A Look at The AAC

The UH/AAC football report: Coogs run out of gas again; AAC ranked teams go 2-1

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There were only four games in the AAC this week, but three of them featured the conference's ranked teams. One of those ranked teams visited UH this week. Here's how I saw Week 12 in the AAC:

Coogs start hot but finish flat again

The Coogs jumped out to a 17-7 lead after the 1st quarter and looked like they were on their way to an upset. Then the second quarter happened. The Tigers outscored the Coogs 21-3 in the second quarter and never looked back cruising to a 45-27 win. UH was more than doubled up in offensive output 531 to 256. Good news: this team should be better next year and years to come. Bad news: there's two more games left this season and the offseason to wait through. If they can improve their efficiency on offense and improve to be an average to better than average defense, this team will be a top team in the conference again.

Other Key Results

Temple 29, Tulane 21: The nine points scored in the third quarter proved to be the difference between these two 6-3 teams. The Owls were up 22-7 heading into the fourth quarter when the Green wave finally found some offense.

#17 Cincinnati 20, USF 17: It took a heroic effort from Michael Warren II and a 37-yard field goal as time expired for the Bearcats to beat the Bulls. USF outgained Cincy by 160 yards, but couldn't pull off the upset of the conference's highest ranked team.

#23 Navy 20, #16 Notre Dame 52: The Midshipmen were dominated by their historic rival. The Fighting Irish recovered four fumbles on their way to a dominant performance. However, Navy still rushed for 281 yards in their loss.

Stars Of The Week

Brady White, QB, Memphis: If you saw a Power 5 quarterback threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns in an 18-point win over a conference rival on the road, you'd think he'd be in the Heisman race right? Someday, things will change for Group of 5 players, specifically in the AAC.

Michael Warren II, RB, Cincinnati: As I stated earlier, Warren kept the Bearcats in the game and helped them win almost singlehandedly. He totaled 164 yards on 28 touches and a touchdown. He accounted for 58.9% of their total yards on offense.

Jadan Blue, WR, Temple: At 12 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown in the Owls win over the Green Wave, Blue accounted for 54.5% of the receptions, 44.1% of the passing yards and a third of the touchdown passes. He's the team's leading receiver this season and is only a sophmore.

Games To Watch This Week

UCF @ Tulane

SMU @ #23 Navy

Temple @ #17 Cincinnati

Players To Watch This Week

Doug Gabriel, UCF: The Golden Knights are a prolific passing team. The Green Wave are stingy against the pass. The one that wins this battle should also win the game.

Malcolm Perry, Navy: Perry is Navy's leading passer and rusher in their triple option attack. However, SMU is worse against the pass than they are against the run. Perry's performance in both phases of the offense will be key to the outcome.

Anthony Russo, Temple: If the Owls want to pull off the upset against Cincy, Russo will have to have a great game. If he can keep the chains moving via the pass game against a Bearcats defense gives up more yards in the air than on the ground, The Owls will have a shot.

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The Marlins are showing interest in Yuli Gurriel. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

As the reporting date for pitchers and catchers draws near, there are still some decisions hanging over the Astros. One of them is whether or not to bring back Yuli Gurriel. “La Piña,” as he's affectionately called, is 38 years old. He turns 39 in June. His leadership and instincts cannot be matched. The man has seen a ton of baseball and comes from a family of baseballers. So, what's the holdup?

Enter the Miami Marlins. The ownership group, led by Bruce Sherman, is undoubtedly trying to capitalize on the heavy Cuban population in the Miami area. Bringing in the Cuban Babe Ruth is a great way to attempt to get more fan engagement. The franchise has only been to the playoffs three times. First two times (1997 and 2003), they won it all. In 2020, they were swept in the NLDS. They're most likely offering him a ridiculous amount of money to come to a team with a losing history. Knowing the Marlins are willing to hand out stupid money, would you blame La Piña for taking one last ridiculous payday?

Think about it. He's got two rings and made a ton of money. He can safely retire very comfortably. The lure to come back for another year or two would definitely be about money. The Marlins aren't a real threat in the next couple of seasons to do anything, but are willing to pay me like I'm still a star? Plus, I'm closer to my home country with all my family and friends? Sign me up!

This is where the Astros have to make a decision. Bring Yuli back for another year or move on. If he follows through with his last four years, this should be a bounce back year. Since 2016, his first year in Houston and MLB, he's hit .262, .299, .291, .298, .232 (pandemic shortened season), .319, and .242 last season. The man is a professional hitter. He knows how to work an at-bat and can drive pitchers nuts. His defense isn't bad either. He's a more than capable first baseman.

This won't win me any favor, but I think it's time to move on. Yuli will always have a place in my heart because he was a major factor in the Astros' two World Series wins. Last season's title run was even more satisfying since it helped silence the haters. That was the mouthwash that got rid of the stench of the sign stealing scandal. Piña was there through it all.

Now, it's time to start transitioning towards the future. Piña, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers Jr were the only holdovers from the 2017 team. Verlander was one of the guys the Mets backed the Brinks truck up for this offseason. Altuve (32), Bregman (28), and McCullers (29) should be all that's left of that group. While it would've been great to have Verlander (39) back, the emergence of the youth movement in the pitching staff made his loss somewhat expendable. At some point, the nostalgia wears off. Father Time and Mother Nature are both undefeated. If they were to bring Piña back, he should be a part timer transitioning into a hitting coach. Careers come to an end. It's time to start looking at his exit.

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