As the College Football Playoff gets underway, arguments are made as to whether the playoff should be expanded or not. Here in the American Athletic Conference, things are a bit different (hypothetically). We have composed a playoff bracket in which all teams in the American have a chance to win the conference championship. Teams are seeded on their conference record and divisions do not come into factor. For a template, we used the 2018 AAC basketball tournament bracket as there will be four play-in games before the top seeded teams have to compete.
To clarify, all games will take place BEFORE the bowl games so players who declared for the NFL draft and elected to sit out their bowl game, Darrell Henderson, Ed Oliver, etc., are all playing in this bracket. All games are also played at the higher seeded team’s home field, not on a neutral site like the basketball tournament.
9) Navy at 8) USF
After a slow start to the season in a dreadful 4-8 campaign, Navy finished the year on a relatively more positive note, beating Tulsa and loosing their next two games by one possession. USF, however, started the year ranked after going a perfect 7-0, but finished the year losing 5 straight. In a tail of two halves for both teams, Navy rides the triple option to victory over USF.
12) UCONN at 5) Houston
The Huskies had a dreadful season in which they didn’t beat a single FBS opponent and gave up over 600 yards on offense per game. Houston’s season was a let down in its own as expectations were high with stud DT Ed Oliver, but injuries ruined the Cougars’ chances of making any magic. UCONN is awful at football and Houston pulls away in the second half to win big and advance to the second round.
10) Tulsa at 7) SMU
The most intriguing matchup in the first round pits together a rematch of the regular season finale between both teams. Tulsa won that matchup and spoiled the Mustangs regular season finale. SMU has lost two straight coming into this matchup, but have the talent to compete with the top of the conference. Tulsa has only won three games in 2018 and dealt with major issues playing away from home. SMU wins another close game in which they avenge their last regular season loss.
11) ECU at 6) Tulane
Tulane has dealt with issues on both sides of the ball but mustered an even regular season record. ECU has continued to be a joke in the AAC as their only conference win was against an abysmal UCONN team. Tulane, able to run the ball consistently, pulls out a big win and advances to the second round of the tournament.
Tune in tomorrow for the second round of the tournament and be sure to stay up to date with all of the Fight to the Finish articles by following us on Instagram and Twitter @fttfcincy