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Three Things We Learned About Week Four American Athletic Conference Football

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It's time to see whether or not watching hours of football actually paid off...

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

1. SMU and UCF are notoriously, atrociously and horrendously bad.

Okay, fine.  We knew UCF was just awful this year, but the first half against South Carolina gave Knights fans some hope.

SMU, on the other hand...well where do we begin?  How about the Mustangs' defense giving up 729 yards of offense, including 440 on the ground?  That's 8.5 yards per carry with the majority of those yards coming from James Madison's quarterback Vad Lee (he averaged 13.8 yards per carry, in addition to throwing for 289 yards).

Yet, despite the defense leaking like a wooden shack in a tropical rainstorm and being outgained by nearly 250 yards, SMU lost on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds left.

It's an unspoken rule in FBS football that you're not allowed to lose to an FCS team, even if they're really good.  The Dukes are extremely talented (4-0 and have been dominating everyone so far), however SMU losing to them is and should be completely unacceptable.  While nobody should be calling for coaches to be fired, changes have to be made if the Mustangs are going to be competitive in the AAC.

SMU looked like they were on their way back up after better than expected performances against Baylor and TCU. What the hell happened?

2.  There are three excellent teams in the West, and we won't find out who's better until November.  Meanwhile, there might be only one good team in the East.

Memphis let Cincinnati hang around until the last minute, but eventually they won in the final minutes.  Navy outlasted UCONN behind another excellent game by Keenan  Reynolds.  Houston dominated Texas State today after surviving Louisville last week.

All three of these teams are alive in the West, and still undefeated.  Which means somebody has to come out on top for the G5 New Year's Bowl spot...or more than likely, they'll all beat each other down, leaving someone else from another conference to take that spot for themselves.

More than likely, it'll eventually come down to Houston and Memphis, since Navy has their own trophy to compete for (See: Commander-in-Chief's Trophy) then gets to play a very tough Notre Dame team.  With that being said, none of these teams face each other until November.  By then, they could all realistically be undefeated in conference play until November 7.

It looks like we'll have to wait for the carnage to begin.

On the flipside, Temple is sitting in the East division with a 3-0 record and really won't play anyone until Notre Dame on Halloween.  They may have the division's top spot locked up by then (granted, it's unlikely) and would be in waiting mode until the end of the season.  Yes they will have to face Memphis, but that won't affect their division standings unless someone else joins the fray...

3. What is East Carolina?

A week after being dominated by conference foe Navy, ECU turned around this week and hung on late in the game to beat a good(?) ACC team in Virginia Tech.  We saw flashes of greatness in the loss to Florida, and we saw utter misery in the loss to Navy, therefore we are very confused about how good or bad this ECU team is.

On one hand, if they play like they did today for the rest of the season, they should be able to beat the rest of their non-conference schedule in BYU and Tulsa, as well as upend Temple for the East division spot.  On the other hand, those who have followed ECU for years now know that this is wishful thinking and there's going to be another Navy game...possibly to a much worse opponent within the conference.

It seems as though this team will go as far as Chris Hairston and the rest of the running back corps will take them.  In two wins, ECU's running game has averaged a little over 150 yards per game.  In the two losses: the rushing corps has averaged an abysmal 33 yards per game (-13 against Florida and 80 against Navy).  The Pirates have to run if they want to win, they already know they can pass with Kemp at the helm.

So what's it going to be ECU?