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Three things we learned from the AAC in Week 8

SMU and Memphis came up big in their matchups, and both of them got big time play from their studs.

NCAA Football: Temple at Southern Methodist Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

For those thinking the AAC wouldn’t be fun to watch, boy were you wrong. Two big time matchups produced big wins, and created more separation between top teams and the rest of the contenders. The season is far from over, but there’s a team to beat. Another team just isn’t very good, and one player continues to stand out as a freshman.

SMU’s officially the team to beat

A big matchup with the Temple Owls didn’t concern the Mustangs, who went right to work putting points on the scoreboard. Shane Buechele passed for 457 yards and six touchdowns, and Reggie Roberson finished with 250 of those yards and three touchdowns receiving to lead the Mustangs. Tulsa pressured SMU last week, raising concerns about this team, but they proved that they’re the team to beat going forward.

Houston’s not tanking, they’re just not good

D’Eriq King would make a difference, but I’m not sure how much. Houston struggled mightily to beat UConn on Saturday, but pulled out a win. The Huskies outgained the Cougars 438-284, but only produced 17 points. Houston gave up a number of potential deep passes, but freshman Jack Zergiotis couldn’t connect with his Huskies receivers. This could have been a blowout fro UConn, but the Cougars found a way to win. It’s not exactly promising for Houston, and their flaws were amplified on Saturday.

Kenneth Gainwell’s a nightmare

If you didn’t know Kenneth Gainwell’s name, you certainly know it now. The Memphis Tigers freshman (yes freshman) running back added his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game to his resume. But that wasn’t it. He added nine catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and will give AAC teams nightmares about facing him over the next three seasons. With Patrick Taylor hurt, Gainwell stepped up to the plate, and showed that he’s a matchup nightmare running and catching the football. On top of that, the Tigers dominated their big matchup with Tulane, winning 47-17.