Two of the premier programs in the AAC are set to clash when Memphis plays host to UCF on Saturday in a game both teams desperately need to win after disappointing losses two weeks ago when the Tigers fell to SMU and the Knights lost to Tulsa. The defeats dropped both from the AP Top 25 poll while casting their conference title aspirations into jeopardy. Both teams still have high hopes for their 2020 seasons, but winning this game will be crucial for meeting those expectations.
Memphis and UCF have played some thrillers in recent years, though they've all gone UCF's way. The Knights own a 13-1 record in the series with Memphis' only win coming in 1990, long before the formation of the AAC. But after meeting in the regular season and conference championship game in both 2017 and 2018, these two didn't play last season. Perhaps it was no coincidence that the Tigers finally broke through and won the AAC while avoiding the Knights. Now, Memphis has another chance to finally beat the Knights as these teams renew their rivalry in a game that should feature plenty of points.
Keep on reading for a look at what's ahead in UCF vs. Memphis, along with predictions on the game from our CBS Sports experts. Odds via William HIll Sportsbook
UCF: The Knights led Tulsa 16-0 two weeks ago and looked poised to improve to 3-0 before the Golden Hurricane stormed back for a 34-26 upset victory that crushed UCF's hopes of replicating their unbeaten AAC records of 2017 and 2018. This is still a dangerous offense, however, as quarterback Dillon Gabriel and receiver Marlon Williams are among the country's most formidable duos. Williams has already caught 32 passes in just three games and will look to feast against what appears to be a vulnerable Memphis secondary.
Memphis: The Tigers went four weeks between their season-opening win over Arkansas State on Sept. 5 and a 30-27 loss to SMU on Oct. 3 while dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Considering the long layoff, they played fairly well against the Mustangs until a late fumble by quarterback Brady White doomed their chances. When White takes care of the football, the Memphis offense can be hard to stop. Even with star running back Kenneth Gainwell opting out of the season, the Tigers have quality backfield weapons in Rodrigues Clark and Kylan Watkins. Per usual, the defense remains susceptible, having allowed 773 yards passing through two games.
Date: Saturday, October 17 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium -- Memphis, Tennessee
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Game prediction, picks
These teams have combined to average 91.7 points per game in their last three meetings. So if you're looking for a play from this one, go with the over on the 73.5 point total. Otherwise, Memphis is the pick. The Tigers lost by just one point the last time they hosted UCF in 2018, and they looked better in a loss to SMU than UCF did in a loss to Tulsa two weeks ago. Pick: Memphis (-3.5)
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