Week 7 AAC - TONIGHT Temple vs. Cincinnati

Posted Oct 10, 2013

Week 7 Fearless Predictions - Temple at Cincinnati, USF at UConn, Memphis at Houston

- Rutgers at Louisville

Temple (0-5) at Cincinnati (3-2) Oct. 11, 8:30, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Cincinnati needs to get its act together soon, or else it's going to be scrambling for bowl eligibility in November. After beginning the Tommy Tuberville era with optimism, the Bearcats have floundered in their last three games with FBS opponents, bowing to Illinois, struggling to put away Miami U. and becoming South Florida's first victim of 2013. A visit from Temple on Friday night figures to be a timely antidote. The Owls have competed in all five games, losing three by single-digits, but an inability to move the ball has kept them among the nine remaining winless teams in college football.

Why Temple Might Win: Despite being on the field far too long, the Owl D has played valiantly this year. Heck, Notre Dame, Houston and Louisville failed to score more than 30 points on Temple. LB Tyler Matakevich is the star of an unheralded group that plays with sound fundamentals for coordinator Phil Snow. The veteran Cincy O-line just got done being whipped at the point of attack by South Florida.

Why Cincinnati Might Win: The Bearcat defense is playing well, which ought to concern sputtering Temple. Sure, the competition has been soft, but Cincinnati has gone more than 10 quarters without yielding an offensive touchdown. The Owls, who will start rookie P.J. Walker for the first time, will have a difficult time moving the ball on an underrated front seven being spearheaded by DE Silverberry Mouhon and linebackers Nick Temple, Greg Blair and Jeff Luc.

Who To Watch Out For: Connor Reilly wasn't moving Temple, so it's Walker's turn to take the reins of the offense. The true freshman flashed his athleticism and strong arm last week, coming off the bench to account for 215 total yards and a touchdown pass.

- The Bearcats need to see more consistency from QB Brendon Kay, who's thrown two picks in each of the last two games. With the running game struggling to pop big plays, it's more important than ever that Kay puts his receivers in a position to make things happen.

What Will Happen: While the defense can keep Temple in games, the lack of an offense will continue to prevent it from actually winning those games. After hitting what should be a low point of 2013 last week in Tampa, Cincinnati will rebound at home behind the play of its own defense.

Prediction: Cincinnati 37 … Temple 13
Line: Cincinnati -21 – O/U: 53
Must See Rating: (5 Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight – 1 I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding) … 2
Buy tickets for this game at TicketCity

South Florida (1-4) at Connecticut (0-4) Oct. 12, 12:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: South Florida and Connecticut enter Week 7 with a very different vibe than they had just a week or so ago. Sure, these are two of the worst FBS programs, both having lost badly to FCS opponents. However, the Bulls broke through last week with an upset of Cincinnati for the first win of head coach Willie Taggart's tenure. And the Huskies are set to begin a fresh era now that Paul Pasqualoni has been shown the door. Not only has T.J. Weist been elevated to interim head coach, but he's already named true freshman Tim Boyle as the new starting quarterback.

Why South Florida Might Win: It's true that you're only as good as your last game, which just happens to be the Bulls' best game so far in 2013. The offense continues to sputter, so the defense and special teams provided all of the points that USF needed. LB DeDe Lattimore had a scoop-and-score, Nate Godwin returned a blocked field goal for six and Marvin Kloss nailed all four of his field tries, including a 52-yarder. South Florida's athletic D will cause problems for the inexperienced Boyle and a brutal offensive line.

Why Connecticut Might Win: The Huskies have more talent than what was shown in September, especially on defense, which contributed to Pasqualoni's ouster. The Bulls have hideous and rudderless on offense, averaging 4.4 yards per play. They'll run headlong into an inspired UConn D that gets its lead from next-level LB Yawin Smallwood. None of the cadre of erratic quarterbacks used by Taggart this fall will have success against a Husky secondary that's played well so far.

Who To Watch Out For: What's the deal with Boyle? He fielded offers from a bunch of Northeast schools last year as well as Florida. He's 6-4 and 212 pounds, with the head and the arm to gradually evolve into a franchise quarterback in Storrs.

- South Florida will continue to pins its offensive fortunes on the legs of RB Marcus Shaw. The team's only consistent playmaker has rushed for 552 yards on only 86 carries, despite getting no support from the passing game.

What Will Happen: Connecticut and South Florida are similarly flawed programs hoping to change course at the midway point of the year. Both also have a hint of optimism for different reasons. The Huskies will play inspired football for the first time in 2013, conservatively leaning on the running of Lyle McCombs and the play of the D to escape the ranks of the winless.

Prediction: Connecticut 21 … South Florida 17
Line: Connecticut -5.5 o/u: 44
Must See Rating: (5 Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight – 1 I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding) … 1.5
Buy tickets for this game at TicketCity

Memphis (1-3) at Houston (4-0) Oct. 12, 12:00, ESPNEWS

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Just 17 FBS programs have yet to lose a game in 2013. Houston is one of them. However, the Cougars' highest rated victim so far was Rice, so no one knows for sure just how much of a threat they'll be in the American. A visit from former Conference USA co-member Memphis will provide a few more clues, but questions will remain beyond the weekend. The Tigers' middling mark is deceptive right now. The team is better than 1-3 and improving each week. They routed Arkansas State two weeks ago, and led UCF in the final quarter of Saturday's game before suffering an agonizing defeat in the waning moments.

Why Memphis Might Win: The Tiger D is for real, allowing just 19 points a game. It's been outstanding at the point of attack, yielding just 3.1 yards per carry, while ranking No. 7 nationally in sacks. Memphis is determined to put the heat on true freshman QB John O'Korn with an unheralded D-line that's being fueled by high-motor defensive ends Martin Ifedi and Terry Redden.

Why Houston Might Win: The Cougars are well-rested from their bye, and they're eager to play in their first official home game since the opener. The 92nd-ranked Memphis offense will have a hard time keeping up with a Houston attack that was just beginning to shift into second gear before the break. O'Korn has gotten comfortable since starter David Piland was concussed, throwing 10 touchdown passes and just one pick. His top receivers, Deontay Greenberry and Daniel Spencer will continuously be a step ahead of the Tiger DBs.
Who To Watch Out For: While the Memphis D-line can be a handful, Houston does boast a veteran front wall that's done a nice job so far in pass protection. With time, O'Korn can be a very accurate distributor.

- The Tigers start a rookie behind center as well, Paxton Lynch. Lynch, though, has been slower to develop than O'Korn, and his supporting cast is not as dynamic as the one in Houston.

- The off week has allowed the Cougars to get healthy, particularly RB Kenneth Farrow. His return means that Houston will have a potent one-two punch out of the backfield to go along with Ryan Jackson.
What Will Happen: Memphis will continue to accumulate more moral victories than actual wins, failing to keep pace with the Houston offense. The Tigers' defense will keep things close throughout, but the passing of O'Korn combined with the running of Jackson and Farrow will keep the Cougars in the unbeaten fraternity for at least another week.
Prediction: Houston 31 … Memphis 20
Line: Houston -10 o/u: 52.5
Must See Rating: (5 Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight – 1 I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding) … 2
Buy tickets for this game at TicketCity