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Ranking AAC games for Week 6: Navy gets shot at revenge versus Houston

Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

With Tulane-UCF rescheduling their game to Nov. 5 due to the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, there are only five games on the slate for Week 6 in the American Athletic Conference.

That means there’s no excuse to miss any of them.

It’s not a sexy lineup for The American this week, so it’s easy to see why No. 6 Houston (5-0, 2-0) at Navy (3-1, 2-0) takes the cake as the conference’s top game to watch. One of the hottest teams in the nation, the Cougars enter riding an eight-game winning streak and are 18-1 under coach Tom Herman.

Navy comes off a tough loss to rival Air Force, but the Midshipmen lead the conference with a 26-12 record after a loss since 2007 and are No. 2 with 38-13 record (behind Cincinnati) at home during that span.

Here are all five AAC games this week, ranked by watchability:

5. SMU (2-3, 0-1) at Tulsa (3-1, 0-0) — Friday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

ESPN isn’t giving SMU much of a chance to compete for its third win of the season this Friday night when it takes on Tulsa, the No. 4 team in my AAC power rankings this week. The Mustangs have a 15-percent chance to win after getting blown out by Temple in Week 5.

4. East Carolina (2-3, 0-1) at South Florida (4-1, 1-0) — Saturday, Oct. 8, noon ET (ESPNEWS)

USF ranks fifth nationally with 45.8 points per game and 15th with 6.93 yards per play. Meanwhile, ECU ranks tied for 95th in scoring defense (31.6) and has given up chunk after chunk, entering ranked tied for 103rd by allowing 6.11 yards per play. This probably won’t be very close.

4. Cincinnati (3-2, 0-2) at UConn (2-3, 0-2) — Saturday, Oct. 8, 11:30 a.m. ET (CBSSN)

It may not seem like it on paper, but there’s a lot on the line for both teams in this early Saturday matchup. Cincinnati needs to win to avoid an 0-3 start in the conference for the first time since 1999 after back-to-back blowout losses to Houston and USF, and UConn (also riding a two-game losing streak) needs to win to get back on track for a bowl appearance.

2. Temple (3-2, 1-0) at Memphis (3-1, 0-0) — Thursday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Even with senior quarterback Phillip Walker’s massive struggles — he enters Week 6 with a 55.1 completion percentage, six touchdowns and seven interceptions — Temple has found a way to win three of its first five games. Winning at Memphis is not easy task; the Tigers are 12-2 at the Liberty Bowl since 2014.

1. Houston (5-0, 2-0) at Navy (3-1, 2-0) — Saturday, Oct. 8, 3 p.m. ET (CBSSN)

Realistically, Navy lacks the offensive firepower to pose a serious threat to Houston. Through five games, the Midshipmen rank ninth in The American with 394.5 yards per game and have sincerely missed Keenan Reynolds’ big-play ability under center. That was clear during last week’s 28-14 loss to Air Force, when quarterback Will Worth finished with 260 yards passing, but threw two interceptions and failed to gain positive yardage on the ground.

If Houston is going to suffer a colossal upset, though, it might as well be at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, where the Middies have won nine in a row by an average of 25.2 points. Their last loss at home came against Western Kentucky in September of 2014.

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