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As Central Florida eyes New Year's Six bowl, coach glad his Knights didn't overlook Temple | AAC football notebook

UCF coach Scott Frost says that Temple could have been a trap game but wasn't before Friday's showdown with South Florida.

UCF wide receiver Marlon Williams (17) attempts to fend off Temple linebacker Todd Jones (40) during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, Nov 18, 2017. Temple lost 45-19. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
UCF wide receiver Marlon Williams (17) attempts to fend off Temple linebacker Todd Jones (40) during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, Nov 18, 2017. Temple lost 45-19. TIM TAI / Staff PhotographerRead moreTim Tai

The American Athletic Conference has the football showdown everybody has been waiting for. South Florida visits Central Florida on Friday (3:30 p.m., ABC) to determine the East Division champion.

UCF improved to 10-0 7-0 AAC with Saturday's 45-19 win at Temple. Coach Scott Frost was proud that his team didn't overlook the Owls before this week's showdown.

"I was excited how our guys played," Central Florida coach Scott Frost said during Monday's AAC media call. "I was a little worried about that game last week and it was the game before the game and some things were setting up to make it kind of a trap game and our guys responded well and we set ourselves up for a big test against USF."

South Florida was the overwhelming preseason choice to be the conference champion, but the Bulls (9-1, 6-1) have been inconsistent. Last week they struggled at home to beat a 2-9 Tulsa team, 27-20.

USF quarterback Quinton Flowers was last season's AAC offensive player of the year, but he might be overtaken this year by UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton, who threw four touchdowns passes with no interceptions and ran for a score last week against Temple.

'He does great job directing the offense, places the ball in the right place and when you try to rush him, he gets the ball out and if you don't rush, you better get ready because he finds the open receivers," USF coach Charlie Strong said of Milton.

Temple falls in power rankings

Temple is eighth in the latest AAC power rankings, compiled by a group of beat writers for each team across the league.  After losing 45-19 to Central Florida, Temple dropped one spot in the ratings.

1.Central Florida (10-0, 7-0)
2. Memphis (9-1, 6-1)
3. South Florida (9-1, 6-1)
4. Navy (6-4, 4-3)
5. Houston (6-4, 4-3)
6. SMU (6-5, 3-4)
7. Tulane (5-6 3-4)
8. Temple (5-6, 3-4)
9. East Carolina (3-8, 2-5)
10. Connecticut (3-8, 2-5)
11. Tulsa (2-9, 1-6)
12. Cincinnati (3-8, 1-6)

Former Owls record in jeopardy

South Florida linebacker Auggie Sanchez now has 378 tackles, which is 14 shy of the AAC mark set by Temple's Tyler Matakevich. A member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Matakevich, whose final season was 2015, recorded 392 tackles.

As Temple officials pointed out, Matakevich had 392 tackles in three seasons in the AAC, but also played a year before the AAC was formed (and was still the Big East) and recorded 101 tackles for a total of 493.

AAC bowl affiliations

The AAC has primary affiliation with seven bowl games this season. Here's the schedule for them:

Dec. 16 AutoNation Cure Bowl: American vs. Sun Belt at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla. (2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Dec. 19 Boca Raton Bowl: American vs. Conference USA at Florida Atlantic University Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla. (7 p.m., ESPN)

Dec. 20 DXL Frisco Bowl: American vs. TBD at Toyota Stadium Frisco, Texas (8 p.m., ESPN)

Dec. 21 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: American vs. Conference USA at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla. (8 p.m., ESPN)

Dec. 23 Birmingham Bowl: American vs SEC at Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala., (Noon, ESPN)

Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl: American vs. Mountain West at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawai'i (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

Dec. 28 Military Bowl: American vs. ACC or Notre Dame at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md. (1:30 p.m. ESPN)

In addition to the conference's primary bowl affiliations, the American holds secondary partnerships with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., and the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., as well as with other ESPN-owned bowls.

With one regular season game left for all but AAC teams but Navy, there are currently six AAC schools that are bowl eligible — Central Florida, South Florida, Memphis, Navy, Houston and SMU. Temple (5-6) would become bowl eligible with a win Saturday at Tulsa (2-9). Tulane (5-6) would become bowl eligible with a win Saturday at SMU (6-5).