SMU @ Memphis (-6), 7:30pm EDT on ABC
Memphis and SMU are the two best teams in the AAC (even though UCF probably should be in the discussion). The SMU Mustangs remain the lone undefeated team in the G5 and have the inside track on an NY6 bowl game. However, their remaining schedule is tough as they still must face Memphis, Navy, and Tulane. Coach Sonny Dykes has created an identity for the SMU defense which is only allowing 27.8 PPG. While all the hype is seemingly around SMU... Memphis is having yet another fantastic season under Mike Norvell. The Tigers are proving they can win on both sides of the ball (39.5 PPG/23 OPG). Norvell continues to find playmakers and it’s still a surprise he hasn't taken a P5 offer (maybe he's waiting on a conference expansion). Overall, few things are driving my decision:
Memphis is home.
Memphis is used to the spotlight playing in two consecutive AAC title games.
Shane Buechele consistency at QB.
If this game was at SMU, then my opinions could be different. But, Norvell gets his "W" in primetime football.
Pick: Memphis (-6)
Houston @ UCF (-21.5), 12pm EDT on ESPN2
It's fair to say this isn't the same Knights team from a couple of years ago. However, they lit up the scoreboard against Temple last week in Philly. The Knights are 6-2 and have a realistic shot of making the AAC title game if Cincinnati can slip up a couple of times. On the contrary, Houston has been having a down year after losing numerous close games to some of the best teams in the nation (SMU and Washington St). They would've had a better record if senior D'Eriq King (QB) decided not to sit out for the rest of the season. While the Knights have shown an improved defense under defensive coordinator Randy Shannon, watch this Houston offense as they have plenty of weapons.
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