It’s been a wild season, to say the least, in the ACC. With the regular season coming to a close, teams are now set for postseason games. Before any of the bowl games, we will get Tulane vs SMU for the AAC title, on Saturday, December 2nd at Tulane. Both teams finished 8-0 in league play but the Red Wave gets to host the game based on being ranked higher than SMU.
For Tulane, they had to take care of an unbeaten UTSA team looking to make it to the title game themselves. That would not be an issue as Tulane would jump out to a 23-7 halftime lead and never look back. QB Michael Pratt would have a rough day against the UTSA defense going 9-22 for 125 yards but he threw two touchdown passes. The big game belonged to RB Makhi Hughes as he ran for 166 yards on 26 carries with a rushing touchdown. UTSA will now await their bowl game assignment.
SMU would take a 52-14 lead at the half and cruise to a 59-14 win over Navy. They would get 487 yards of offense led by QB Preston Stone’s big day. He would finish 14-19 for 322 yards and three touchdowns. RB Tyler Lavine would carry the ball just seven times but he scored three touchdowns to make the most of those carries. WR Kelvontay Dixon added 125 yards on four catches and two touchdowns.
It was a show of might from the top two teams in the conference. They will not go on to play for the AAC title on Saturday in Tulane with the Red Wave being the early favorite.
The Bulls of South Florida are the other story of the conference. A team that had won eight games the last four years, regrouped under first-year head coach Alex Golesh and won six games this year. Their reward will be a trip to a bowl game for the first time since 2018 when they went 7-6. They would accomplish the feat by beating up Charlotte in a 48-14 rout in front of one of the loudest games of the year. They would amass 503 yards of offense and hold Charlotte’s starting QB, Trexel Ivey to 98 yards through the air. Byrum Brown would finish the season with over 3,000 passing yards. The first QB in USF history to accomplish this feat. The one word that has described USF football all year is humbled.
The other AAC team looking to see what bowl game they will play in is the Tigers of Memphis. A season that saw them looking to win the AAC came up a bit short. But this past Saturday, the Tigers took care of Temple 45-21 to end the season 9-2 and will now wait to see where they will go bowling.