Week 8 AAC - UConn-Cincy, Army-Temple, BYU-UH

Posted Oct 17, 2013

Week 8 Fearless Prediction & Preview - UConn at Cincinnati, Army at Temple, BYU at Houston

- UConn at Cincinnati, Army at Temple, BYU at Houston

Connecticut (0-5) at Cincinnati (4-2) Oct. 19, 12:00, ESPNU

Why You Should Give A Hoot: New coach. New quarterback. Same dreary results for Connecticut. The Huskies, with T.J. Weist on the sidelines and rookie Tim Boyle under center, fizzled out at home versus South Florida, 13-10, to remain winless. If this was the NFL, UConn would be eyeing the top overall pick in next April's draft. Cincinnati required a visit from lowly Temple last Friday to play its best game since the opener with Purdue. The Bearcats aren't winning the American, but a third straight bowl game would qualify as an acceptable start for first-year head man Tommy Tuberville. Holding serve at home will be an important step toward achieving the program's postseason goal.

Why Connecticut Might Win: The Huskies are not without defensive talent. Heck, this unit ranks No. 28 nationally, despite being on the field way more than any D should. Opponents are having an especially difficult time completing passes on UConn. LB Yawin Smallwood and DT Shamar Stephen are impact players in the front seven, while defensive backs Byron Jones, Taylor Mack, Obi Melifonwu and Ty-Meer Brown have done well at keeping the ball in front of them.

Why Cincinnati Might Win: Connecticut's troubles reaching the end zone won't dissipate at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. The Bearcats, despite some inconsistencies this fall, will have few problems stifling Boyle and the necrotic Husky attack. Cincinnati harbors the better offensive talent in this one, from veteran QB Brendon Kay to WR Anthony McClung and a fleet of backs capable of shouldering the load on the ground.

Who To Watch Out For: Cincinnati's backfield depth will help bolster the offense right through December. Depending on who's hot at the time, Tubby can feed Tion Green, Hosey Williams or Ralph David Abernathy without suffering a production drop-off.

- Boyle's problems the rest of the way won't be relegated to his lack of experience. Lack of protection might also stunt his growth. Husky quarterbacks have been sacked 23 times in less than half a season.

- A very active and aggressive Cincinnati D will present problems for the UConn front. The Bearcats will bring a lot of speed to the line of scrimmage, headed by DE Silverberry Mouhon and LB Nick Temple.

What Will Happen: If Connecticut was going to break through, last week in East Hartford against South Florida would have been the time to do it. On the road against recharged Cincinnati will present all kinds of hurdles. The Bearcats will own both sides of the ball, giving a particularly hard time to young Boyle and his FCS-caliber supporting cast.

Prediction: Cincinnati 31 … Connecticut 10
Line: Cincinnati -14.5 – O/U: 46
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 1.5
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Army (3-4) at Temple (0-6) Oct. 19, 1:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Just eight of the nation's 125 FBS programs have yet to taste victory in 2013. Temple is one of them. The Owls have had a couple of close calls along the way, losing to Fordham and Idaho in consecutive weeks by three points, but continue to fall short. First-year head coach Matt Rhule will spend the second half of the year trying to get a win for his seniors, while getting good looks at the underclassmen as much as possible. Army, on the other hand, can qualify for its first bowl game in three years by winning three of its final five games. The Black Knights will try to build on last week's 50-25 blowout of Eastern Michigan on the Hudson.

Why Army Might Win: No one in the country is running the ball more prolifically than the Black Knights so far this season. They average 352 yards a game on the ground, led by junior Terry Baggett, who exploded for a single-game academy record 304 yards and four touchdowns on only 18 carries last week. Temple's offensive woes will be exacerbated by a methodical Army attack that excels at controlling the clock with long, time-consuming drives.

Why Temple Might Win: If ever the Owl offense was going to locate a pulse, this would be the week to do it. Army has had problems stopping the run as well as the pass this fall, ranking 81st nationally in points allowed. Temple feels as if it's located a little spark in rookie QB P.J. Walker, who, while raw, has a live arm to go along with the ability to break containment and pick up first downs with his feet.

Who To Watch Out For: Instinctive LB Tyler Matakevich, as always, will be everywhere on the field for the Owls. The nation's third-leading tackler should get to double-digits by halftime against run-first Army.

- The Owl secondary must pay at least modest attention to Black Knight WR Xavier Moss as well. The 6-2 deep threat is dangerous on play-action, catching 18 of Army's 38 completions for 263 yards and a touchdown.

What Will Happen: Army is a confident squad, whose execution of the triple-option will be problematic for Temple. Baggett, RB Larry Dixon and QB Angel Santiago will spearhead what the Black Knights hope will be their first of two wins in Philadelphia before the end of the year.

Prediction: Army 34 … Temple 21
Line: Temple -2.5 – O/U: 58.5
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 1.5
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BYU (4-2) at Houston (5-0) Oct. 19, 3:30, ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: One of the sneaky-good matchups of Week 8 pits BYU versus Houston for the first-ever meeting between the schools. Houston is one of the nation's 14 remaining unbeaten teams, but what do we really know about them? The Cougars have built a spotless mark on the back of a flimsy schedule that features no one tougher than Rice. A win this weekend will help validate Houston's first half, while giving it a springboard into the resumption of the American schedule. BYU has regrouped from a 1-2 start to win three straight games, including last week over Georgia Tech, 38-20. The Cougars want to build a head of steam before playing marquee second-half games next month with Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

Why BYU Might Win: The visiting Cougars are battle-tested, having already faced Texas, Utah and Georgia Tech. The host? Not so much. BYU is going to be the more physical team on both sides of the ball. It'll run the ball down the throat of a suspect Houston defense, using QB Taysom Hill and RB Jamaal Williams. The fact that Hill has thrown the ball better over the last two weeks is going to prevent the Cougars from pressing up to slow down the running game.

Why Houston Might Win: A week after preparing for the triple-option of Georgia Tech, BYU must now brace for the wide-open passing attack of Houston. It's going to be a tough transition for Bronco Mendenhall and his coaching staff. The Lone Star State Cougars are led by a true freshman quarterback, John O'Korn, but he's been playing like an upperclassman. O'Korn has an exciting set of receivers, led by sophomore Deontay Greenberry, who's already caught 39 passes for 606 yards and three touchdowns.

Who To Watch Out For: How will O'Korn handle the pressure of facing a grown-up defense for the first time this year? BYU rarely budges, and LB Kyle Van Noy is a terror coming hard off the edge.

- Houston has a collection of feisty linebackers of its own, the catalyst of the nation's top-ranked takeaway unit. The Cougars hope to offset the power of BYU with the speed and tenacity of linebackers Derrick Matthews and Efrem Oliphant, and FS Trevon Stewart.

- WR Cody Hoffman on play-action should be lethal for BYU this weekend. The senior has great size and balls skills, the kind of playmaker on the outside Houston has yet to face this year.

What Will Happen: Even at home, Houston is about to get exposed as a product of a cushy first-half schedule. While head coach Tony Levine has rebounded nicely in his second year, his team will lack the muscle to take down BYU. The Cougars in white will make it four in a row, pounding away for 200 yards on the ground, while harassing O'Korn into costly mistakes.

Prediction: BYU 33 … Houston 20
Line: BYU -9 – O/U: 63.5
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 2.5
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