What To Watch For: AAC Week 13

This is it – the final weekend of AAC football.  Three of the six games on the slate will directly determine who will play in the league’s inaugural championship game next Sautrday at Noon, with four teams still in the mix for the AAC title.  Here’s the schedule:

Thu.

USF @ UCF

TV, 7:30pm ET

This year’s War for I-4 should be a yawner, with USF suddenly playing like the Green Bay Packers and UCF playing like – well – an FCS team.  USF can still sneak into the league title game with a win and a Temple loss.

Fri.

CFP #15 Navy @ AP #21 Houston

ABC, Noon ET

The one for all the marbles in the AAC-West has lost a little bit of luster after Houston’s perfect season went down the drain last week, but either of these teams will definitely be the Group of Five’s New Years 6 bowl representative if they win the league title.  If Navy wins, they host the title game in Annapolis.  If Houston wins, they’ll either hit the road for Philly or host Da Bulls of USF, depending on who wins the East division.  The big question is, can Greg Ward get healthy enough to be a factor?  He’s still nursing an ankle that basically rendered him useless in the Cougars’ loss to UConn last week.  If so, we’ll see the top two rushing QBs in the nation in what should be a good one.  If not, Navy could run away with it.

Fri.

Tulsa @ Tulane

ESPNU, 8:00pm ET

Thanks to some creative, common-sense non-conference scheduling, 5-6 Tulsa has a shot at a bowl game this year.  And with the way Tulane’s defense has played, they’ll probably have that sixth win wrapped up early.

Sat.

Cincinnati @ ECU

CBSSN, Noon ET

5-6 East Carolina needs this win to make a bowl game, while Cincinnati will be looking to wash the bad taste of the good, old fashioned ass kicking they got last week out of there mouths.  Tommy Tuberville says that, “Cincinnati has always bounced back, and we’ll bounce back this week.”  I sure as hell hope so.  With what we’ve seen this year, UC better leave no doubt, or they are screwed.    The ‘Cats are 1-point road favorites, but ESPN’s football power index gives ECU a slight edge.  Who starts at QB for UC?  Can they refrain from eating pregame popcorn with extra butter this week?  Tune in and find out.  As always, here’s Chris Bains’s preview, and stay tuned for COTP staff picks.

Sat.

SMU @ Memphis

ESPN News, Noon ET

Memphis will be looking to snap a 3-game losing streak and win on Senior Day to position themselves for a top bowl destination.  After a poor showing last week at Temple, the offense should be able to get back on track against SMU’s pourous defense.  This could be both Justin Fuente’s and Paxton Lynch’s last home game at the Liberty Bowl.

Sat.

UConn @ #25 Temple

ESPNU, 7:00pm ET

The East division wil come down to the final game of the year, and all eyes (at least in Tampa) will be on this game – hoping of course for a UConn upset that would send South Florida to the league title game.  Temple is a 12-point favorite, but a surprising 6-5 UConn team is surging late in the year.