A Look At The AAC

The UH/AAC Report: Coogs run out of gas vs UCF, plus a couple close calls for ranked teams

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Week 10 in the AAC was a slate of only five games long. There was still enough meat on the bone to digest. College football is too interesting to say five games was no fun to watch or track in a conference as exciting as the AAC. Let's take a look at the week that was:

UH falls to UCF 44-29

The Coogs actually led the once ranked Golden Knights after the 1st quarter (17-14) and at the half (23-21). However, the 3rd quarter came in like a South Texas cold front and dramatically changed the weather. After trading punts on their initial possessions of the 3rd, UH went on to trade three punts for touchdowns and ended up down 19 points heading into the 4th. Things didn't get much better for the Coogs as they only managed to put up six more points on a late touchdown and failed two point conversion. There is a bright side. The Coogs "held" the Golden Knights to under 500 yards of offense (468), won the time of possession battle (41:31 to 18:29), and tied in turnovers with one a piece. It comes down to execution on offense and limiting the big plays on defense. They gave up seven plays of 20 yards or more. Speculation from a national media member this week said D'Eriq King would enter the Transfer Portal and won't return to UH. ESPN 97.5's John Granato explained on "Granato and Raheel With Del" (hour one right at the 28:55 mark) that Coach Dana Holgorsen said King is enjoying playing football again, is running scout team right now, and will be back next year. I trust this info because of their close relationship over the course of about 10 years plus, whereas this national media member is a Herman Honk who wants to keep his all-access in Austin.

Other Key Results

#24 Memphis 54, #15 SMU 48: The final score was closer than the game appeared. From the eye test, Memphis was clearly the better, more prepared team that also adjusted quicker. SMU seemed to be caught off guard early, and gathered themselves too late. Both are still ranked as they should be.

#17 Cincinnati 46, ECU 43: Trailing 40-28, the Bearcats were in danger of losing to the Pirates. They managed a furious comeback along with a game winning field goal as time expired. Despite the win, they dropped to #20 in the rankings.

Navy 56, UConn 10: Jermaine, why in the world is THIS a key result? Because it catapulted the Midshipmen to #24 in the rankings this week. The 7-1 Navy team's lone loss is to the now #21 ranked Memphis Tigers.

Stars of the Week

Navy Offense: The Midshipmen ran the ball 51 times for 408 yards and seven touchdowns. Six guys carried the ball at least three times and averaged at least 6.8 yards per carry. The triple option is like a dinosaur that has found a way to survive and thrive.

Shane Buechele, QB, SMU: Buechele went 34/54 for 456 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort. What's scary is that he still has another year of eligibility left.

Cincinnati Offense: RB Michael Warren II had 18 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns; quarterback Desmond Ridder had 12 carries for 121 yards; and RB Gerrid Doaks had nine carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. Remember what I said earlier about them being down by 12 heading into the 4th, and this stat line is that much more impressive.

Games to Watch This Week

Temple @ USF

UCF @ Tulsa

ECU @ #25 SMU

UConn @ #20 Cincinnati

Players to Watch This Week

Xavier Jones, SMU: Look for Jones to pad his stats against an ECU team that gives up an average of 204.3 yards per game on the ground.

Cincinnati Offense: The Huskies just gave up 408 yards rushing against the Midshipmen. The Bearcats aren't as profficient running the ball, but they did hang 301 yards rushing on ECU.

Gabriel Davis, UCF: At 6'3 212lbs, Davis is a big body receiver averaging 18.2 yards per reception this season. Tulsa only has two sub 6' defensive backs (5'9 and 5'11). It'll be an interesting matchup for the pro prospect.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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