Week 1 is in the books for the AAC. and we learned a lot. As it is every year, there were surprises (good and bad) throughout the conference. Certain teams need some work despite winning (Houston, Tulsa, USF), while others just need some work in general (UConn, Temple, Navy). Luckily, the season is still young, and all teams still have a chance at a conference championship. For now, let’s see what we learned from this conference in the first week of play.
UConn’s offense is going to be....explosive?
It may have come in a loss, but the Huskies showed some serious potential against UCF. And it all started with the quarterback. David Pindell completed 27 of his 41 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown while rushing 22 times for 157 yards and another score. His interception thrown was an inexperienced mistake, but that will get fixed. The Knights didn’t have an answer for Pindell as he was scrambling to keep plays alive while breaking multiple tackles.
The Huskies offense accumulated 486 yards against the defending champs, and showed some life that wasn’t seen most of last year. While a young defense struggles, the offense might have to carry the load. This year, it appears that they are ready for the challenge.
Memphis and UCF are the frontrunners.
Yes it’s the first week, but they do say first impressions are important. The defending champs put a whooping on UConn, and McKenzie Milton appears to be already in midseason form. The Knights put up 652 yards and 56 points on the Huskies, leaving zero doubt throughout the game.
Memphis had concerns on defense and at quarterback, but didn’t feel that way after last night. Brady White’s debut with the Tigers was successful as he threw for 358 yards and five touchdowns against Mercer. His 358 yards were a school record for a quarterback’s debut. Memphis’ defense held the visiting Bears scoreless until the backups were in.
UCF and Memphis were the two best teams in the conference last year, and it appears they’re already on track to repeating as champs in their divisions. It may be early, but they’ve already put things on film that should have the rest of the conference worried.
Cincinnati trending up. Temple trending down (again).
UCLA may stay away from the AAC for a while. The Bruins struggled in Chip Kelly’s return to college football, and Cincinnati came away with the win, 26-17. Cincinnati’s defense showed that they can be relied upon to win a game, as they held the Bruins to just seven points in the second half. With their own offense struggling to get traction, the defensive success was huge. Hayden Moore was replaced after just the third series by Desmond Ridder, but the freshman replacement did enough to get the job done. Luke Fickell has been successful off of the field, and now it appears that his team could be a contender in the conference.
Temple, on the other hand, appears to be regressing. The Owls struggled against Villanova. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, Temple has struggled two years in a row against the Wildcats, but this time is cost them. A 19-17 loss has fans scratching their heads, and the coaches heading back to the drawing board. Villanova outgained Temple 405-251 offensively, including a 151-46 advantage rushing the football. Geoff Collins’ team appears to be in a similar situation as last year: decent defense, a struggling quarterback, and zero rushing attack. A team that was believed to be a dark horse suddenly finds themselves with a ton of work to do.