Three Teams Trending Up
Temple is clicking at the right time. They started off the season slow, but they have finally turned it around. Geoff Collins appears to have settled with Anthony Russo at quarterback. This past week against Navy, he looked like the leader Temple has been looking for as he passed for 300 yards and a touchdown. While Ryquell Armstead did not play this past week, he has proven that the offense is better when he is on the field. The defense even pitched in and forced a fumble. This team may not be the sleeper team everyone expected, but they are going to be a tricky opponent in conference play.
While they did steamroll ECU, that is not the main reason this team is trending up. Their biggest threat to win the AAC West in Memphis was knocked off by UCF. Memphis now drops to 0-3 in the conference standings with a deep hole to climb out of. This essentially guarantees that Houston will win the division. The Cougars biggest threats right now are SMU or Tulane and both are wildly inconsistent. If D’Eriq King continues to be the player we have seen so far, Houston is guaranteed a spot in the championship game.
The Golden Hurricane lost, but we have to give props to a team that played a top 25 team so closely. Tulsa’s defense dominated USF throughout the game. The problem is this team just cannot seem to play a complete game. They should have won against Houston, but failed in the fourth quarter. The same thing happened this past week. While Tulsa is not making a bowl game, they got some momentum from this one. If Seth Boomer can improve from the USF game, Tulsa might be able to defeat Arkansas this Saturday.
Three Teams Trending Down
Even though the Knights won, they definitely did not deserve to. Memphis dominated them in the first half of the game. Despite generating enough offense to win, UCF still did not seem like themselves in the second half. Memphis had a chance to win the game with a field goal, but poor clock management gave UCF the win. UCF is very beatable. They have two more teams that will give them a run for their money if they continue to play like that.
I predicted that USF would dominate Tulsa in a strong performance, on ESPN. The Bulls came out flat, only scoring three points in the first half. It took another fourth-quarter comeback to stay undefeated. The comeback was impressive, but it never should have gotten to that point. While USF has the talent to win the conference, Sterlin Gilbert appears to be holding this team back. Unless he changes, this team might be a two- to three-loss team.
Memphis should have won this game. Even though clock management was a huge issue, the bigger issue is scoring zero points in the second half. Memphis never should have let the game get that closes. We continue to make excuses for the Tigers, but cannot anymore. Even worse, they are in a hole they can climb out of.
Players of the Week
Offense: QB McKenzie Milton, UCF
Defense: DT Ed Oliver, Houston
Special Teams: K Matthew Wright, UCF & K Colby Weiss, USF
DE Brendon Hayes, UCF
RB Darrell Henderson, Memphis
K Riley Patterson, Memphis
RB Jordan Cronkrite, USF
WR Ventell Bryant, Temple
Top Three Must Watch AAC games
Cincinnati vs. Temple
This should be the AAC Game of the Week. Cincinnati comes off a bye week where they rose to No. 20 in the AP rankings. The defense has been stout and the offense has been much improved under Desmond Ridder. For Temple, they won 24-17 this past week against Navy. Without Armstead, it was tough to get this offense going. If he comes back for this game, we could have a really fun game on our hands. This game as upset alert written all over it.
Houston vs. Navy
While Memphis slacked against UCF last week, Houston dominated ECU to stay ahead in the division race. If Houston can beat Navy, no team will be able to catch them. For Navy, a bowl game still is not out of the question, but it is an uphill battle. This is a must-win game for Navy. Expect them to come out inspired at home.
Memphis vs. Missouri
This is by far the most intriguing game of the week. It was the tale of two halves for Memphis last week. Memphis was dominant in the first half as the entire offense clicked and they scored 30 points with ease. The second half, they were atrocious, scoring zero points. The defense began to break as they could not contain the Knights’ aerial attack. Drew Lock will not make things any easier for the Tigers. So which Memphis do we see in this game?
SMU vs. Tulane
This game is intriguing due to the quarterback battles at these schools. At SMU, Ben Hicks is still battling William Brown for the starting role. It has been a mixed bag for both players. At Tulane, Jonathan Banks battles Justin McMillan for the starting role. McMillan played the rest of the Cincinnati game with Banks on the bench. It will be interesting to see who gets the start for both schools.