Week Eight has brought some achievements to the American Athletic Conference (AAC) that are worth celebrating. First, the Universities of Central and South Florida not only remain at 6-0 and 7-0 respectively. The University of Memphis stays alive after a 17-point deficit to get to 6-1 inching them up to #24. That means three nationally ranked teams in the AAC as well as three that now become bowl eligible.
Early in last week’s action, the Tigers of Memphis got a big comeback win over the Houston Cougars, 42-38, to put themselves back in control of the West division. After Navy’s Midshipmen were toppled by Memphis and the UCF Knights in the past two weeks, it would appear that the triple-option dynamo needs a bit of help to win the West. The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University are now currently second in the division, but there is a huge bullet to dodge with UCF on their schedule in two weeks.
The East is still dominated by the Bulls and Knights who continue to climb the Top 25 currently ranked at #17 and #18 in the AP Poll respectively. These two teams are the toughest remaining on each other’s schedules. The next three games are a collision course that will likely decide who will represent the East in the Conference Championship Game. Until then, USF will host the Cougars in Tampa while UCF hosts the Austin Peay Governors of the Ohio Valley Conference. Both must look to stay vigilant to avoid the trap upset.
SMU wide receiver Trey Quinn got the nod for the Offensive Player of the Week for recording his third straight game with 15 or more receptions against the Cincinnati Bearcats in an overtime win. Quinn also posted a career-high 186 yards. This included a 26-yard snag on fourth down in the extra period that set up the winning field goal. The performance set him as the current reception leader in the nation.
On defense, Memphis defensive back TJ Carter was listed as the Defensive Player of the Week for his career game in the victory over the Cougars. Not only did he make a career-high 14 tackles in the contest, during the final 1:30 he recorded both a forced fumble and an interception to make the bounce-from-behind win a reality.
The Special Teams Player of the Week Honors went to East Carolina’s Jake Verity. The Pirate kicker booted four field goals tying a school-single game record while recording three PATs for a total of 15 points against Brigham Young University.