Here is the most important revelation for the Knights following week one – the AAC East will be wide open after all. Half of the division just plain stinks. And USF – penciled in as presumptive division champ by me and pretty much everyone else -- looked underwhelming to bad in two games against what should have been clearly overmatched opponents. USF wasn’t the only team in the east to escape a loss to an FCS team and ECU got downright rocked by one. Based on an admittedly small body of work, the Knights look like the most impressive team in the East.
Our former and future opponents, in schedule order:
FIU (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference USA)
We crushed them this week. The 61-17 final score doesn’t even fully capture how much better the Knights are then the Panthers.
Memphis (1-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
AAC West opponent Memphis played a tighter than expected game in horrible weather against UL-Monroe. The unusual conditions make it a bit hard to draw firm conclusions about how they’ll look this week. The most significant development was the spate of injuries the Tigers suffered, especially by defensive players. Could be a shootout for the Knights.
Our game against the Tigers has now been bumped a day earlier, to Friday at 6:30 PM ET, as a result of hurricane concerns.
Georgia Tech (0-1 Overall, 0-0 ACC)
Lost to a ranked Tennessee team despite racking up 655 yards of total offense. The Yellow Jackets suffered from terrible kicking (both field goal attempts missed and struggles on kickoffs) and turnovers. This is a vulnerable team defensively, but the offense could be a nightmare. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall, in his first start, ran for 249 yards and five touchdowns.
Maryland (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
D.J. Durkin’s Terps beat a ranked Texas team in Tom Herman’s debut for the Longhorns. It was a wildly entertaining game throughout.
Maryland QB Tyrrell Pigrome (you will of course remember him from sticking the knife into us last year) suffered an ACL tear in the third quarter. All the same, this game looks substantially more daunting now.
Maine (0-1 Overall, 0-1 Colonial Athletic Association)
Suffered a one point loss to New Hampshire thanks to a missed extra point (there’s a rivalry trophy here – the Brice-Cowell musket – that will stay with New Hampshire). The Black Bears kicking woes continues.
Interestingly enough, two of Maine’s conferencemates in the CAA – Stony Brook and James Madison – played AAC teams this week.
Cincinnati (1-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Our first of the AAC East teams that nearly lost to an FCS school (the mighty Austin Peay Governors!). The Governors outplayed the Bearcats on offense – the Bearcats had substantially fewer yards than their opponent. Cincinnati’s lackluster play reprised the latter part of the Tommy Tuberville era.
ECU (0-1 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Lost to James Madison, 34-14. JMU rocked the Pirates on the ground with 422 yards rushing. In fairness to poor ECU, JMU is the number one ranked FCS team and boasts the longest winning streak in the FCS (and has a 2-0 all time record against AAC teams). Still not going to be worried about ECU this year.
Navy (1-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Got punched in the mouth early by Lane Kififn’s crew at FAU. Then rallied with its methodical triple option offense to win 42-19. They’ll be a dangerous opponent for the Knights, though at least UCF will have already had to face a triple option team in Georgia Tech by this time.
SMU (1-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Took care of business and crushed FCS opponent Stephen F. Austin 58-14.
UConn (1-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Survived FCS Holy Cross 27-20. Think we’ll do fine against these guys.
Temple (0-1 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Clobbered by Notre Dame, 49-16. The offensive line was dominated and the front seven need work. But it seems that the Owls have a steady hand a QB in Logan Marchi who went 19-for-35 for 235 yards and a pair of touchdowns without turning the ball over. I suspect this team winds up in the top half of the division.
USF (2-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
They may get their act together, but they’re clearly vulnerable now. In Week 0.5 (or whatever you prefer to call it), the Bulls fell down 16-0 early against a terrible San Jose State team before muscling back.
And in Week 1, the Bulls trailed FCS Stony Brook 10-7 at the half. Then they came back to win 31-17.
Not too many Bulls fans saw this poor performance:
STORY: No. 19 USF draws 4th-smallest crowd for a home opener | Tampa Bay Times https://t.co/t2NN4DTIw5— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) September 3, 2017
By the way, that’s the take by a newspaper beat writer getting slammed by his readership for not watching the game.