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Three things we learned from the AAC in Week 12

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Cincinnati inches closer (barely) to a division crown, while other teams have disappointed us.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at South Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

We’re inching closer to our first participant in the AAC Championship Game. Cincinnati holds on to their lead, but they’ve made things interesting the last few weeks. Another East team hopes they get a chance to defend their title, while a third kept their hopes alive with a huge win. The team they beat has been a disappointment this year, but it’s something we learned for the future.

Tulane v Temple
Temple kept their AAC East hopes alive with a big win over Tulane.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Temple keeps their title hopes alive

While Cincinnati struggled to put away USF on Saturday, Temple took care of business against Tulane. The Owls kept their AAC Championship Game hopes alive with their 29-21 win, and can take another step towards that goal by beating Cincinnati next week. They’d still need the Bearcats to lose again the next week to force a tiebreaker. Cincinnati can end any potential drama/tiebreakers by winning next week, but we’ve seen they aren’t exactly making things easy on themselves.

Cincinnati’s playing with fire

Winning comfortable hasn’t exactly been on the menu for the Bearcats recently. Outside of last week’s blowout out of UConn, they haven’t blown anyone out in the conference. They beat ECU before UConn by a score of 46-43, and they survived this week against USF. A late field goal gave them a 20-17 win, but also raised concerns about their ability to hang on to this divisional lead. Michael Warren rushed for 134 yards and his 10th touchdown of the season, but that was about it for the offense. Desmond Ridder threw for just 78 yards on Saturday, but they found a way to win despite their struggles. Luckily for the Bearcats, they’re in control of their destiny, and need just one win in their next two games to make the conference championship game.

Tulane’s preseason hype was a little much

Pegged as a dark horse team by some, and a AAC West winner by others, Tulane’s been a disappointment this season. After a 5-1 start to the year, the Green Wave lost three of their next four, including Saturday’s 29-21 loss to Temple. Quarterback Justin McMillan also slowed down after a solid start. In those first six games, he threw eight touchdowns to just two interceptions. Since then, he’s thrown five touchdowns to eight interceptions. While McMillan isn’t solely to blame, his production hasn’t helped win games either. Maybe next time Tulane gets preseason hype, we should take a step back. With UCF and SMU left to finish the year, this team appears to be headed for another 6-6 regular season finish.