on a Wildcats team that is trying to get their coach off the hot seat. Rich Rodriguez has struggled the last couple years in Tucson, and Arizona needs to make a bowl game to keep him around. Houston’s first game against UTSA was canceled due to circumstances surrounding Hurricane Harvey, and could be a little rusty.
Arizona is coming off a 62-24 win over Northern Arizona, but we didn’t learn much in that win. Quarterback Brandon Dawkins only threw for 89 yards mostly because the running game was dominant. His backfield partner, Nick Wilson, is questionable for this game, and that could have a big impact in the outcome. Dawkins is not an elite passer, and Houston’s run defense should be elite once again this year.
Defensively, Arizona needs to improve. Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles picked off two passes, but the Wildcats did give up 24 points to an FCS team. If they let Houston’s new signal caller get comfortable, it could be a long night.
Houston quarterback Kyle Allen finally makes his debut for the Cougars, and an extra week of practice gave him more time to gel with the offense. There isn’t a ton of new information for Houston that needs to be said on either side of the ball. The offensive line is going to be improved, running back Duke Catalon (if healthy) will be the X-Factor, and Allen’s receivers are starting to form some necessary depth.
Ed Oliver. If you don’t remember anything about Houston’s defense, you just need to know his name. Oliver is the best player at his position and arguably one of the best players in the nation. He changes opposing offensive coordinator game plans by himself, and Arizona won’t be an exception. He has shown all offseason that he is focused and determined to improve on a stellar freshman season, and the players around him will receive plenty of opportunities to make plays.
This is yet another Power 5 opponent for the Cougars, and they’ve had some success against that type of competition in the past couple years. Houston will need to shake off the rust, given that it’s their first game, but Arizona will be motivated after a disappointing 2016 campaign.
Joe: Houston 31 Arizona 24
Joey: Houston 28 Arizona 24
The Rest of the AAC
Cincinnati at #8 Michigan (Michigan -34.5, Saturday at 11:00am CT)
I think everyone knows who’s going to win, but there’s a very small hope that Cincinnati stuns the Wolverines. It’s probably going to take a miracle, but that’s why you play the game. Question of the game: Does Hayden Moore complete more passes to his own team or to Michigan?
Joe: Michigan 57 Cincinnati 14
Joey: Michigan 49 Cincinnati 10
East Carolina at West Virginia (West Virginia -24, Saturday at 11:00am CT)
How is the spread only 24?
Joe: West Virginia 63 ECU 10
Joey: West Virginia 70 ECU 14
Tulane at Navy (Navy -13, Saturday at 2:30pm CT)
Two teams that enjoy running the ball. If you enjoy the uniqueness of these offenses, tune in. It’s the battle of new quarterbacks between Tulane’s Jonathan Banks and Navy’s Zach Abey. Banks is trying to revive an offense that was mostly stagnant in 2016, and Abey is trying to take the reigns that used to belong to Will Worth and Keenan Reynolds. Those are big shoes to fill.
Joe: Navy 34 Tulane 21
Joey: Navy 31 Tulane 17
Villanova at Temple (No line, Saturday at 2:30pm CT)
Temple did lose to Fordham in 2013, but those were different times. Logan Marchi is now the starter at quarterback for the Owls, and he did well in a big matchup against Notre Dame (mostly, zero turnovers). This is a good game for Temple to get their first win, and fix some issues up front on offense and defense.
Joe: Temple 35 Villanova 21
Joey: Temple 28 Villanova 14
UL-Lafayette at Tulsa (Tulsa -14.5, Saturday at 3:00pm CT)
UL-Lafayette, Louisiana, Louisiana-Lafayette. Who cares? There are enough L’s in those first three words to match the minimum number of losses the Ragin’ Cajuns should have this year.
Joe: Tulsa 31 UL-Lafayette 20
Joey: Tulsa 35 UL-Lafayette 14
North Texas at SMU (SMU -13, Saturday at 6:00pm CT)
This has the potential to be a shootout. SMU can score points, and North Texas is a team on the rise. Is SMU’s defense legit? It’s hard to tell after just one game, but the Mustangs got off to a great start. Safety Jordan Wyatt had two touchdowns by himself, and could add to the total this game. The Mean Green showed they can put up points, and running back Jeffrey Wilson is dangerous.
Joe: SMU 45 North Texas 21
Joey: SMU 42 North Texas 28