What a pleasure it was to see SMU against Memphis as the big Saturday night TV game on ABC this past weekend.
In a college football landscape where the power conferences, especially the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 get so much attention and the vast majority of the TV spotlight, it was refreshing to see the Mustangs and Tigers get the main event treatment.
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They played a heck of a back-and-forth game and it was a fantastic opportunity for the American Athletic Conference to showcase what a strong and deep league it has this season. The fact it was a high-scoring affair which saw Memphis come out on top, 54-48, didn’t hurt keeping viewers and bettors sticking around to watch on the flat screen.
In fact, the AAC in college football from top to bottom is stronger and deeper this season in my opinion than a very watered down and mediocre ACC. The top five teams in the AAC (SMU, Memphis, Navy, Cincinnati and Central Florida) are a combined 37-6 SU, 27-16 ATS this season.
You may want to watch out for American teams during bowl season as they could prove to be money makers for bettors.
Temple -1 at South Florida: This is a cheap price to back the superior squad. Temple has the much better defense and the Owls have also faced and fared better against a tougher schedule than South Florida.
Temple has wins against Maryland and Memphis on its resume while South Florida’s wins came against South Carolina State, Connecticut, BYU (without its starting QB that day and USF won despite a -124 total yardage deficit) and East Carolina.
There isn’t a single quality win there for the Bulls. This is a step down in class for Temple after three tough games in a row against UCF, SMU and Memphis — three of the best teams in the American. Temple gets the win here. TEMPLE
Wake Forest -2.5 at Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech left it all out on the field last week in a tough 21-20 road loss at Notre Dame in which the Hokies covered from start to finish as 17.5 point underdogs. I think it will be difficult for this squad to pick themselves up for this contest against a very good Wake Forest squad that is 7-1 SU this season with the only loss coming to Louisville.
The Demon Deacons have a very good offense, led by QB Jamie Newman who guided Wake to a 44-10 blowout win against NC State last week as he carved up the Wolfpack defense.
Virginia Tech’s defense has been a bit better in recent weeks but I don’t trust their psyche nor their defense to match up well here against one of the better offenses they’ve played this season. Virginia Tech doesn’t have the offense to catch up if they fall behind. WAKE FOREST
Charlotte at UTEP, Total 58: Charlotte is one of the nation’s top Over teams as the 49ers are 7-2 to the Over this season. Charlotte’s offense led by QB Chris Reynolds, RB Benny LeMay and WR Victor Tucker have averaged 32.1 points per game and played at a very fast pace offensively.
On the flip side, UTEP’s offense got their best QB, Kai Locksley, back on the field two weeks ago prior to their game against Louisiana Tech. Since then, the Miners’ offense has improved scoring 21 and 26 points in their last two games against Louisiana Tech and North Texas.
UTEP’s defense is horrid as the Miners have surrendered at least 31 points in all but one game this season. Expect plenty of points. OVER
North Texas at Louisiana Tech, Total 68: North Texas is 5-0 to the Over in its last five games with a very explosive offense led by QB Mason Fine but a defense that has allowed an average of 418 total yards per game at six yards per play and 32.4 points per game.
Louisiana Tech is 3-0 to the Over in its last three games with an offense that is very strong and well balanced. QB J’mar Smith has been very efficient while RB Justin Henderson and the WR duo of Cee Jay Powell and Malik Stanley have been big playmakers for the Bulldogs.
North Texas lost many of its top defensive players from last season and the Mean Green stop unit has struggled most of this season, allowing 35.2 points per game in their last five conference games. This has shootout written all over it. OVER
Last week: 1-1-1