No. 22 UCF (9-3, 6-2 AAC, No. 22 CFP) at No. 18 Tulane (10-2, 7-1, No. 18 CFP), Saturday, 4 p.m. EST (ABC), Yulman Stadium, New Orleans.
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: Tulane by 3 1/2.
Series record: UCF leads 10-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The winner of the American Athletic Conference title game likely heads to the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked, non-power conference team. Tulane has never won an AAC title and hasn't played in a major New Year's bowl game since losing 14-13 to Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1940. UCF has won four AAC titles and has played in three New Year's Six bowl games since the 2013 season.
Tulane's conference-leading defense against a UCF ground game that not only averages an AAC-best 243.7 yards rushing per game, but which gashed the Green Wave for 336 yards rushing in a 38-31 victory at Tulane on Nov. 12.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
UCF: Fifth-year RB Isaiah Bowser has 13 rushing TDs and needs two more to tie current NFL player Latavius Murray for the second most in a single season at UCF with 15. Dual-threat QB John Rhys Plumlee accounted for 308 yards and three touchdowns in his last meeting with Tulane but it's unclear how much he'll play this week because of a hamstring injury. He rushed for 176 yards and two TDs in the last meeting.
Tulane: RB Tyjae Spears, named the AAC offensive player of the year, has rushed for 100 or more yards in six straight games and has been invited to the Senior Bowl. He rushed for 181 yards and two TDs in a victory last week at Cincinnati that clinched Tulane's first-place finish. His 14 rushing TDs are the most in the league.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Since the first AAC Championship Game in 2015, no road team has won the title after previously beating the host team on the same field in the same season, as UCF did at Tulane last month. ... UCF's 50% third-down conversion rate leads the AAC and ranks ninth nationally, while Tulane's leads the league in third-down defense, allowing conversions just 35% of the time. ... Plumlee has 11 TDs rushing and needs one more to move into a tie for the most by a QB in a season in UCF history. ... Tulane went 2-10 last season, a campaign affected by Hurricane Ida and injuries that appears to have been a relative anomaly in the past half-decade, considering Tulane currently is bowl-eligible for the fourth time in five years. ... Tulane coach Willie Fritz was named conference coach of the year after leading Tulane to its best season — and first AP Top 25 ranking — since 1998. ... Tulane ranks first in the AAC in scoring defense, allowing 19.8 points per game.
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