The Comeback preview the AAC this week

Good discussion

The AAC is in quite a unique situation when it comes to head coaches. It has proven to be a good breeding ground for coaches looking to pursue power conference positions. In the past two seasons, if a coach wasn’t fired or retired, all coaches leaving the conference took a job at a power conference program. This is the perfect stepping stone conference to a power conference job because it is arguably the top Group of Five conference with enough recruiting potential and opportunity to perform on a relatively big stage. The conference may see programs rise and fall quickly due to coaching turnover, but that also leads to new ideas and trends coming into the conference to help advance the on-field product as well.

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3. Would you rather have Ed Oliver or Quinton Flowers?

The top two players in the AAC are arguably (not-so-arguably) Houston’s monster defensive lineman Ed Oliver and USF quarterback Quinton Flowers. If all goes according to plan and these two terrific players stay healthy, we will see them go head-to-head on November 4 in Tampa, when USF hosts Houston in what could be a pivotal conference game and even a conference championship game preview. But would you rather have an All-American caliber defensive lineman or the top quarterback in the conference? Oliver is pretty tough to pass up in my book. Give me that beast in this conference and I’ll figure everything else out.

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Oliver was a monster at tackle all year, but he finally received his deserved recognition in Houston’s demolition of Louisville last year. He had 60 tackles and five sacks, and became the first-ever freshman to win the Bill Willis Trophy. Unlike last year, Houston won’t have many games on the national stage, but Oliver will get his chance in the spotlight when the Cougars play USF in November.

SMU at Houston, Oct. 7

Last year, the Mustangs had a 2-4 record heading into the game against Houston but shocked the Cougars with a 38-16 upset. This battle of in-state schools creates a great opportunity for Chad Morris and SMU. If they can beat Houston in back-to-back years, it will really show that they are on the map and that they are a team to be reckoned with in the West. For Houston, this is the type of game that Major Applewhite simply can’t lose in year one.

Memphis at Houston, Oct. 19

This game may be even more important for Mike Norvell and the Tigers as they are going on the road against Houston and are doing it in a short week. Back-to-back losses to Navy and Houston would be disastrous. This is a must-win for the Tigers. Houston will also be on a short week (playing at home), but they should see this as a real chance for them to eliminate Memphis from contention. This is where we will see the resolve that Memphis has and/or the killer instinct of Houston.

Houston at South Florida, Nov. 4

This game is between what we feel are the best two teams in the conference. Charlie Strong’s USF against Major Applewhite’s Houston. Depending on what precedes this match-up, it could be the chance for one of these two teams to really make an impact on the national level. This could also be the precursor of the conference championship game.

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