What a wild week for the AAC. A top dog went down and was replaced by a new one, a team became bowl eligible, and college kickers continue to struggle. In a crazy week of football for the conference, we learned a lot, but we also gained more questions. It was tough to narrow it down, but here are three things we learned from the AAC in Week 6.
UCF’s magic is gone
It was fun while it lasted. The magic that was the 2017 UCF Knights season is officially gone. To be fair, they lost a little last year when they lost to LSU, but two losses this year made it go away completely. The Cinderella story came to a disappointing end with their loss to Cincinnati, but all isn’t lost for the Knights. Their goals of winning the conference are still very much in tact, but they’ll need some help. Cincinnati’s in the driver seat, and it appears that the Knights are their only threat right now.
Zach Smith makes Tulsa’s offense better
We knew the one thing that held Tulsa back the last couple years was quarterback play. They don’t have to worry about that anymore. Zach Smith’s provided a spark offensively for the Golden Hurricane, even if they couldn’t pull off the upset Saturday night. His 346 yards passing gave Tulsa its first 300+ yard passing game since 2016. We understand that he threw three interceptions, but you have to walk before you run. Phillip Montgomery’s team is much better than many anticipated, but they need to convert some of these close games into wins. A bowl game is possible with Smith running the show, but they’ll need to find a kicker that can make field goals consistently.
James Proche has ice in his veins
If you haven’t seen it by now, you missed out. SMU wide receiver James Proche is a baller, and arguably the best receiver in the conference. His catch against Tulsa in triple overtime won the Mustangs the game, and put them at 6-0.
THE MUSTANGS HANG ON IN 3OT— ESPN (@espn) October 6, 2019
No. 24 SMU wins its sixth straight! pic.twitter.com/5F6yhL51e9
Proche’s been playing lights out all year, with a handful of highlight reel grabs. This is just the latest on his legendary resume. SMU’s 6-0 start is their first since 1982, and it also makes them the first team in the conference to be bowl eligible. SMU showed its flaws, but they came back from a 21 point deficit to win. The AAC West may be crowded, but it’s clear that SMU is the best in the division right now.