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Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Around the AAC: Spicy matchups coming up this weekend


UCF, Navy and USF come into the weekend with undefeated records. The AAC could see a big shake-up if any of these teams are upset this weekend. | File photo/TheCougar

The American Athletic Conference has yet to disappoint this year. The Power 6 conference now has three ranked teams after another week of great matchups.

These matchups included UCF, which continued its dominant season with a 51-23 win against Cincinnati and is now the 18th team in the country after the 51-23 victory. Navy joined UCF in the top 25 and is also still undefeated after a narrow 48-45 victory over Air Force. Junior quarterback Zach Abey threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Carmona with 15 seconds left in the game for an exciting victory.

Saturday looks like it will feature plenty of promising matchups that could shake up the conference and the top 25. Here is a look at some of the best matchups of the weekend.

#25 Navy (5-0, 3-0 Conf) Vs. Memphis (4-1, 1-1 Conf)

Although Navy is coming into the game undefeated and ranked, the Tigers will be a tough opponent as they are rolling after their 70-point victory over UConn.

Both teams could not be more different in the way they approach their offenses. Navy has a stout rushing attack that averages a whopping 414.2 yards per game while Memphis focuses on its passing offense with 316.8 passing yards per game.

Memphis is the more balanced team and can expose the one-sided attack of the Midshipmen if they can stop the run. Senior quarterback Riley Ferguson will face a tough challenge against Navy but should manage to hold his own. Memphis is ahead of Navy in both points scored per game and total offense.

Even though Navy is ranked, they could see themselves fall from grace if they lose to the strong Memphis team.

Navy will battle Memphis at 2:45 p.m Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Tennessee.

#18 South Florida (5-0, 2-0 Conf) Vs. Cincinnati (2-4, 0-2 Conf)

The No. 18 South Florida Bulls are expected to run over the Cincinnati Bearcats in their Saturday matchup, but it won’t be so easy.

Cincinnati was expected to be a good team this year, but with a 2-4 record, they haven’t lived up to the expectations. The Bearcats are a desperate team looking to do whatever they can to win a game. The undefeated and ranked Bulls are a perfect team for Cincinnati to surprise and ruin their season.

But USF will be no easy task as they come into the weekend with the fifth-best scoring team in the country with 44.8 points a game. They are a bit one-sided and also come in fifth in the country with 309.2 rushing yards per game.

Senior quarterback Quinton Flowers has led South Florida to an undefeated season as one of the most dynamic players in the country.

Cincinnati’s defense will match up nicely against the rushing attack of the Bulls as they have allowed only 102.2 yards per game on the ground. The problem is that they haven’t faced a stacked team like USF and will likely face an uphill battle Saturday.

#22 UCF (4-0, 2-0 Conf) VS. East Carolina (1-5, 1-2 Conf)

This may not be the barn burner that the other games mentioned will be, but it is a conference game, and UCF has seen its fare share of miscues despite the strong showing this year.

ECU is not a good team this year, scoring a little over 20 points a game and allowing almost 50 points to opposing offenses. Things on defense got so bad this year that they replaced Kenwick Thompson, their defensive coordinator, with line coach Robert Prunty.

They announced the changes after a 56-20 loss against West Virginia, but things haven’t gotten much better for the Pirates this season. Meanwhile, UCF is on a roll and is making the AAC look like the true power conference they claim to be.

ECU will be in for a long day against the third-best offense in the nation led by sophomore quarterback Milton McKenzie and junior wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith.

Despite the easy matchup, college football can be crazy. This weekend is primed for an underdog to take advantage of what people think is an unbeatable team.

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