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American Athletic Conference Week 1 Game Previews & Fearless Predictions


There might be several games against FCS teams, but it’ll still be an entertaining Week One. Check out the game previews and fearless predictions for all the American Athletic Conference games.


CFN Week 1 Expert Picks

American Athletic Conference Game of the Week

Houston vs. Oklahoma Game Preview & Fearless Prediction
12:00 PM, ABC, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

Thursday, September 1

Tulane at Wake Forest

7:00 PM, ESPN3, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC

So how quickly will the Willie Fritz offense work at Tulane?

It’s not going to be a repeat of the Georgia Southern running game right away, but the spread-option attack will be a curveball the Demon Deacon defense will have to figure out how to hit.

Here’s Tulane’s big problem. Its offensive line is going to be a weak spot early on as it tries to get the timing of the attack down, while Wake Forest’s defensive front should be the team’s biggest strength. The Demon Deacon offense won’t be anything special, but it’ll be just effective enough to get up early and let the defense take control from there.

Tulane’s offense will have its day, and it’ll eventually work great – like next week against Southern. It’s just not going to be operating at peak efficiency quite yet.

Line: Wake Forest -17
Final Score: Wake Forest 31, Tulane 16
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 1.5
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Maine at Connecticut

7:00 PM, ESPN3, Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT

Will either team be able to throw the ball? The UConn offense was a nightmare last season, but the backfield is in place to start running a bit better, while the defense should once again be a brick wall at times. Teams couldn’t throw the ball on the Huskies last year, and they’re not going to do it much this season.

It’s obviously a new year and a new team, but Maine also couldn’t move the ball last season coming up with ten points or fewer in six games and a total of 16 in three of the last four. The Black Bears played some terrific defense, too, and they will again, but the offense won’t be able to move the ball a lick.

Line: No Line
Final Score: Connecticut 27, Maine 11
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

UT Martin at Cincinnati

7:00 PM, ESPN3, Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

The Skyhawks of UT Martin are going to be okay. Unfortunately, last year’s team was known – by anyone who paid attention – as the one that got obliterated by Ole Miss by 73 in the opener, but it came up with a strong year with a terrific passing game and steady offense. QB Troy Cook is back, but the Cincinnati quarterback situation isn’t so solid.

Hayden Moore, not Gunner Kiel, got the call for the Bearcat starting gig, and now he’s got to show he’s ready to make the offense explode before having to go to Purdue next week. He will.

The Bearcats will give up a few yards and some big plays, but the offense will roll at will in a layup of a win.

Line: No Line
Final Score: Cincinnati 52, UT Martin 17
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

Friday, September 2

Army at Temple

7:00 PM CBSSN Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA

If Temple Is back to being Temple, this game will be a big, big problem for Army.

The Black Knights should have their best defense yet under head coach Todd Monken, but the option offense will have a hard time getting anything going against an Owl defense that’s still a killer. It doesn’t have Tyler Matakevich around at linebacker anymore, but the line’s going to be among the best in the American Athletic Conference again, and the remaining linebackers aren’t that bad.

Temple’s offense won’t be bad, either, with RB Jahad Thomas pacing the attack and keeping Phillip Walker from having to force any deep throws. This will be a simple-formula type of game for the Owls. Force Army into third-and-long, go on a few long scoring drives, don’t turn it over. It should work without a problem.

Line: Temple -17
Final Score: Temple 31, Army 16
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Saturday, September 3

Fordham at Navy

12:00 PM, CBSSN, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Be very, very, very afraid, Navy.

Fordham might be replacing head coach Joe Moorhead, but former offensive coordinator Andrew Breiner knows what he’s doing with a fantastic attack that should be the best in the Patriot League. Last year the Rams had the second-most efficient passing game in the FCS, and the O should be every bit as strong and every bit as dangerous this year.

Fordham’s early defensive issue will be dealing with big passing teams – that’s obviously lot Navy. The Midshipmen will show that there’s life after Keenan Reynolds, and the offense will control the ball and the clock enough to keep Fordham’s firepower off the field for long stretches, but this will be a thriller. It’s just the push Navy will need before dealing with UConn’s run defense next week.

