This week in the AAC

Courtesy of schedules:

12:00 PM Florida International @ #7 Louisville Tickets "
3:00 PM Houston vs. Rice* Tickets "
3:30 PM Arkansas @ Rutgers Tickets "
4:00 PM Cincinnati @ Miami (OH) Tickets "
4:30 PM Arkansas State @ Memphis Tickets "
7:00 PM Southern Methodist @ #10 Texas A&M Tickets "
8:00 PM #15 Michigan @ Connecticut Tickets "

My thoughts...

Biggest game for outside perception of conference: Arkansas @ Rutgers. Let's face it. There's no way either UConn or SMU are winning their games. But If Arkansas goes into Piscataway and thumps the Scarlet Knights, the media will continue to ignore the AAC. It's not that they'll bad mouth it. They'll just continue to ignore it, which is worse. The old Hollywood adage rings true: bad press is better than no press at all. A win by Rutgers, however, and that means the AAC will have "upset" a Big Ten and an SEC team in back to back weeks and could create some light media buzz on the East Coast. Rutgers is a team that decent things are expected from, and a win here would get people feeling better about Rutgers and the AAC. We need another team in the top 25, and maybe a 3rd team in the top 35-40. Again, a win here would go a long way towards accomplishing that.

Biggest barometer game for conference: Houston vs. Rice. You can generally get some feel for the relative strength of a conference by looking at the teams in the middle. We'll see how these two middling teams can differentiate themselves. Houston needs this game, as does the conference. I think a Houston win here means a healthy pulse reading for the AAC, all things considered. Yes, that's a meteorological and medical metaphor in the same paragraph. The AAC brings out the best in all of us.

Worst matchup: Arkansas St @ Memphis. Another weekly reminder as to the sad state of Memphis football. This time they will lose by double digits at home to a regional recruiting rival and fall further into the abyss. Just for fun, remember this? Michael Bush doing Michael Bush thing

My picks:

Louisville takes FIU behind the woodshed and wins by 35.

Houston beats Rice. I'm thinking they either need a late TD or a really late stop to get the win.

Rutgers wins by a FG over Arky.

Cincinnati names the score vs. Miami.

Arky St. beats Memphis by 10.

SMU keeps it close through the opening kickoff vs. A&M. After that, the Bama hangover is gone and JFB does what he does. SMU will put up some points, though.

Finally, Michigan is just better than UConn. And UConn knows it. The home crowd will underwhelm as usual, and UConn will slip closer and closer to the Mendoza line. Michigan by 10.

Power rankings:

1. Louisville

2. UCF

3a. Cincinnati

3b. Rutgers

5. Houston

6-10. Pick 'em.

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