Two weeks left. Let that sink in AAC fans. And this Week 12 is pivotal for a plethora of reasons.
Houston locked up its first conference championship game appearance since 2015 when it defeated Temple in The American’s inaugural title game while Marcus Jones locked up your significant other’s heart by being the baddest in the special teams game.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati needs just one more win in its final two games to clinch a spot of the championship variety of its own. But SMU and ECU could spoil the all-feline fun by winning out and fun fact both the Pirates and the Mustangs have Cincy left on their schedule. Oh what a tangled web we weave in the AAC. But let’s take a look at some of the other fun stuff happening off the field this weekend. Here is your Week 12 preview, outside the lines.
Memphis at Houston
90’s. With all the looking ahead going on, the Houston Cougars decided to throw it back by honoring more of their storied past. During the game against Memphis Friday night Houston Athletics will recognize the 1990 football team. That season, the Cougars, led by Heisman Trophy Finalist David Klingler, posted a 10-1 overall record and 7-1 mark in the Southwest Conference. In the spirit of giving thanks, Houston fans are encouraged to take part in Houston Athletics’ toy drive – fans can drop off new or unwrapped toys at the KHOU 11 Secret Santa Toy Drive tent in the tailgating area before the game or at any gate on your way in.
USF at Tulane
Old & New. The Green Wave face off against the Bulls Saturday for only the second time in school history – the series is tied at one game apiece. Tulane will be looking for its first-ever win over USF at home – the Wave dropped its only meeting with USF at Yulman Stadium back in 2017 by a score of 34-28 to the No. 16 ranked Bulls.
Tulane will also honor 15 seniors prior to the game, saying goodbye to some extremely talented young men who will play their final game at Yulman. The Wave has been rolling out goodbyes from each senior over social media this week, with messages of gratitude from the veteran players including this one from offensive lineman Corey Dublin.
SMU at Cincinnati
History. The Bearcats have a lot on their plate this weekend and as visions of conference championships and natty’s dance in their head, Cincinnati also has the opportunity to start 11-0 for just the second time in school history with a win over SMU. It’s also Senior Day for Cincy and 32 seniors will be honored during a pre-game ceremony. The Bearcats four-year seniors hold a 41-6 record, while the fifth-year seniors are 45-12. The 41 wins are tied for the most during a four-year stretch in school history (2006-2009).
“Sometimes as a coach, you don’t take enough time to reflect, to realize and to recognize how special that is and how special those guys are,” head coach Luke Fickell said about his senior class, per Cincinnati Athletics. “This will be a big week for them to be recognized, but also play a big game. This is one that they’ve been talking about and waiting for, for quite some time. I know they’re excited about it being here and it’s going to be quite a challenge.”
ECU at Navy
Duty. The Navy Midshipman will look to spoil all of Mike Houston’s fun at ECU with their third conference win Saturday. But many forget that football is only part of what makes up a Midshipman – this week the senior servicemen received their assignments, fourteen seniors will be commissioned Ensigns in the United States Navy, while eleven will be commissioned 2nd Lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps upon graduation.
UConn at UCF
ConFLiCT. As my Pawdcast cohost will tell you, it is one of the greatest worst not-really-a-rivalry but definitely is a rivalry, rivalry. He wrote about it so I don’t have to. It starts with coach Bob Diaco and ends with a missing homemade trophy and a million dollars, separate occasions. Check it out!
Temple at Tulsa
Seniors rule. When Tulsa takes the field against Temple Saturday, the Golden Hurricane will be celebrating the 23 seniors who will be playing their last game at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Tulsa has six players who have played in 50 career games – Robert Revels III (57), Adam Higuera (55), Tyarise Stevenson (53), Cristian Williams (53), Tiller Bucktrot (51) and Treyvon Reeves (50).