Line: No Line
Final Score: Navy 27, Fordham 20
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 3

Western Carolina at East Carolina

6:00 PM, ESPN3, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC

How will the Pirates look under Scottie Montgomery? Former Minnesota Golden Gopher Philip Nelson is getting the call at quarterback, and he’d better be terrific with NC State coming up next.

The Catamounts of Western Carolina aren’t going to throw enough defense at the Pirates to slow down the fun once it gets going after a sluggish first few drives, but the offense should be able to be just efficient enough and balanced enough to make this a little bit of a game.

East Carolina will win, but it’ll be more than just a light scrimmage. As long as Nelson is sharp, the Pirates will get what they want.

Line: No Line
Final Score: East Carolina 40, Western Carolina 17
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 1.5
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

San Jose State at Tulsa

7:00 PM, CBSSN, Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK

Get ready for a wild offensive shootout.

Tulsa’s offense should wing it all around the yard with a fantastic passing attack with QB Dane Evans and his tremendous receiving corps about to crank it up against a San Jose State pass defense that was among the best in the country last year – statistically. It was okay overall, but that’s because everyone spent so much time running the ball.

The Spartans are retooling a bit offensively, but they’ve got a good receiving corps and good tools to play around with – along with a solid linebacking corps on the other side – but they won’t have the pop to keep up the pace. Both teams will get their shots in, but Evans won’t be pressured on the way to a massive passing day.

Line: Tulsa -4
Final Score: Tulsa 47, San Jose State 37
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 3
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2.5

SMU at North Texas

7:00 PM American Mean Green Stadium, Denton, TX

Can SMU finally start having a little bit of success? For one week – before having to go to Baylor – the Mustangs should look the part of a real, live college football program again against a North Texas team that’s in a rebuilding mode.

The Mustangs couldn’t do much defensively last year, but they stuffed the Mean Green in a 31-13 win. It didn’t get better from there for a UNT offense that had a nightmare of a time throwing the ball or getting the attack moving. Enter new head coach Seth Littrell, who’s essentially in the same spot Chad Morris was last year at this time when he took over SMU.

The Mean Green will try to move quickly and with a faster tempo, and it’ll work at times, but SMU’s offense will be more potent. Forget the 63-0 loss to Memphis to end last year – the Mustangs will build off the offensive success over the second half of last season.

Line: SMU -9.5
Final Score: SMU 37, North Texas 27
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

SE Missouri State at Memphis

7:00 PM, ESPN3, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN

Everyone’s going to want to see how the Memphis offense rolls under new head coach Mike Norvell, but the Tigers will put this away easily on defense.

The Redhawks of SE Missouri State won’t make a whole slew of mistakes, and they should be able to come up with a little bit of a ground game, but the offense isn’t going to get rolling. Coming up with decent drives for SEMO will be like pulling teeth.

The upperclassmen-laden defensive front seven will dominate for the Tigers, and along the way, new starting quarterback – Tennessee transfer Riley Ferguson – will come up with a terrific game. He’s not going to be Paxton Lynch, but for one game at least, Memphis will look like the transition of power was an easy one.

Line: No Line
Final Score: Memphis 41, SE Missouri State 10
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

South Carolina State at UCF

7:00 PM, ESPN3, Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL

Finally, UCF will get a win again. After a horrendous 2015 without any fun, the Scott Frost era should get off to a bang, even if it’s not exactly a smooth start.

The Bulldogs led the FCS in pass efficiency defense last year and allowed just 15 points per game, but they didn’t have to go against anyone from the big leagues. The D will be good again, but this will be a cathartic moment for the Knights. It’ll take a little while to get going, but UCF will start to look like UCF again in the second quarter and beyond thanks to several drive-killing stops from the veteran defensive front seven.

Line: No Line
Final Score: UCF 37, South Carolina State 15
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Towson at South Florida

7:00 PM ESPN3 Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

Can this be a bit of a defensive slugfest? The Tigers will have enough of a run D to keep this close against a USF offense that should be better, but isn’t going to be blowing up the scoreboard quite yet.

This was a Towson team that last year pushed East Carolina in a 28-20 loss, and while it won’t be able to get by the Bulls, it’ll make it a battle.

Line: No Line
Final Score: South Florida 34, Towson 17
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2