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Out of Bounds: An Unconventional Weekly American Athletic Conference Preview - Week 8

This isn’t your grandfather’s weekly conference preview. This is AAC game day, outside the lines

Syndication: The Abilene Reporter-News Greg Jaklewicz/Reporter-News via Imagn Content Services, LLC

This week has a little more juice, plus a lot more games, and is primed for some traps, tricks and temperature changes.

Last week didn’t tell us much other than that the Bearcats are really that good and Navy and USF are perhaps better than we previously thought. Only time and more conference play will tell. This week, we are about to see what teams are really made of. But let’s check out some things of note for each game off the field and outside of the lines.

Tulane at SMU

Giveaway. This Thursday night game has one of the cooler student giveaways I’ve seen this season, which I’m sure is designed to entice the student body to show up and show out for this nationally televised game. It is Greek Night/Student Organization Night at Ford Stadium which means half-priced drinks and concessions and Tase of Dallas, featuring shrimp poboys – no doubt a nod to the New Orleans opponent in the house. Plus, SMU football will be giving away free Greek & Student Org. Night t-shirts at the student entrance when the gates open, endorsed by Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top himself. Radical.

Smu Athletics

Memphis at UCF

Space. It’s the fifth annual #UCFinSpace game and the Knights went all out this year, creating a uniform completely out of this world. And the coolest part – the uniforms honor the 40th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program, a NASA human spaceflight program. The game has even been dubbed “Mission V: Discovery.”

The jersey numbers have tile codes that honor the 135 space shuttle missions from the NASA program, the jersey collar was designed to simulate the nose of the space shuttle, the left sleeve is a nod to the wing on the Shuttle Discovery, which UCF alumna Nicole Stott launched into space. The helmet bumper honors the lives lost in the Challenger and Columbia space missions and the helmet strip has the names of UCF alumni, faculty and fans who worked on the Space Shuttle Program.

UCF Athletics

Plus, the uniforms will be auctioned off, first to UCF football student-athletes and members of the Shareholders Society and then to the public, starting at a minimum bid of $450 at next week.

Fun fact: redshirt freshman wide receiver Stephen Martin’s mother, UCF engineering alum Sharlene (Wendel) Martin (’86 ‘93MS) worked on the space shuttle for nearly six years.

Alexandra Bayer

Cincinnati at Navy

Flyover. Saturday’s flyover at Navy-Marin Corps Memorial Stadium will feature two Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornets from the “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 105 based our of Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. Piloting the aircraft will be Lt. Aaron “Mathlete” Dougherty, USNA Class of 2014. The wing aircraft will be piloted by Lt. Charlie “Cupcake” Peck, USNA Class of2015. Providing ground control will be LT. Cmdr. Brian Jones.

The F/A-18E model was designed for traditional air superiority, fighter escort, reconnaissance, aerial refuling, close air support, forward air control (airborne), air defense suppression and day/night precision strike.

Fun fact: Navy has beaten the No. 2 team in the country on three occasions – in 1944 (Notre Dame), in 1950 (Army) and in 1984 (South Carolina). Navy leads the all-time series against Cincinnati 3-1, but the Bearcats won the last meeting 42-0 in 2018.

East Carolina at Houston

Coming home. The Houston Cougars will honor the 2011 football team this Saturday during their homecoming game against ECU. The team was led by fourth-year head coach Kevin Sumlin and finished the regular season 12-0 led by Browns quarterback Case Keenum, who is expected to be on campus. That year was the program’s first undefeated and untied regular season in the program’s then 66-year history. The Cougars fell to Southern Miss 49-28 in the C-USA Championship game and went on to beat Penn State 30-14 in the TicketCity Bowl. It was the best of times.

Houston Athletics

Temple at South Florida

Awareness. This Saturday at Raymond James Stadium is the Bulls’ Breast Cancer Awareness game against the Temple Owls. The Bulls will be looking to get their first AAC win and sporting some fire pink gloves while doing so. The gloves along with pink and white arm bands will help bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer.

USF Athletics