AAC Week 8 picks: Cincinnati vs. SMU & 3 more
A pair of unbeaten teams put their perfect records on the line this weekend when #9 Cincinnati takes on #16 SMU. We have odds and a pick for that game as well as three more AAC matchups.
#9 Cincinnati vs. #16 SMU
Sun, October 25 2020, 1:00 AM
Southern Methodist Mustangs
As you’ll see in this week’s American Athletic Conference college football slate, experienced foes are matched up with untested opponents. In this case the Cincinnati Bearcats are ranked No. 9, even though their resume isn’t as extensive as Southern Methodist.
The Mustangs are at the tail end of a difficult three-game stretch that started with a three-point victory over Memphis. The score was almost identical last week when they eked out an overtime win over Tulane. In the last two games SMU quarterback Shane Buechele has been impeccable, completing 66% of his passes for five touchdowns and an average of 429 passing yards with zero interceptions.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s toughest test to date was postponed last week. Instead of seeing how the Bearcats’ offense would perform against Tulsa, all we have to point to is an exceptional defensive performance by Luke Fickell’s unit that slowed down Army’s option attack and essentially shut down a subpar USF.
Looking at this game from a matchup perspective, SMU has shown they will give up points, but can Cincinnati score enough? They failed to reach 30 in any of their league games, while Desmond Ridder has completed just 60% of his passes and has thrown four interceptions to just six touchdowns. In the battle of strength-on-strength between the Bearcats’ defense and Mustang offense, Buechele is the best player on the field. I have more confidence that the SMU quarterback can will his team to a victory than I have enough faith in the Cincinnati defense to force turnovers and get timely stops.
Buechele is cool as a cucumber under pressure. You’ll feel calm, cool, and collected by betting on the Mustangs to cover and prove they are the team to beat in the AAC.
Tulsa vs. USF
Fri, October 23 2020, 11:30 PM
South Florida Bulls
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
This week’s edition of Friday Night AACtion features a heavy road favorite. To put it plainly, South Florida is not very good at playing the sport of football. Even though the Bulls have struggled in Jeff Scott’s first season, the Golden Hurricane have been inconsistent. They’ve also only played two games compared to USF’s five. Coming off a week away from the field following the postponement of a much anticipated matchup against Cincinnati, Tulsa is going to be rusty, so rusty that I can’t trust them to cover a number that large.
Temple vs. Memphis
Sat, October 24 2020, 4:00 PM
Following a HUGE 50-49 win over UCF, a smart bettor might try to zig while others zag and bet for a let-down by the Tigers. Don’t try to overthink this one. If the Navy football team has too much firepower for Temple (not America’s actual Navy), Memphis will be able to run this team out of the Liberty Bowl and handily cover the spread.
Houston vs. Navy
Sat, October 24 2020, 7:30 PM
Navy is a hard team to figure out this fall. The results are all over the map: 50-point loss, 27-point comeback, 30-point rivalry loss, and two close wins. At least they have a body of work, unlike this week’s opponent. Houston has played in only two games thanks to COVID-19 postponements. The high-flying Houston offense went back and forth with BYU for about three quarters last week. A late fumble and bad defense let a close game get out of hand late.
When the going got tough for the Cougs, they crumbled. Navy has done just the opposite more times than not this season. Naval cadets in the stands, an unconventional offense, and a gritty mentality will keep this game within two touchdowns.