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Friday Night AACtion: Viewing guide and open thread asks, “how much do you really love football?”

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Ever think there are too many FBS teams?

NCAA Football: Connecticut at South Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, one of you remarked that I watched a lot of bad football. That is fair: I do, primarily because I try and put some national context to our little team in this little corner of the internet. But, I also enjoy the atmosphere, the emotion, the diversity of schemes, the sport.

But, I’m not gonna’ lie: Tonight tests me. And, I’m having a hard time getting excited about the slate -- on paper, at least.

First up, the schedule (all times Central):

Illinois at No. 22 Univ. South Florida

6:00 ESPN / WatchESPN

USF -17.5 / 56

UMass at Temple

6:00 ESPNU / WatchESPN

Temple -14.5 / 52.5

Arizona at UTEP

9:15 ESPN / WatchESPN

Arizona - 23 / 58

  • The nightcap with RichRod’s beleaguered Arizona Wildcats should not go off the rails. UTEP isn’t great, but neither is ‘Zona. Like his Grand Canyon State compatriot, Todd Graham, Rod’s feeling the heat from years of diminishing expectations. This is a game that must be won fairly convincingly. And, unlike Graham, Rod can at least sell a young exciting core. UTEP, meanwhile, loss to pitiful Rice by three scores -- at home.
  • Who knows what to make of the Rhule-less Temple Owls. Former Florida DC and Alabama coach Geoff Collins seems a good fit on the defensive end, but he’s probably out of his depth as a first-year head coach. The Owls were a consistent 8-game winner under Rhule. But, the offense has been listless in a beating at Notre Dame and a field goal win over FCS Villanova. UMass has one of the most explosive passing games in the county, (over 900 yards passing, nearly 13 yards per completion.) but has been outmatched by even Old Dominion and Coastal Carolina. If Temple doesn’t cover, or god forbid loses, then the rest of the AAC slate is going to be unkind to the Owls.
  • The main event, such as it is, sees Lovie Smith’s Fightin’ Illini travel to Tampa. In year two. the former Chicago Bears head man has almost as many wins in 2017 (2) as he had last season (3.) Encouragingly, the Illinois defense has been pretty solid in wins over Ball State and Western Kentucky (14 ppg.) He’ll need it. Charlie Strong’s USF Bulls have a high-powered offense, but were unsteady in an opening week win against lowly San Jose State on both sides of the ball. Call this the redemption bowl. Both of these head men were once hot commodities that have fallen on hard times and are trying to prove their mettle at stops well beneath their one-time reputation. Lovie can probably afford this loss: Strong, criticized for the opening week shaky win and such recent awful returns at Texas, cannot.

How much of a football fan are you?

Tonight tests your mettle. Hell, it even tests my ability to watch bad football. But, these seemingly “bad” games often prove to be really fun. For that reason alone, I’ll be tuning in -- to USF/Illinois at least.

Take our poll and chime in below:

Poll

What is the WORST game tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    UMass at Temple
    (63 votes)
  • 13%
    Illinois at USF
    (13 votes)
  • 21%
    Arizona at UTEP
    (21 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now