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Temple Owls, UCF Knights meet to determine AAC East leader

The winner will be the front runner to represent the East in the AAC Championship game.

Central Florida v Temple Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018

Kickoff Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Florida

Watch: ESPN

All-Time Series: UCF leads, 3-2

Last Meeting: 11/18/17. UCF 45 - Temple 19

Betting Lines: UCF -10.5, O/U 61


Temple Owls Outlook

Temple did not play this past weekend, but pulled off an upset against the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bearcats in overtime their last time out to remain undefeated in conference play. Anthony Russo connected with Branden Mack with 49 seconds remaining in regulation to tie game at 17 and Russo’s touchdown pass to Isaiah Wright in overtime proved to be the game-winning score.

The Owls have won three straight, all against conference opponents, and find themselves in a tie for first place in the AAC East. The team they are tied with? The defending national champions. This week is the beginning of a daunting three-game stretch in which the Owls will play at UCF this week, on the road against Houston next week and end the stretch with USF at home. All three offense are capable of putting up points in bunches.

We’ll find out just how well Geoff Collins has developed his team in the upcoming weeks with the three best offenses - most would argue three best teams as well - in the conference due up. The Owls likely won’t be favored in any of these games, but should put up a respectable fight.

UCF Knights Outlook

Josh Heupel’s bunch is one of four undefeated teams - Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame - but still find themselves ranked No. 9 in the AP poll. More importantly, they were ranked No. 12 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, which isn’t sitting well with the people in Orlando.

The Knights face the same predicament as last season: their schedule is not good enough. They’ll need style points against their remaining opponents and then help around them to rise in the rankings. It all might not be enough to get into the final spot of the rankings, but the more impressive the wins, the better chance they have.

That starts against a Temple team that has shown life in recent weeks. If UCF can hang 40-plus points on one of the better defensive teams in the country, it could catch the playoff committee’s eye. But in all honesty, UCF’s chances will come down to the War on I-4, winning the conference championship game - likely against Houston - and some surprises in the upcoming weeks.

Prediction

All eyes will be on who will and won’t play leading up to this one. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton sat out against ECU and did not take reps with the first-team offense this week. The Owls are still uncertain on the status of star running back Ryquell Armstead, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. Both are game-time decisions.

The Knights should feel disrespected for being ranked 12th by the College Football Playoff committee and the Owls will the first in line to take the retaliation. UCF is riding a 20-game winning streak and that will continue at home this week.

UCF 35 - Temple 21