Welcome back AAC fans!
Football has finally resumed and we are back with weekly content of your favorite teams. No matter if your team got off to a hot start or is still trying to shake off the rust, college football is back and we could not be more excited.
This year, we wanted to bring you all a little more. Because this is a new type of article, let us know in the comments if you would like any changes in the format of the article or if there is anything else you want added. Without further ado, let’s get into Week 1 action.
Three Teams Trending Up:
UCF: McKenzie Milton continued to impress in UCF’s conference opener. Milton’s stat line was 24-32, 346 YDS, and five touchdowns. Tre Nixon, the Ole Miss transfer, also appears to be a solid replacement for Tre’Quan Smith. The UCF defense looks like it may have taken a slight step back, but overall, should be okay against the AAC teams. At this point, until proven otherwise, they get the benefit of the doubt as the team to beat in the G5.
USF: While the score didn’t look all that pretty, Blake Barnett is really something special. Barnett threw for 305 yards and made it look easy, leading USF to a 31-0 advantage before being pulled. Randall St. Felix and Tyre McCants will continue to be heavily involved in this offense, whether it be screens or the deep ball. Nonetheless, the offense continued to look electric without Quinton Flowers. The defense still has some work to do stopping the run. However, they created turnovers in the passing game with their speed and athleticism.
Cincinnati: Wow, what a start. I admit that I questioned Cincy being a sleeper team, but after this P6 win, I can admit I am wrong (for now at least). UCLA was not supposed to be that great, but this win should give Cincinnati some confidence heading into their next game. Offensively, they finally pulled Hayden Moore for Desmond Ridder. That gamble paid off as he was a much better game manager. The real star was Mike Warren, who popped off on the ground for 142 yards and three touchdowns. This was the surprise of the week for me.
Three Teams Trending Down:
Houston: They were more of a warm team than a hot one. They played inferior to Rice, a bottom dweller, for most of the game. D’Eriq King looked good for much of the game and Houston has a solid core of receivers, with three players almost reaching 100 yards each. For a more in-depth summary of the game, click here. If you asked me if they could pull the win off at halftime, I would have said no. So even though they pulled off the win, I feel that their performance is somewhat concerning going forward.
SMU: This team is probably looking at an 0-4 start now. They scored some garbage time points and couldn’t keep up with UNT in anyway. The next opponents on their schedule: TCU, Michigan and Navy. Expect SMU to stay in the cold list for a few weeks.
Temple: Let’s slow our talks with Temple being the sleeper of the conference. They lost to Villanova, a good FCS team, but still not an FBS team. Frank Nutile underwhelmed, as well as the rest of the offense, with special teams being the only real bright spot for this team. This was by far the most embarrassing loss for the conference.
Players of the Week:
Offense: QB, McKenzie Milton: UCF
Defense: LB, Bryan Wright: Cincinnati, DT Ed Oliver: Houston
Special Teams: P, Thomas Bennett: Tulsa
S, Richie Grant: UCF
RB, Michael Warren II: Cincinnati
QB, D’Eriq King: Houston
QB, Brady White: Memphis
QB, Blake Barnett: USF
Top Three Must Watch AAC Games in Week 2:
Georgia Tech vs. USF: Can USF prove that they are the dark horse of the conference? USF’s performance has been widely overlooked due to the smaller than anticipated margin of victory as well as the game not being televised. I will look for Blake Barnett to be a big part of next week’s game to see if he can follow up on his success after his debut.
Arizona vs. Houston: Will Houston respond after a rough first game? They got the win, but boy did it look ugly. To make matters worse, it was against Rice. They don’t have time to rest though as they take on Arizona. While the Wildcats lost to BYU to start, Arizona is going to be dangerous just because of Khalil Tate. I will be looking to see if Houston can improve after week 1’s ugly win.
Memphis vs. Navy: This conference opener will determine many things in the AAC West, most importantly, who will have the outright lead in the division. These early conference games are overlooked, but extremely important. The other thing this will determine is if we should consider Memphis the front-runner in the West. We saw that Memphis can succeed against a bad FCS school, but can they beat a offensive power like Navy?
Honorable Mention: UConn vs. Boise State:
For all those stuck in the UCF vs. Boise State debate, here is a common opponent for both schools. While the result is rather obvious, this is a good chance to be able to compare the two front-runners with each other. My personal opinion is Boise State is better, and I am an AAC guy.