Army’s got a big game this Saturday against FCS #6 Colgate. Win and they break into the Top 25.But that’s not the only game that matters. In fact, it’s not even the only game that matters to Army.
So, what else are you watching?
Here are my top five:
#5. FAU (5-5) at North Texas (7-3) – Thursday, 9:30 pm (CBS Sports)
This game is important for bowl positioning and because it’s a midweek game. Who doesn’t love midweek football? Also, though the details get a little complicated, some of this Conference USA stuff potentially impacts Army’s postseason choices rather dramatically.
The line has North Texas (-3). QB Mason Fine remains an absolute force for the Mean Green. He and his team are averaging 317.2 yards/game passing and 464.7 yards/game in total offense. Not to be outdone, FAU has dropped an average 476.5 yards/game in total offense, evenly split between the run and the pass.
— North Texas Football ? (@MeanGreenFB) November 14, 2018
#4. USF (7-3) at Temple (6-4) – Saturday, 12:00 pm (ESPN News)
I’ve no idea how this game got relegated to ESPN News, but it promises to be an electrifying contest. Temple got off to a slow start but has come roaring back in the season’s second half. The Owls took UCF to the limit two weeks ago and then beat AAC West leader Houston just last week. They also own a win over Cincinnati, so they yet make it into the AAC Championship game depending on how things break.
The Bulls, meanwhile, have been going the other direction. They started strong but have now dropped two in a row, first to a resurgent Tulane team that looks primed for a postseason appearance and then to rising AAC powerhouse Cincinnati.
USF has the better offense, but Temple’s not bad, and the Bulls have gotten gobsmacked in the running game. South Florida gives up just 193.6 yards/game passing but an unfathomable 247.2 yards/game rushing. Folks, that ain’t gonna get it done.
Vegas has Temple (-14).
It’s entirely possible that Army winds up facing one of these teams in the Armed Forces Bowl. As a former Tampa, Florida, high school graduate, I wouldn’t mind seeing Army run right over the Bulls.
— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) November 15, 2018
#3. #13 Syracuse (8-2) vs. #3 Notre Dame (10-0) – Saturday, 2:30 pm (NBC)
Notre Dame is the third-ranked team in the country. Detractors say they haven’t played anybody. I don’t know how fair that is. They beat #14 Michigan in Week 1 and #7 Stanford in Week 5. It’s not Notre Dame’s fault that FSU and Virginia Tech are both facing losing seasons this year. Those games looked pretty good when they first hit the schedule.
By comparison, the Orange have a win over #22 NC State and a close loss to #2 Clemson. If that’s the standard, then Army ought to be in the Top 15 right next to them. The Black Knights are also 8-2, with a win over likely MAC champion Buffalo alongside a close loss to #6 Oklahoma.
Truth is, both these teams have something to prove. A win for Irish puts them into the College Football Playoff. A win for the Orange puts them into a New Year’s Six Bowl. Both are big prizes. Did I mention that the game itself is at Yankee Stadium?
The line favors Notre Dame by 10. The offenses look about even, but Notre Dame’s defense has been much better against a schedule that’s been at least as hard.
That said, a win by the ‘Cuse probably helps Army. That would potentially put three ACC teams (including Notre Dame) into New Year’s Six bowls, opening an ACC bowl slot for the Black Knights against a potential SEC opponent. As we’ll see below, I already know who that opponent ought to be.
We defended the Dome. Now we have to defend our state.
‘Cuse vs. Notre Dame. Saturday at Yankee Stadium pic.twitter.com/x9rcjENgIL
— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) November 14, 2018
#2. Mizzou (6-4) at Tennessee (5-5) – Saturday, 3:30 pm (CBS)
Tennessee has been almost competitive in the SEC this season. They’ve had a decent defense, especially against the run, but they’ve given up a bunch of passing yardage, and they’ve not been anything like consistent on offense. Mizzou, meanwhile, has put up some points, but they’ve allowed a bunch, too. Like the Vols, the Tigers are trying to prove that they can hang in the Southeastern Conference. But that’s probably only true of one of these teams.
If you’re an Army fan, odds are you either love the Vols, or you hate them. Either way, this promises to be a compelling contest. The Tigers are favored by 6.
The guys at @AsForFootball have been dreaming of Army vs. Tennessee in the Independence Bowl. That probably requires a Volunteer win alongside the aforementioned win by Syracuse.
We’re gotta speak that into existence. Go Vols!
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) November 14, 2018
#1. Cincinnati (9-1) at #12 UCF (9-0) – Saturday, 8:00 pm (ABC)
When was the last time the American Athletic Conference got the money spot on a major network in prime time? Cincinnati has arguable the best run defense in the country. They have a pretty good rushing attack, too. On the other side, UCF is averaging 540 yards/game on offense, but they’re giving up nearly 420 yards/game on defense.
Is UCF for real? Is Cincinnati?
One of these teams will represent the AAC East in the conference title game against Houston. The line favors the Knights by 7.5. I don’t have a rooting interest, but this ought to be a great game.
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) November 12, 2018
— Virginia (7-3) at Georgia Tech (6-4). I’d have ranked this game fifth, but they stuck it on the ACC Network.
— Miami (5-5) at Virginia Tech (4-6). Interesting mostly because I’ve been following the ACC so closely this season. Both teams need the game to keep their postseason hopes alive.
— Air Force (4-6) at Wyoming (4-6). Interesting for the same reason. If I had to bet, I’d bet on the Zoomies sneaking into a bowl game.
— Ole Miss (5-5) at Vanderbilt (4-6). See above. If Vandy wins and Tennessee loses, it sets up a bowl game death match next week for the Heavyweight Championship of the State of Tennessee. Granted, I’d rather see the Vols beat Mizzou, but if that doesn’t happen, we could still wind up with a decent consolation prize.
What did I miss? Drop a comment below or hit us up at @AsForFootball.