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AAC Week 8 Roundup

Cincinnati loses for the first time, Houston dominates Navy and SMU is second in the West.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Temple Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Three Teams Trending up

Temple

This was a huge win for the Owls. After a very sluggish start, with a loss to Villanova, they appeared to be one of the worst teams in the conference. Ever since their second game, Temple is 5-1 with their only loss coming against Boston College. They also have a top 25 win to add to their resume now. Geoff Collins has this team going in the right direction. Anthony Russo is their leader at quarterback with Ryquell Armstead as a premier running back. Temple’s stock is continuing to rise. If they’re able to pull off the upset against UCF in two weeks, this team can lay claim to being the best in the East.

Houston

The best team in the West continues to prove why that is true. D’Eriq King and company have put up over 40 points in every game this year. Their only loss comes against Texas Tech, whose offense is pretty high-powered as well. The Cougars only other hiccup was the game against Tulsa, but they rebounded soundly to win. They’ll have a tough test this week against No. 21 USF for a chance to bolster their resume.

SMU

Who would have guessed that SMU was going to be second in the division? The Mustangs pulled off a win against Tulane to take sole possession of second place in the West. SMU still has a good amount of work to do in order to go to a bowl game, but settling their quarterback battle was a priority. They accomplished that with Ben Hicks being his old self again against the Green Wave defense.

Three Teams Trending Down

Cincinnati

The Bearcats struggled for the first time all season. Temple’s defense dominated the Bearcats offense as Desmond Ridder could never really get going. Ridder was only able to pass for 111 yards and threw a game-ending interception in overtime. Michael Warren II was the only bright spot as he rushed for 132 yards. Cincinnati is at its best win their quarterback is serviceable. Ridder needs to prove that it was a bad game, and not a trend. For now though, the Bearcats are trending down.

Tulane

This team continues to confuse fans with their sporadic success. After the Memphis game, we thought Tulane could be a sleeper team in the West. After the loss to SMU though, the Green Wave appear to be on a landslide. They had plenty of chances to win and even had a lead with under two minutes left. Tulane just could not finish the game as their Achilles heel was exposed by Ben Hicks and James Proche. Tulane’s schedule does not get any easier as they still have to play USF and Houston away, while hosting Navy.

Memphis

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Memphis expectations for this year were massive. As the Tigers continued to lose games, those goals have faded to nearly nothing now. While their schedule does get easier, except for a finale against Houston, they have lost their star running back Darrell Henderson. They are trending down for now, but they are still not out of it yet. Henderson’s health will play a major role in the final record of this team.

Players of the Week

Offensive: QB, D’Eriq King, Houston

Defensive: LB, Nate Evans, UCF & LB, Austin Robinson, Houston

Special Teams: K, Matthew Wright, UCF

Honor Roll

QB, David Pindell, UConn

RB, Johnny Ford, USF

CB, Nick Roberts, USF

QB, Ben Hicks, SMU

CB, Donnie Lewis Jr., Tulane

Top Three Must Watch AAC Games

USF vs. Houston

This should be the AAC game of the week. This game has two teams that are some of the best second-half offenses in the nation. USF struggled to contain David Pindell as Nico Sawtelle’s absence was very apparent. Coach Charlie Strong had some high praise for Houston’s QB as he compared King to Quinton Flowers. With that knowledge, will USF be able to limit the high-powered Cougars offense? For Houston, the name of the game it scoring on USF early. The Bulls will score their points in the second half, but Houston must put pressure on them early if the Cougars are to win.

Cincinnati vs. SMU

This game has very large implications in the AAC standings. If SMU wins, they have a chance to keep pace with Houston. Things appear to be clicking for the Mustangs after sorting out their quarterback situation. If they are to beat Cincinnati though, the defense is going to have to play like they did last week. For Cincinnati, this is a must-win game. Beyond just keeping pace in the standings, this game is a comeback game. They need to prove to fans that the Temple game was a small hiccup and not the start of a trend.

Notre Dame vs. Navy

This game has been so much fun lately. Navy beat Notre Dame, 28-27, in 2016, but Notre Dame got their revenge in 2017 after winning 24-17. The past two years have been close and entertaining. While Navy is much weaker than the previous two years, this game still has the potential to be a lot of fun. Especially now that Notre Dame is in the playoff picture.

Honorable Mention

UMass v. David Pindell UConn

UConn is a mess. The only thing that gives Huskies fans anything to root for is David Pindell. The other good news for UConn is UMass is equally as bad. This should be a high-scoring game where Pindell could rush for over 200 yards. The UConn offense put up 30 against USF so this could be the game they break out for a ton of points.