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AAC Week 9 Roundup

Houston enters the Top 25, Cincinnati scrapes by SMU, and UConn hits an all new low.

NCAA Football: South Florida at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Three Teams Trending up

Houston

The Cougar’s offense is absolutely outstanding. In fact, this offense is better than UCF’s. They have scored at least 40 points in every single game. Plain and simple, Houston’s offense won the shootout. While the 21 point margin of victory did not reflect how close the game truly was, Houston was elite on offense and opportunistic on defense, despite Ed Oliver’s absence. The Cougars now shoot up in the AP rankings to No. 17 and could be even higher when the CFP rankings come out.

UCF

I bet UCF wishes they could have this happen every week. Their arch rival USF falls to Houston and they get to watch teams in the Top 10 lose. As a result, the Knights moved up a spot to No. 9 in the AP rankings. Like Houston, they will be anxiously watching when the CFP rankings come out. If you are a UCF fan, you loved this past week.

Cincinnati

While no team really deserved this third spot, it had to go to one team. Even if Cincinnati did not deserve it, all that mattered is playing well enough to get the win. Desmond Ridder was very inconsistent once again as I think we are finally seeing what he is closer to in skill level. The only things that kept Cincinnati in their game against SMU was the Mustangs missing a field goal and their strong defense. The pick six in overtime by James Wiggins sealed away the win. They are trending slightly upward, but are a team whose stock could easily fall.

Three Teams Trending down

USF

For the second straight year USF goes 7-0, then Houston squashes the Bulls to drop them to 7-1. USF’s defense was absolutely destroyed by D’Eriq King and Co. They allowed 13 of Houston’s 18 third down attempts to be converted to first downs. That is just absolutely unacceptable no matter who you are playing. I could make excuses like the fact that Nico Sawtelle, the starting linebacker, and Randall St. Felix, a starting wide receiver, were unavailable. But, this just does not cut it. USF had many chances to win this game. After the safety happened, it appeared USF had control of the game. But as fans are accustomed to seeing the past two years, predictable play calling on offense lost them the game. I have no doubt USF can keep up with Houston when they are full strength, but the play calling is too predictable. Despite USF being a really good team and still in control of their destiny, they are trending down after this disappointing loss.

NCAA Football: Connecticut at South Florida
USF remains one of the more talented teams in the conference but they just aren’t clicking like Houston and UCF are.
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

SMU

The Mustangs’ loss may have been even more disappointing than USF’s loss to Houston. SMU kept pace with Cincinnati’s offense and the defense continued to give SMU a chance to win. We keep shaming SMU’s defense here, but that stops now. SMU’s defense actually played well and forced turnovers. They gave this offense every opportunity to win. But in the end, two plays decided the Mustangs’ fate: a missed field goal and a pick-six, in overtime.

UConn

I know we keep picking on the Huskies, but they are deserving of the criticism. All you can do is feel bad for David Pindell. UConn has hit an all new low. On a rainy day in Connecticut, UMass narrowly eked out a win against the Huskies. To make matters worse, UMass was starting their backup quarterback Ross Comis as their starter was injured. Does Wichita State have a football program to add to the AAC yet?

Players of the Week

Offensive: QB, D’Eriq King, Houston (2nd consecutive honor)

Defensive: S, James Wiggins, Cincinnati

Special Teams: K, Cole Smith, Cincinnati

Honor Roll

WR, Kahlil Lewis, Cincinnati

RB, Johnny Ford, USF (2nd consecutive honor)

LB, Kyran Mitchell, SMU

WR, Reggie Roberson, SMU

QB, Justin McMillan, Tulane

Top Three Must Watch AAC Games This Week

Temple vs. UCF

This is most likely the AAC game of the week. Despite it being on a Thursday night, it is at least on the main ESPN network for all to see. Temple is coming off a bye week and hoping to get healthier. Temple will need Anthony Russo to make exceptional decisions as well as have a healthy Ryquell Armstead in order to win this game. UCF is also coming off an important bye week so they will have had some extra time to prepare for the Owls. Is McKenzie Milton healthy enough to play. If Darriel Mack starts, UCF’s playoff dreams will most likely be crushed. This game is vital for who takes control in the East. If Temple wins, we have a four team race.

Tulane vs. USF

Tulane travels to Tampa to face a strong Bulls squad. The good news for Tulane is the fact that USF might have a hangover from the disappointing loss to Houston. Justin McMillan appears to be the answer for Tulane as they scurry for bowl eligibility. Fans should expect Tulane to come out hungry and prepared as this is a must win for them. For the Bulls, it is all about rebounding. We know this team is good and has tons of potential. But when is USF going to cash that in? This Houston loss could be just what they needed to kick them in gear.

Houston vs. SMU

Sign me up for more D’Eriq King. He gives opposing teams nightmares as he can beat you with his legs and his arm. While many were skeptical of the Kendall Briles hiring, I would say that King has thrived in the Briles offense. Houston is by far the best offense in the AAC. For SMU, I am not expecting a whole lot. I just want to see them try to get their offense going against an average defense. Either way, I’ll tune in for more of King.

Honorable Mention

Navy vs. Cincinnati

I’m not sure what to make of Cincinnati anymore. They started out strong, but since their loss to Temple, they are starting to look a bit shaky. Despite this game being at home, and Navy not being as good as past years, I still think this is an up in the air game. The triple option is a crazy good offense when it works altogether. I think Navy has a solid chance at the upset. That alone is enough to get me to watch.