Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bilo's College Football PASS/FAIL Reports Conference Title Chase: American Athletic Conference Week 11

     With the stretch run coming for conference championships, being the month of November, this is the time of year where my PASS/FAIL reports take on a different direction. Instead of concentrating on who has passed or failed for a given week, I start to focus in on those programs that are still in contention for conference titles. There are a total of 57 programs left in contention for conference titles across 10 FBS conferences at this point. Some are loosely in contention, or they need serious help to win their race, and some are in direct contention. One division, the Mountain West (West Division) has seen a champion at this early date in San Diego State, who will play for the Mountain West Title. Here is a look at who is in contention, by conference and division, and this will be a focal point of this report moving forward.

American Athletic
East Division: Temple, USF, UCF
Temple stayed slightly ahead in the East by taking down U Conn 21-0 last week, and remains a half game ahead of USF. The Owls hold the tie breaker in head to head over both the Bulls and UCF, as Temple has beaten both already this season. When looking at the future schedule for Temple (7-3 overall), the Owls should be favored both in games against Tulane and East Carolina, and look to be heavy favorites to play in the AAC title game.
USF, by virtue of losing to Temple, needs to the Owls to drop at least one of those two games, and the Bulls need to win out. The Bulls were idle this week, but they have a brutal slate with three games left, and two of those are on the road in the next two weeks as USF travels to Memphis and SMU before returning home to take on UCF in the finale.
UCF has been on a rebuilding movement under Scott Frost, but the Knight are clearly ahead of schedule. They also need some help from Temple, as the Knights would require two losses for Temple in their final two games played, and UCF would need to win out, including in their finale against UCF. Currently, UCF site 1.5 games back in the East. They have two straight home games coming up against Cincinnati, and against a brutally tough Tulsa club, before finishing on the road at USF.
West Division: Tulsa, Navy, Houston, Memphis, SMU
Yes, all of the above teams are still in it to some degree in the West. Houston was expected to dominate in this division, but that never really happened. Tulsa and Navy are now in control, and they have a date coming up this week with Navy on the road, before hitting the road again the following week to play at UCF. Tulsa needs to win both of these games as things sit. They have already beaten Memphis, but fell to Houston. Without some help, Tulsa is in must win mode moving forward.
Navy has a bit of an easier path if they should defeat Tulsa this week. The Middies have already beaten both Houston and Memphis, but they go on the road for three solid weeks after this game, if you include the non con season finale against Army. Navy plays at East Carolina and at SMU after hosting Tulsa.
Houston has been a flop in my book after beating Oklahoma, and never fully lived up to their ability in conference play. Losses to SMU and Navy have the Cougars on the outside looking in, and they need Tulsa to beat Navy, and then need to get Tulsa to lose to pull into a tie. If that happens, Houston goes to the AAC title game. If Navy beats Tulsa, things start to look bleak for the Cougars, who travel to Memphis in the season finale after taking on Tulane and Louisville (non con game).
Memphis and SMU on fringe candidates, but still have not fallen off the grid. Memphis is just one game back in the West, but they have already lost to Tulsa and Navy, so they are barely hanging on. The Tigers still have Houston at home coming up, but they need some serious help, and it may be too much to ask.
SMU is in the same boat as Memphis, although the Mustangs have beaten Houston. For the Mustangs, it is likely, at 2 games back, going to be more about making a push for a bowl bid. SMU (4-5) still has games against East Carolina, USF, and Navy, making that a tough go.
Bowl Eligible Teams: Temple, USF, Tulsa, Navy, Houston, Memphis

Bowl Ineligible: U Conn

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