As the season progresses, the race for the conference title takes shape. We still are learning a lot about this conference, and this week provided some more surprises. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the AAC in Week 2.
Texas is still not back.
A week after losing to Maryland, Longhorns fans were hoping for a nice blowout at home to lift their spirits. Texas hosted Tulsa, a team that won just two games last season, and who’s defense is one of the worst in the country. Texas jumped on the Golden Hurricane early, heading into halftime with a 21-0 lead. Tulsa opened the second half with two touchdowns to pull within seven, leaving people in Austin uneasy. A Sam Ehlinger touchdown pass gave the Longhorns at 28-14 lead but Tulsa answered with a score of their own. Texas held on to win, but they have a lot to worry about after this week. Is this a good sign for Tulsa? Or is it a terrible sign for Texas? Maybe both, but Texas is in big trouble this season.
Some stars are human.
Anyone who watched the UCF and Houston games got to witness something rare: McKenzie Milton and Ed Oliver not playing their best. Granted, Oliver’s moment was a lot shorter than Milton’s. Oliver got called for an offsides penalty on Saturday against Arizona, but just barely. It was arguably his only obvious flaw in Saturday’s contest. Milton threw three first half interceptions against South Carolina State, which definitely opened some eyes. It was, by far, his worst performance of his career, one that Knights fans hope won’t ever be replicated. It barely affected the game, though, as UCF won 38-0.
This conference continues to compete with the best.
Beating Power 5 teams give the AAC’s Power 6 movement some traction, and they added some big wins over the weekend. Houston took it to Arizona early and eased their way to a 45-18 win. USF was in a battle with Georgia Tech, but new quarterback Blake Barnett made some clutch plays late to give the Bulls a 49-38 victory at home. Then, the biggest surprise of the year gave us an ECU 41-19 win over North Carolina. Yep, you read that right. The same Pirates who lost to FCS North Carolina A&T last week beat North Carolina. This conference seems to embrace these opportunities to beat a Power 5 team. Even Tulsa’s aforementioned loss to Texas was promising. If this conference continues to beat Power 5 competition, a move up could be inevitable.