Top stories around the conference:
- “UCF stinks.” “No one cares about them.” “And beating them is meaningless.” Except to Pitt, who created a t-shirt as if they won the Super Bowl!
- Speaking of UCF, they announced this week that they have future games scheduled against Boise State and BYU. They also have previously scheduled series’ with Louisville and UNC.
- Houston QB D’Eriq King, who combined for 50 TDs in 2018 (38 pass, 12 rush) announced this week that he would red-shirt and miss the rest of the 2019 season. WR Keith Corbin will join him as well. Houston is 1-3 and hosts Cincinnati on 10/12.
- ECU QB Reid Herring announced he is entering the transfer portal
Memphis wins Thursday night
Memphis improved to 4-0 on the season, winning their first AAC game of the year 35-23 against Navy. It’s always a big deal to beat Navy because of the type of offensive system they run. Despite winning 4 games in 2018, Navy beat Memphis and coming into Thursday was 3-1 all-time vs Memphis.
Memphis QB Brady White did what he needed to, to get the job done, throwing 3 TDs. Their offensive system is great because it doesn’t matter who the running back is. Patrick Taylor Jr remains out injured so Kenneth Gainwell stepped in and gained 104 yards on 14 carries.
As a team, Navy ran for 291 yards.
Memphis Head Coach Mike Norvell has done a great job in 3+ years, compiling a 30-14 record. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was no longer the Memphis coach in December. He has southern ties so Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina (if any of them moved on from their current situations) would make sense as teams to consider Norvell.
Week 5 AAC Games
One of the biggest rivalries in college football takes place in Orlando Saturday night when UConn visits UCF. This rivalry dates back to the ancient days of 2014, when old UConn coach Bob Diaco decided to make up a trophy! He had one built after UConn beat UCF in 2014 and before the 2015 game presented it to the world. When UCF won in 2016, the players and coaches refused to acknowledge the trophies existence. Normally, everyone would run to the bench, grab the trophy and celebrate but many say they didn’t even know it existed.
The spread for this game is UConn +44, and personally, I would take UCF +70. I think this will be bad, after the Knights suffered their first regular season loss since 2016. UCF won 56-17 last year and 49-24 in 2017.
Geoff Collins Bowl
It’s not often a Power 5 school plays at Temple. So what are the chances that when it happens, the team just happens to be coached by Temple’s previous coach? Geoff Collins left the Owls after two years and a 15-10 overall record to take the job at Georgia Tech, replacing Paul Johnson. Collins’ background is defense, most recently working at Florida as Defensive Coordinator from 2015-2016, before becoming head coach at Temple.
Tech beat fellow AAC foe USF in week 2, but lost to The Citadel in their last game.
Temple beat Maryland two weeks ago, slowing their high powered offense, but looked lifeloss in a loss at Buffalo last week. Temple QB Anthony Russo is second the conference with 10 TD passes but also leads the AAC with 5 INTs.
SMU vs USF
If you told me before the season this game would feature a team 4-0 vs 1-2, it wouldn’t surprise me that USF started undefeated and SMU was struggling. But the Bulls only win has come against South Carolina State and they lost the first two weeks to Wisconsin and Georgia Tech. They open up AAC play with a team who has been the biggest surprise in the conference.
SMU has wins against conference contenders Arkansas State and North Texas and last week beat TCU to win the Iron Skillet for the first time since 2011 and are 4-0 for the first time since 1984.
The Mustangs’ offense has been dominant. They have the AAC’s leading passer (Shane Buechele - 1,159 yards), leading rusher (Xavier Jones - 370 yards and conference-high 8 TDs), and leading receiver (Reggie Robertson - 464 yards)
Houston @ North Texas
Cougars are 1-3 and have played a gauntlet schedule through four weeks with games against Oklahoma and Washington State and a road game at Tulane. It doesn’t get easier Saturday for a couple reasons. One, is because North Texas is a tough team and QB Mason Fine is one of the more underrated quarterbacks and in the country. And also because of the bizarre decision by QB King and several players to redshirt.
Sophomore Clayton Tune will start at QB for Houston - he has yet to throw a pass in 2019. He still has starting WR Marquez Stevenson, but no more Keith Corbin.
East Carolina vs Old Dominion
Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech in 2018 and came close to beating Virginia last week, so they are far from a push over. ECU is 2-2 and this might be their last chance at a win in 2019.
QB Holton Ahlers needs to get going (2 TD, 3 INT) and so does the running game. Ahlers is the team’s leading rusher (185 yards).
Non-AAC games of interest:
- College Gameday goes to Lincoln, Nebraska where the ABC Primetime game features a bad Nebraska team (that lost to Colorado and barely beat Illinois) facing Ohio State. Nebraska has back-to-back 4 win seasons, yet for some reason are the media’s sweetheart
- Duke vs Virginia play Friday night in a battle of the last two teams to lose to Cincinnati in a bowl game (Duke in 2012 Belk Bowl and Virginia Tech in 2018 Military Bowl)
- Get ready for some fireworks in the PAC-12 - USC vs Washington and Utah vs Washington State are two great games for the conference. Arizona vs UCLA will include lots and lots of points. And Arizona State vs Cal on Friday will be a fun game too.
- Notre Dame hosts Virginia in a game between two top 25 teams. Irish lost to Georgia last week and Virginia is considered the favorites to win the ACC Coastal division and the right to lose to Clemson in the conference title game.