The American Athletic Conference is down to the wire entering Week 13. We have a win-and-get-in matchup to look forward to on Friday afternoon and another favorite vying for 10 wins and clinching their berth. The drama will be hot and heavy for the AAC.
Let’s dive into the AAC Championship scenarios and what each team needs to clinch their appearance in Week 14.
AAC Championship Clinching Scenarios
The AAC could have as many as three teams finish with 10 wins by the end of bowl season. Tulane sits at 10-1 but has the same conference record as SMU and UTSA. All three teams are 7-0 entering this weekend. At least one team will suffer its first AAC loss as Tulane and UTSA play on Friday.
MORE: AAC Standings
Let’s dive into how this three-way race could shake out. Undoubtedly, the AAC Championship race is one of the most heated across the country.
The SMU Mustangs look to be a lock to make the AAC title game on paper. They simply need to beat the 5-5 Navy Midshipmen at home to earn their berth. ESPN Analytics matchup predictor gives SMU a 96.1% chance to win.
The Mustangs have a phenomenal offense but have shown some vulnerabilities in two of its last three games. They beat Memphis 38-34, and Rice 36-31, and Navy makes foes uncomfortable with its disciplined style and play.
They play Saturday at noon ET, so they’ll know their potential foe for the AAC title game well in advance. The Mustangs are more talented than Navy, but they can’t afford to lose sight of notching their 10th win and 8-0 conference record.
Tulane Green Wave
The Tulane Green Wave and UTSA play on Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET, and the winner will advance to the AAC Championship. If SMU loses, a composite of computer rankings will determine which would advance to the title game. That could mean we’d simply see a Tulane vs. UTSA rematch.
It’s not likely this will play out that way. The 10-1 Green Wave is favored to win against UTSA and would be against SMU. Winning out would give them another New Year’s Six showcase. Of course, they can’t jump too far ahead.
If the Green Wave wins against UTSA, they’ll host the AAC Championship in New Orleans.
The UTSA Roadrunners won’t lie down simply because they’re the dogs this week. Tulane is very good, but Frank Harris and company are as well. UTSA has won by at least two scores in every game since they lost to Tennessee on Sept. 23.
UTSA will, of course, look to beat Tulane, but their hopes don’t die if they lose, thanks to the potential of the computer rankings spitting out a favorable decision. But we don’t know everything that goes into that equation, and the best way to lock in a conference title shot is to win.