With the Power 6 movement trying to gain some traction, a strong bowl season was needed. This conference added another memorable win against a Power 5 program, and should spark a much needed discussion about the state of college football’s postseason going forward.
AAC Bowl Record: 4-3
Louisiana Tech 51 SMU 10
Temple 28 FIU 3
USF 38 Texas Tech 34
Fresno State 33 Houston 27
Navy 49 Virginia 7
Iowa State 21 Memphis 20
UCF 34 Auburn 27
Best Win: UCF over Auburn
Most exciting game: UCF vs. Auburn
Biggest Disappointment: SMU vs. Louisiana Tech
Dopest Uniforms: Memphis vs. Iowa State
Best Individual Performance: Quinton Flowers vs. Texas Tech
Most Disappointing Individual Performance: Adrian Killins vs. Auburn
Stock Market: Rising
Best and most exciting win were obvious, as was the biggest disappointment. UCF beating Auburn was the highlight for the AAC in bowl season, and continued the American’s push towards becoming a Power 6 conference. If you didn’t check out our recap of the Knights win over the Tigers, go check it out!
Biggest disappointment comes with an asterisk. Sure, SMU’s blowout loss was a disappointment, we’re not denying that. But they weren’t put in a great position either. Unlike UCF, the Mustangs didn’t have a coaching staff to lead them into battle. SMU could have still lost this game, but it would have been a closer game had Chad Morris and staff decided to stay for the game.
Best individual performance was a tight race. You could have made the argument that McKenzie Milton won this honor, and there wouldn’t be an argument. Milton had 358 total yards and three total touchdowns in UCF’s upset win over Auburn, but he wasn’t the only quarterback to have a big game against a Power 5 opponent. Quinton Flowers tallied 417 yards with five touchdowns against Texas Tech in what was his final game in a Bulls uniform. Flowers was an absolute stud at USF, and it was a great way for him to go out.
Most disappointing was Adrian Killins. Yes, Ben Hicks and the SMU offense were horrendous, but they weren’t the ones talking trash before the game. Killins infamously said that Auburn hadn’t seen speed like UCF had, and then produced basically nothing. His 31 yards made him all but irrelevant, and he took a number of big shots because of his mouth.
Adrian Killins’ spinal cord is made of space aged shock absorbers pic.twitter.com/r4uj5ROLST— Dave Lackford (@RivalsDave) January 1, 2018
UCF and their fans have gone as far as saying their the national champs, and we commend them for their confidence. However, it’ll largely be seen as a stretch by the national media.
Their win does bring up a great discussion about how teams like UCF are getting overlooked by people from the committee and bigger conferences. Good football teams deserve a chance to play for a national championship, regardless of what conference they’re in. UCF showed that by beating a team who beat the two teams that will play for the national championship game. We will see what kind of discussion this win sparks in the college football world going forward.
Besides SMU, there weren’t any extremely disappointing losses. Memphis and Houston lost, but they had opportunities to win and both loss by only one score. Wins by Temple and Navy were also impressive against solid teams, and shouldn’t go unnoticed.
One last observation is the loss of coaches this offseason. The AAC will continue to lose coaches to schools from the Power 5 conferences, and multiple teams had to deal with that this year. None of those teams wanted to use it as an excuse, but you could tell it affected them. Memphis, Houston, and SMU’s offenses all struggled without their offensive coordinators (coincidence that they all lost? maybe).
Overall, this was a good bowl season for the AAC, and we should see some more fireworks in 2018.