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AAC CENTER STAGE
Few non-power 5 leagues get such prime-time positioning as the American Athletic Conference will tonight, and the timing couldn’t get any better thanks to Hurricane Joaquin making this a stay-in Friday for much of the East Coast and the circuit’s top two squads on display. As seen in our regular breakdown piece on Temple, the Owls, top dogs in the circuit’s East Division, visit Charlotte for a 7 o’clock kickoff. At the same time, the West Division’s best team, Memphis, squares off with AAC rival South Florida at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. The Tigers are an absolute light show offensively, coming off a scintillating 53-46 victory over preseason conference favorite Cincinnati. QB Paxton Lynch runs the show, and he’s a fascinating study in the passing touch and subtle athleticism that someone standing 6-foot-7 should not possess, but does. Anyone who gets a chance to watch him and the Tigers should do so. Especially Temple fans if they’d like to see what should be the Owls’ toughest AAC competition this season.
Saturday night’s nonconference showdown at Clemson, pitting the 12th-ranked Tigers against fellow unbeaten, but badly beaten-up No. 6 Notre Dame, has been pitched as a “must win” for either team to stay alive for the season-ending, four-team playoff for a national championship. For Clemson, yeah, it probably is. Considering its consistent failings in big games, and ranking outside the top 10, it likely won’t get much leeway should the Irish escape with a victory.
Notre Dame, on the other hand, would if it lost because of its name, its ranking, and the fact it would have two more opportunities to “prove” its worthiness against recognizable powers, Southern Cal and Stanford, and possibly against another ranked team in Temple, should the Owls enter a Halloween bash between the two undefeated.
Neither ND or Clemson seem the pretender type, regardless of who goes down this weekend. However, we have a few candidates that may get pantsed in Week 5 of the 2015 college football season. Chief among them are:
- No. 23 West Virginia and No. 15 Oklahoma, who face each other.
- No. 13 Alabama and No. 8 Georgia, who face each other.
- No. 25 Florida and No. 3 Ole Miss, who face each other.
Notice a trend? Also, be on the lookout for what goes down with No. 16 Northwestern and No. 19 Wisconsin. They’re not entirely on stable ground as “legit” yet, either.
Perhaps it was a rush to judgment last night on the commentary regarding Miami’s ICE outfits worn in their 34-23 loss at Cincinnati. The unis, an all-white ensemble that somehow morphed silver-touched ice-like lettering and numerals on the jerseys and logo on the helmet with some orange … worked. Well, in fact. Looked much better live than what was posted by the Hurricanes on social media before the game. Of course, ’Canes fans would really like to “ice” the team’s head coach, Al Golden, but that’s another story.
Temple’s What 2 Watch vs. Charlotte