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Three Things We Learned from Week 1 in the AAC

Houston made headlines, but what about the other eleven?

Houston v Oklahoma
Coach Tom Herman celebrates with QB Greg Ward Jr after their historic win over Oklahoma on Saturday. They weren’t the only AAC team to have a good day.
Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Houston is for real

We know, we know--Houston was for real last season too. The Cougars fell off last year in a late-season loss at Connecticut, a location Houston has no business playing, but that's the nature of the college landscape these days.

But last season Houston's biggest non-conference win was against Louisville, a solid team but not likely for a national championship anytime soon, especially with Clemson and FSU in the way. An FSU squad, by the way, Houston also beat to close out the 2015 season.

The Oklahoma game was huge, and we can't say enough about this game, not just in terms of what it means for the Houston program, but also Houston's future (coach Tom Herman gets a $5 million bonus if the school gets a Power Five invite), and the Big 12's future, too. Oklahoma started the season at #3, will any Big 12 team at all be in the Top 4 by season's end? If not, the Coogs can take the credit, and the blame.

Navy and Temple are in trouble

Not the same kind of trouble, by any means, but Navy started the day with only two quarterbacks on the sidelines, and then starter Tago Smith went down in the first half with what was later revealed to be a season-ending knee injury. That leaves them with presumptive new starter Will Worth, who had an outstanding day against Fordham, and back-ups Zach Abey (suspended during week one) and freshman Malcolm Perry, who started the game in the stands as a spectator after missing practice earlier in the week due to illness. We don’t know what to expect from Abey yet, but Perry was a threat to run, attempting zero passes during his 4th quarter appearance.

And then there's Temple, winner of the AAC East last year and projected to repeat. They took a 10-7 lead against Army going into the half. But they managed only a field goal in the entire second half, succumbing to Army 28-13, on a day when Temple QB Phillip Walker finished under 50% passing on the day. Is Army that good or did Temple change their mind about that Big 12 application? Temple is at FCS Stony Brook next week, Army hosts the struggling Rice Owls and could very well be 2-0 by Saturday.

East Carolina is not messing around

A lot of AAC's week one games were against FCS opponents, but East Carolina made the most of theirs, as quarterback Philip Nelson threw for 398 yards against Western Carolina, going 28 for 32 and five TD's. The Pirates had two rushers in the top ten for the week, as Anthony Scott and James Summers combined for 21 rushes and 215 yards. Meanwhile WR Zay Jones led the league in receiving this week, catching for 180 yards and a TD.

While all the Underdog conferences are much improved this week, it's the American making the top argument for a Power Six world. East Carolina hosts NC State next week, possibly the AAC game of the week as Houston hosts FCS Lamar in anticipation of their week 3 match-up at Cincy.