How the East will be won
With a meaningful mid-November comes muddled scenarios. With conference hopes arrive confusion.
With an American Athletic Conference division crown within reach, just how much scoreboard watching must the Bulls do in the next two weeks? Well, none. Willie Taggart won't have it.
"We ain't watching anybody," he said in the wake of Saturday's 44-23 win against Temple. "We're only worried about the Bulls. We've got to take care of us."
As for those who won't suppress the temptation of following the sports ticker, here are the plausible East scenarios. (Shout-out to Chuck Sullivan in the AAC office for mentioning some remote scenarios we didn't even consider).
Temple (8-2, 5-1)
The Owls capture the division with any quantity of wins or USF losses totaling two in the final two weeks. If the Owls lose their final two games -- at home against Memphis and UConn -- they still can win the division if the Bulls lose their last two games and UConn loses to Houston.
USF (6-4, 4-2)
The Bulls capture the division outright with wins against Cincinnati (Friday) and UCF (Thanksgiving night) and one more Temple loss. The Bulls, obviously, hold the head-to-head advantage against the Owls if both finish 6-2 in the conference. USF also prevails in a three-way tie with Temple and UConn because it defeated both.
Cincinnati (6-4, 3-3)
Yes, the Bearcats still possess a realistic shot at the division crown, though they must win at USF and at East Carolina, and hope for Temple to lose out. They would prevail in three-way ties with USF-Temple and Temple-UConn, and even win a four-way tie based on division record. Two of the Bearcats' three AAC losses have been to West teams.
UConn (5-5, 3-3)
Try to follow along: The Huskies actually still can win the division if they win out (against Houston and Temple) AND Temple and USF lose out AND Cincinnati loses to East Carolina.