A Look At The AAC

UH fought hard and came up short; seven AAC teams are bowl eligible now

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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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TEXAS LONGHORNS (10-4), (1-2)

Last week (1-1): L - Oklahoma 72-62, W - 64-50

This week: Wednesday vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday vs. Kansas

After dropping their second consecutive conference game, the Texas Longhorns picked up their first win with a 64-50 victory over Kansas State, Saturday night, inside the Frank C. Erwin Center in Austin.

In the win, Texas had one of their best defensive performances of the season, as the Longhorns held the Wildcats to a season-low 50 points, which includes 23 points on 30.0% field goal shooting (9-30) in the second half.

Following the win, UT will hit the road to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday, before hosting a Big 12 match against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (8-6), (2-1)

Last week (2-0): W - Ole Miss 57-47, W- Vanderbilt 69-50

This week: Tuesday vs. LSU, Saturday South Carolina

Unlike their in-state rivals in Austin, the Texas Aggies had a perfect week after dropping their conference opener against Arkansas. Texas A&M pulled off a victory against Ole Miss (57-47) and Vanderbilt (69-50) to improve on 2-1 in conference play.

In both games, Josh Nebo came up huge for the Aggies, but none more so than in the win against Ole Miss. The senior forward from Houston scored 17 points while shooting 5-for-5 from the floor, and grabbing nine rebounds and collected four blocks in the win. Following the win, The Aggies will host LSU and South Carolina inside the Reed Arena in College Station.

Houston Cougars (12-4), (2-1)

Last week (1-1): W - Temple 78-74, L- Tulsa 63-61

This week: Wednesday vs. SMU, Saturday vs. Wichita State

The Houston Cougars extended their winning streak to six before dropping a two-point loss to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday. In the loss, the Cougars missed seven consecutive shots in the last five minutes despite holding a 60-54 lead midway through the second half.

In both games, freshman guard Caleb Mills came up huge averaging 22.5 points on 51.5% shooting from the field, 48.2% from 3-point range. After the tough loss, the Cougars will return to the Fertitta Center for a Texas showdown against SMU before taking on Wichita State on Saturday.

RICE OWLS (9-8), (1-3)

Last week (1-1): L - Florida Atlantic 81-76, W - FIU 92-78

This week: Thursday vs. Louisiana Tech, Saturday Southern Miss

After losing their fourth straight game in a loss to the Florida Atlantic Owls on Thursday, the Rice Owls bounced back with a convincing 14-point victory over the FIU Panthers on Saturday.

In the win, Rice shot a blazing 52.9% from the field, 40.0% from 3-point land. Five players led the Owls in scoring with Ako Adams leading the way with 19 points (7-13 FG, 5-10 3PT), while Josh Parrish added in 18. Up next, Rice will look to make it two straight against Louisiana Tech on Thursday.

BAYLOR BEARS (13-1), (3-0)

Last week (2-0): W - Texas Tech 57-52, W - Kansas 67-55

This week: Wednesday vs. Iowa State, Saturday Oklahoma State

While improving their national rank to No. 2, the Baylor Bears extended their conference play winning streak to three with wins against Texas Tech on Tuesday and Kansas on Saturday.

In the win against Texas Tech, only one player scored in double digits (Davion Mitchell 14), as the Bears struggled offensively on the road. However, in their 12-point victory over the Jayhawks, Baylor had four players to score in double figures with Jarred Butler leading the way with 22 points shooting 50% from the field, 42.8% from behind the arc.

Following their overall 12th straight victory, the Bears will put their winning streak on the line against Iowa State on Wednesday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (12-3), (3-0)

Last week (2-0): W - Kansas State 59-57, W - Oklahoma State 52-40

This week: Tuesday vs West Virginia, Saturday vs Oklahoma

Currently riding a four-game winning streak, the TCU Horned Frogs are off to a great start to their Big 12 Conference play with wins against Kansas State (59-57) and Oklahoma State (52-40) this past week.

In both games, Desmond Bane proved to be too much for his opponents to handle, averaging 18 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Following the win, TCU will continue their conference play against West Virginia on Tuesday.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (10-5), (1-2)

Last week: (0-2) L - Baylor 57-52, West Virginia 54-66

This week: Tuesday vs. Kansas State, Saturday vs. Iowa State

After falling to the Baylor Bears on their home floor, the Texas Tech Red Raiders dropped their second consecutive game in a 66-54 loss to No. 17 West Virginia.

With their star guard Jahmi'us Ramsey scoring a season-low eight points, Davide Moretti led Texas Tech with 16 points after connecting on four 3-point field goals. Outside Moretti, the Red Raiders struggled as a whole shooting just 30.9 percent from the field. Up next, Tech will look to end their two-game losing skid against Kansas State on Tuesday.

SMU MUSTANGS (12-3), (2-1)

Last week: (1-1) W - UCF 81-74, L - ECU 71-68

This week: Wednesday vs. Houston, Saturday Temple

Following an 81-74 victory over UCF, the SMU Mustangs lost a heartbreaking 71-68 defeat at the hands of East Carolina on Saturday. Tristen Newton scored a 3-point basket in the final second of the game to lead ECU to the upset win over the Mustangs.

Isiaha Mike tallied in 21 points, as SMU's four-game winning streak came to end. Following the loss, the Mustang will look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday, in an American Athletic showdown against the Houston Cougars in Houston.

LSU TIGERS (11-4), (3-0)

Last week (2-0): W - Arkansas 79-77, W - Mississippi State 60-59

This week: Tuesday vs Texas A&M, Saturday Ole Miss

Nowhere near the same level of excitement as their colleagues on the gridiron who just took home the National Championship title, the LSU Tigers are currently riding a four-game winning streak after picking up wins against Arkansas and Mississippi State.

In the win against the Mississippi State, Skylar Mays scored a go-ahead buzzer beater in the final seconds of the game to lead the Tigers to a nail-biting one-point victory. Following the win, the Tigers will travel to College Station to take on the Texas A&M Aggies, before moving on to Oxford Mississippi to take on Ole Miss.

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