Week Ten swings by and the postseason picture has more focus in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). In an inter-division battle, the trap was set for the Top 25 ranked UCF Knights in the East as the SMU Mustangs of the West forced three turnovers. Yet, Central Florida escaped in a 31-24 victory as hope for a Conference Championship remains legitimate. Regardless of the missed upset, the game was worthy to be the featured contest in the AAC this week.
SMU’s loss gives a commanding division lead to the AP’s No.19 Memphis Tigers. In order for anyone else to step in and takeover the West, the Tiger must “lose out” as they hold the advantage in either conference record or head-to-head tiebreakers compared to the competition at the top. In two weeks, if Southern Methodist steals the win from the Tigers in Memphis, the Houston Cougars and Mustangs could become temporary fans of the East Carolina Pirates to open for one of them to represent the West in the Conference Championship.
On the East side, the AP’s No.12 Knights and their ability to win the conference is firmly in their control. With the UConn Huskies, Temple Owls, and USF Bulls who are No.21 in the AP Poll remaining on the schedule, it’s a matter of holding serve to host the Conference Championship on December 2nd.
Going to player awards, the Offensive Player of the Week was USF quarterback, Quinton Flowers, who had a career day beating the Huskies in Connecticut, 37-20. Flowers bloomed eternal tossing 24 for 37 (65 percent) with 385 yards passing with three touchdowns and 131 yards rushing on 16 carries. His combined 516 yards of offense is a school record.
Defensive Player of the Week honors go to Temple defensive end, Sharif Finch. Finch and the Owls upset the Navy Midshipmen 34-26 in a contest where edge man posted two sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss. An astonishing feat against Navy’s vaunted triple-option offense.
The nod for Special Teams Player of the Week is another Bull as kicker Emilio Nadelman is selected once again. Nadelman knocked in a carerr-long 51 yard field goal to accompany is two others from 38 and 25 while posting 4-for 4-on PATs.