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Three Things We Learned From Week One American Athletic Conference Football

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Some teams looked extremely good, but many more looked like they have a lot of growing to do.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

1) Temple is for real, people.

We knew that a team that played as well as Temple did last season - especially on defense - and which had as many starters returning as the Owls did this season, was likely to improve on their 6-6 performance from last season. This particular performance though... watch out, folks.

Temple allowed 10 points and 128 yards of offense to the Nittany Lions on their first two drives, but that was as much as they got. The Owls defense allowed a ridiculous FIFTY-TWO yards to Penn State the rest of the game, most of which came on one 16-yard run by Akeel Lynch early in the second half. In 35 drop-backs, the Owls sacked Christian Hackenberg 10 times, in addition to holding him to a mere 44% completion rate.

If this was a true representation of Matt Rhule's squad and their ability level, they might be undefeated when they face Notre Dame in October.

2) UCF probably isn't.

UCF's offense struggled mightily. Granted, they did so against a Florida International defense that appears to be just as good as advertised, but they really struggled to run the ball, as well as keeping Justin Holman from getting lit up by the pass rush. In addition to that, George O'Leary and Brent Key lost their damn minds at game's end.

UCF has two kickers on their roster, both of whom are true freshmen; Matthew Wright found himself possibly needing to come out and have his first career attempt be a game winner. If I'm coaching, I'll make damn sure that Wright is not coming out to attempt a kick unless my offense has done everything in its power to either score a touchdown or make that field goal attempt as short as possible.

Instead, with the Knights facing 1st and 10 from the FIU 23 yard line, they decided to hand the ball off to William Stanback. You know, the William Stanback who didn't start, didn't touch the ball the entire first half, and had carried the ball seven times for eight yards up to that point?

To nobody's surprise, he gained nothing. Then they gave the ball to Stanback AGAIN, and he lost four yards. One more carry centered the kick attempt for Wright, but then they got called for a false start! You are asking an awful lot of a freshman to have a 47 yard attempt that will win or lose the game be his first ever collegiate attempt.

Coaching 101: you should never be playing for a field goal, especially when the person kicking it has never kicked one.

3) SMU and Tulsa will at least be fun as hell to watch this season

Last season SMU had exactly one game where they threw more than one passing touchdown, and three games where they scored more than 13 points. They are already well on their way to obliterating all those numbers after one game, and a game against potential College Football Playoff participant Baylor.

Matt Davis played well - clock management issues aside - and "trailing the fourth-ranked team in the country by a touchdown at halftime" sure as hell is nothing more than a moral victory, but these Mustangs were nowhere near such a positive statement last season. I'll say it now - against the kinds of teams they'll face in the AAC, the team I saw Friday might just go to a bowl.

Tulsa will go through some growing pains - as evidenced by turning a 21-7 lead into a 38-28 deficit - but they fought hard and racked up over 600 yards of offense while forcing this game into overtime and then snatching up the victory on a Zack Langer run. They are still likely to finish low in the conference, but the ability to gain yardage in chunks will serve them well in making their games much more watchable for much longer even when they fall.

(Bonus #1) UConn and Tulane (surprise) have a ways to go

For Tulane, Tanner Lee showed some flashes but the running offense and the entire defense were largely absent throughout. This is unlikely to get better next week against Georgia Tech on the road, but hopefully they can keep growing, show some cohesion against Maine and take it from there.

Meanwhile, UConn looked very inconsistent in managing to hold off a very good, but still FCS, Villanova squad. I would like to think that they'll put things together against Army next week, but I can't say that with any confidence just yet.

(Bonus #2) ECU might be worse than we feared.

East Carolina and Blake Kemp did just fine on offense, but a defense that surrenders 416 yards to FCS Towson is not one that's going to succeed at shutting down others. Then you take a look at their schedule and see Florida, Navy, Virginia Tech, SMU and BYU, and that's starting to look like a string of games Pirates fans will be hoping to outscore everyone in. With minimal success, I'm sure.