MEMPHIS, Tenn. – It had the feel of a conference championship game: the nation's 17th-ranked team, Memphis, playing the nation's 18th-ranked team, Cincinnati, before a large Black Friday crowd at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
There were big plays, gutsy fourth-down calls, trick plays and impressive defensive stops.
As for being an American Athletic Championship game, that will have to wait a week when the same two teams meet again. If it's anything like Friday's game, expect another four quarters of what a crowd of 36,472 witnessed.
Memphis outlasted Cincinnati, 34-24, to earn its third-straight West Division title and the right to host next Saturday's conference title game.