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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Previewing the best AAC bowl games


The Cougars will square off with the Florida State Seminoles in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31. | File photo/The Cougar

With bowl season just around the corner, the American Athletic Conference has a chance to show just how good they are.

Eight AAC teams earned bids to play in the postseason, including a couple of premier matchups. Here are the best games to look out for this holiday season.

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl — Temple versus Toledo

This is a good matchup between two of the top Group of Five teams in the FBS this season.

Temple University finished the season with a loss to UH in the AAC championship game, but the 10-3 season has still been one of the best in the Owls history.

Temple linebacker Tyler Matekevich was honored as the Bronco Nagurski Award, given to the best defensive player in the country, and he and the Temple defense will be looking to finish their season on a strong note.

Military Bowl — No. 21 Navy versus Pittsburgh

The Midshipmen are making an appearance in the Military Bowl after a great season where they contended until the last week of the conference season for the West division title.

Quarterback Keenan Reynolds has set and broken NCAA records this season in several categories, including total career touchdowns and points in one of the most successful seasons in the history of the United States Naval Academy.

Navy will be hoping to be the second AAC team in as many years to foil the University of Pittsburgh’s hopes, as the Cougars completed an improbably comeback last year to take a win over the Panthers.

Birmingham Bowl — Memphis vs Auburn

While not one of the major bowl matchups this bowl season, it’s a huge game for the AAC.

The University of Memphis will be looking for their second win of the season over an Southeastern Conference team, while also searching for their 10th win of the season.

This will also be big for the Tigers to show how they’ll respond after learning that head coach Justin Fuente will be leaving to take the head coaching job at Virginia Tech University.

The Tigers might be losing their star quarterback Paxton Lynch this offseason, but if he sticks around, it’ll be bad news for the rest of the conference.

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl — Houston vs Florida State

The Peach Bowl is without a doubt the premier game for the AAC this postseason, and the Cougars have a chance to make a big statement.

Group of Five teams don’t often get the same respect as the Power-5 teams, but if UH can pull the upset over the Seminoles, it’ll be beneficial for the AAC.

The key matchup will be the Cougars run defense against the Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook, who’s rushed for almost 1,700 yards this season to go along with 18 touchdowns.

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