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Three Things we learned about the AAC in Week Three

East Carolina stumbles, and Houston recovers just in time, as the AAC finishes the third week still seeking a second ranked team

Houston v Cincinnati
Houston is grabbing all the headlines this season, but there are a lot more reasons to jump on the AAC bandwagon.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

East Carolina has a way to go

The Pirates were putting up so many points and so many yards the first two weeks they seemed almost unstoppable. That came to a close this week as they lost to South Carolina, 20-15, in a game where Philip Nelson threw for 400 yards.

The two teams were dead even in rushing, and the Pirates more than doubled the Gamecocks productivity in the air, but two picks cost them dearly— that will happen when you attempt 58 passes— and a missed field goal was enough to seal their fate.

ECU is a star on the rise, putting up big points but still finding its footing and working for consistency. The team was good last year, but not as good as THIS, so there could be some growing pains as the team, and the conference, finds out what they’re capable of. We hope they get it together next week, but whatever happens this season, ECU is a monster.

There’s still no clear runner-up

Temple won their division last year, but is now 1-2 after being dominated by Penn State. Besides Houston, there are no other ranked teams in the conference, though 3-0 South Florida did arrive in the “others receiving votes” category this week, with a paltry seven points, good for roughly 38th best in FBS. Navy is 3-0, but played close against UConn and Tulane. USF and ECU are doing well but have yet to play any conference games. Even if Houston stumbles, they seem like a lock in the West, but guessing who it’ll be in the East may confound us all until late in the season.

Houston is not infallible

After watching this team against the Sooners, they seemed as Power Five ready as anyone, but for the first three quarters against Cincinnati they looked asleep, and it was more than just Greg Ward Jr’s shoulder injury. Granted, they finally came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 28 points, but you can’t be playing from behind if you want to win championships. They fell behind to UConn in the cold New England weather last season and never recovered; it’s unclear which conference team may give the Cougars their toughest challenge for the remainder of the season, but whatever bowl game they draw, they’ll have to play at that level for all four quarters like they did against OU. Cincinnati is a good team, to be sure, but it’s a long way to go between here and December.