Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bilo's College Football PASS/FAIL Report Week 8: AAC

PASS: Temple, SMU, Navy, UCF, Tulsa, Cincinnati
Temple is in must win mode, and they picked up a huge win this week against USF, 46-30. This win positioned the owls as the team to beat in the American East, as they are now tied with the Bulls for first, with the edge being given to the Owls for straight up win. Temple is now in position to be playing for the AAC crown after looking down and out not long ago.
SMU is not in a position to win the AAC West, but they are still not outside of bowl contention right now. Beating Houston was a huge step in the rebuilding process under Chad Morris. but it was even bigger for post season considerations for the Mustangs.
Navy has hung in tough this season, and now they are coming off wins over Houston and Memphis. Navy is in complete control in the West, and is now starting to go into cruise mode for the division title. Will Worth, who was the second string QB to start the season, accounted for 5 TDs and over 200 yards rushing in the win over Memphis.
The job that Scott Frost has done at UCF is amazing, and the Knights picked up another hard fought win at U Conn yesterday, placing them just a half game out of first in the East. UCF already has a loss to Temple blocking their path, but they do play USF in the season finale, and a loss by Temple, paired with winning out, could land the Knights in the AAC title game. It is a long shot, but still very possible for a team who went winless last fall.
Speaking of jobs well done, Phillip Montgomery at Tulsa should be on some short lists when it comes to programs looking for coaches this off season. Tulsa, coming off an easy win over Tulane, is now 5-2 on the season. They are also a game and a half out in the West, tied for 2nd. Tulsa also still has upcoming dates with both Memphis and Navy, which could be a huge opportunity for the Golden Hurricane. This is a developing bit of drama.
Cincinnati finally wrapped up their first conference win of the season, beating a reeling East Carolina squad 31-19. Gunner Kiel, who has been in the dog house all season, started and passed for 348 yards and 4 TDs in the win. The Bearcats are still in bowl consideration, but seem way outside in the East race.

FAIL: USF, Houston, Memphis, U Conn, Tulane, East Carolina
USF fell apart against Temple on the road this week, and it could have just cost them a shot at an AAC title this season. USF is tied with Temple, but they do not have the edge. They have to win out moving forward, and that could be a tall order.
Houston went from being talked about in terms of crashing the final four, to now being talked about as a second or even third tier bowl performer at this point after losing to SMU, giving the Cougars their second loss against a divisional opponent. At 3-2 in league play, the Cougars are an also ran at this point.
It looks like short of winning out, and Navy losing two games in conference play, the Tigers are looking like an also ran after falling to the division leading Middies yesterday. Like Houston, the Tigers are starting to look like a mid tier bowl contender rather than pushing for a division title.
U Conn was shut out in the second half of a loss at home to UCF, and until the Huskies get some offensive players, Bob Diaco's club will be a bottom dweller in this league. The Huskies are now just 1-4 in league play, and are two losses away from bowl elimination.
Tulane fell to 0-3 in AAC play and 3-4 overall after falling big to Tulsa, and Willie Fritz has his work cut out in New Orleans, as he continues to try to build the Green Wave into something. The cupboard was empty after the Curtis Johnson debacle, so he will need some time.
East Carolina may be starting to regret firing Ruffin McNeil now. East Carolina has lost five straight after getting knocked off by Cincy, and the Scotty Montgomery era is off to a terrible start. This was not one of my favorite firing/hiring combos this season, and with ECU at 2-5, you can see why.

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