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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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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