Let’s begin by reminding everyone of the AAC’s current standings:
- Cincinnati 6-1 (3-0)
- UCF 6-2 (3-1)
- Temple 5-3 (2-2)
- USF 4-4 (2-2)
- ECU 3-5 (0-4)
- UConn 2-6 (0-4)
- SMU 8-0 (4-0)
- Navy 6-1 (4-1)
- Memphis 7-1 (3-1)
- Tulane 5-3 (2-2)
- Houston 3-5 (1-3)
- Tulsa 2-6 (0-4)
Currently the AAC has 3 ranked teams (SMU, Cincinnati, and Memphis. Two others are receiving votes (UCF, and Navy).
Of course UCF has won the conference the past two seasons, and gone 1-1 in their New Year’s Six Bowl appearances following those years. Memphis was their biggest challenger in each of those two seasons, but the Tigers still went 0-4 against the Knights in that time span.
SMU and Cincinnati have risen to the top of the conference in 2019, and look to be on a collision course for the AAC Championship Game. Are there chinks in the armor?
ECU and Tulsa have been conference bottom feeders. Not surprisingly, that’s left Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery on the hot seat and ECU’s Scottie Montgomery as fired. Everyone says that Tulsa’s the best 2 win team around, and they should have beaten Memphis. ECU looks better under new coach Mike Houston, but that includes two FCS wins.
UConn is the conference embarrassment, putting up arguably the worst defense ever in 2018. Is 2019 just as bad, or are they improving on their way out of the conference?
Finally, just how tight and successful is the middle of the AAC. The depth those teams provide is what the conference hangs its hat on, in their Power 6 claims. Numbers can make or break that argument.
Points scored by allowed:
- Top right is best on this chart
- UCF and SMU are right where you’d expect
- Cincinnati and Navy are down a game’s production. Still Cincinnati is very low.
- ECU and UConn are right where they belong.
What about yards and points scored, but on average per game?
- Navy gets a boost, and Cincinnati gets a small jump. That corrects having played one less game than everyone else. Still, the Bearcats feel really low.
- Not a ton of change from teams who have played 8 games.
Points scored by the game
- Temple is walking a straight line
- Cincinnati’s 0 vs Ohio State is tanking their numbers overall
- Can you find where UConn played UMass?
- Shoutout to Tulane scoring the least then the most points of any AAC West team in consecutive weeks (@Auburn then Missouri State)
- Everyone score plus 30 in their 8th game
- For an offensive coach, Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery doesn’t score much
- Who would have guessed UConn has the best redzone scoring percentage?
- Felt like all 8 of UCF’s failed redzone trips happened against Cincinnati.
- Speaking of Cincinnati, it’s felt like they’re better in the redzone than that
- SMU is putting up huge numbers here, good and bad
- Tulane and Navy proving that running the ball works better near the goal line than throwing.
First downs vs yards gained:
- UCF has the most first downs of any FBS team (220) and second in yards (4,491). That’s about 20.41 yards per first down conversion.
- Yeah, Cincinnati is a game behind, but woof that’s tough.
Total yards by points
- First things first, Navy and Cincinnati have played one less game than everyone else. That said, they’ve still both been excellent on defense.
- Bottom left is best, that’s why UConn is top right
- whispers Houston’s defense has allowed more yards than UConn’s
Season average yards by points:
- UCF catches up to Cincinnati, but Navy still looks like the best defense in the conference.
- Everything else looks about the same.
Blocked kicks by kicks blocked
- You’d figure the two best teams would have fewer kicks blocked
- Temple is the ideal, USF the nightmare
- Navy is boring, Tulsa is insanely unpredictable for every kick by both teams
- Houston and Memphis are looking great here.
Punt returns vs returns allowed
- Strive for the top left
- USF, ECU, and Tulane are giving opponents a free first down. UCF is giving a first down and an offsides call to boot from bad punt coverage.
- Tulane and UCF make up for it with explosiveness.
Kick returns vs returns allowed
- Fun battle this weekend between the two best kickoff and return units in the AAC
- UConn and ECU have found comfort in one another’s arms
Yards allowed by yards gained
- Top left is best
- UCF and Navy look like the best teams if yardage was the only consideration
- Temple is balanced. Allowing 402.9 yards per game and gaining 402.3 yards per game
- UConn is tighter to the pack than expected.
Points allowed by points gained
- Looks like UCF and Navy should also be the best teams if points were what mattered. Memphis in the mix too.
- UConn isn’t as bad here as last season, but still by far the worst of the AAC
- UCF’s Dillon Gabriel has 5 interceptions, all on the road. His poor game, and losing the turnover battle at Cincinnati is what put the Bearcats in the driver seat for the AAC East.
- USF has forced an insane number of turnovers for a .500 team
- Between Temple’s schedule and their turnover habit, it’s surprising they have a winning record.