A LOOK AT THE AAC

The UH/AAC Report: UH loses Battle of the Cougars, plus other blowouts and big wins

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This week saw UH falling to Washington State by seven, UCF continuing to roll, a couple blowouts, and Temple picking up a big upset win. Let's dive into week three of the AAC:

UH loses Battle of the Cougars

Losing to a top 25 team on a "neutral site" by seven isn't what you want from a program looking to gain more respect nationally, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing either. The Fighting Holgorsens will get right. Dana said as much on The Bench With John and Lance. While he estimates it could take up to two years. I think it could happen much faster if they get transfers.

Other Key Results

UCF 45, Stanford 27: It's the Golden Knights' world and all other AAC teams are living in it. Good win over a PAC 12 team.

Tulane 58, Missouri State 6: The Green Wave beat up on a lesser talented team in a tune up before their Thursday night showdown with UH.

Temple 20, Maryland 17: The Owls threw a cold bucket of ice water on one of the hottest teams in the country. They held the #21 ranked Terps 54 points under their early season average.

Navy 42, ECU 10: The Midshipmen picked up the first conference win of the season by besting the Pirates. They even outpassed the Pirates 153 to 138.

Memphis 42, South Alabama 6: The Tigers continue to roll despite losing NFL talent. This team will be one to watch this season.

Stars of the week

Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane: The freshman had eight carries for 89 yards and a touchdown. He added one catch that went for an 88 yard touchdown. Not bad for your third collegiate game.

Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF: He completed 73% of his passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns against Stanford at home. This performance makes the loss of McKenzie Milton sting a lot less.

Temple's Defense: The Owls held the high scoring Terps to 3.5 yards per rush, 4.6 yards per pass attempt, and only 17 points. Considering Maryland scored 79 and 63 in their first two games respectively, I was impressed.

Five games to watch this week

UH vs Tulane

UCF vs Pitt

SMU vs TCU

Temple vs Buffalo

UConn vs Indiana (Indiana is a -27 favorite. Who's taking the Huskies and the points?)

Three players to watch this week

Dillon Gabriel, UCF: Coming off last week's performance against a Power Five school at home, can Gabriel replicate or one up himself on the road against another Power Five School?

TJ McDaniel & Xavier Jones, SMU: The two running backs combined for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries last week against TX State. TCU offers a much different type of opponent as they allow only 62 yards a game on the ground.

UH Offense: The Tulane defense gives up 14.7 points, 181 yards passing and 95 on the ground on a per game basis so far in this young season. That's a stingy defense to go against considering the Coogs offense has struggled to get going and rev up to full potential.

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We've come to the end of the road in the AAC regular season. It's been quite the ride. We've seen old powers return to form, and newcomers show promise, while some has fallen from grace. Here's my take on Week 14 in the AAC:

UH failed to stop Navy; future looks promising

The Coogs lost to the Midshipmen 56-41. This game reminded me of a boxing or MMA match in which one fighter was always a step ahead of the other. Just when the Coogs would land a nice combo, the Midshipmen would counter with something more fierce. Though they ended this season with a 4-8 record in Dana Holgorsen's first year bcack as head coach, you can see the promise this team has moving forward. There's some talent on this team that'll be returning, plus there's more talent coming in via transfer and new recruits. Either way, I see Holgorsen's vision for this program and love what's coming. When you remodel an existing home, there's a period of ugliness it goes through. You have to tear stuff out, rebuild, and redo before it can be beautiful again. Holgorsen is doing just that. This season wasn't a homecoming queen. It was more like the awkward freshman who is present at all events and functions, but chills on the perimeter. However, that same awkward kid blossoms into something so beautiful after some fine tuning and seasoning, nobody thought it was possible in that freshman year. Give it some time Coog fans. I think this is the start of something beautiful.

Other Key Results

#18 Memphis 34, #19 Cincinnati 24: These two teams will play next week in a rematch for the AAC title game and a shot at the top Group of Five school for a possible New Years Six bowl birth.

SMU 37, Tulane 20: The Mustangs continued to roll as the Green Wave continued to slide. Although Tulane is bowl eligible with a 6-6 record, I doubt they make a bowl game unless there's a shortage of teams eligible. Meanwhile, SMU has made its case for a decent bowl with their 10-2 record.

UCF 34, USF 7: This game is only a talking point because it led to the firing of USF coach Charlie Strong. The Golden Knights have been on a roll even after Scott Frost left and McKenzie Hilton suffered a career-threatening injury. Strong is best served as a defensive coordinator. Here's to hoping he gets another job because he's a good dude by all acounts.

Stars Of The Week

Damonte Croxie, WR, Memphis: With six catches for 145 yards and a touchdown, Croxie accounted for 40% of the receptions, 62% of the receiving yards, and half of the receiving touchdowns for the Tigers.

Clayton Tune, QB, UH: The presumed backup next season for D'Eriq King went 23/35 for 393 yards and four touchdowns against Navy in a loss. If King decides to leave for greener pastures (something I don't see happening), the program is in good hands with Tune.

Jamale Carothers, RB, Navy: With 188 yards on just 18 carries, Carothers had a helluva game. His five touchdowns were more of a wow factor than his 10+ yards per carry average.

Games To Watch This Week

#20 Cincinnati vs #17 Memphis: The AAC Championship game will determine if one of these schools will possibly get a New Years Six bowl game. I expwct another good game, but the same result as the game they just played this past week.

Army @ Navy: This is one of the best and most interesting rivalry games in college football. The pagentry and tradition that surrounds it are unmatched. It's the most Merica thing outside of wearing a bald eagle with stars and stripes shirt.

Players To Watch This Week

Malcolm Perry, Navy: I can see a big game coming from Perry since Carothers was the one to get the shine vs UH. Rivalry games seem to bring out the best in top players.

Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis: While he had a decent game against Cincy last week, it wasn't his best. You can bet he's chomping at the bit to show what he can do this week in their rematch.

Brady White, Memphis: If Gainwell and the run game don't get the Tigers going, look for White and the pass game to take over to propel the Tigers to an AAC title.

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