If you’ve ever been bored enough to wonder which AAC Champion was the best, but didn’t want the fun of the debate, then I’ve got the website for you. It’s called WhatIfSports.com and it let’s you simulate historic match-ups between teams.
Would 2019 LSU really beat 2001 Miami? I don’t know. Which National Champion Florida Gators team is best? Better question, who cares? I had to find out who this website says is the best AAC Championship team.
Seeding is simple enough. Teams are seeded in order of when they won the conference. In 2014 there were three co-champions, so they’re in alphabetical order.
- 2013 UCF
- 2014 Cincinnati
- 2014 Memphis
- 2014 UCF
- 2015 Houston
- 2016 Temple
- 2017 UCF
- 2018 UCF
- 2019 Memphis
With this being a 9 team tournament, the bracket needs to eliminate someone. So, the 2014 co-champions simulated a round robin. Memphis beat Cincinnati 40-13, and UCF got past the Bearcats 37-30. Memphis would beat UCF 23-20, but that didn’t matter. Cincinnati was eliminated to bring the count to 8 teams.
2013 UCF (1) vs. 2019 Memphis (8)
UCF’s first and only trip to a BCS bowl came in 2013, and on the back of a Blake Bortles led offense. Meanwhile, Memphis’ Cotton Bowl teams from this past season were led by freshman phenom Kenneth Gainwell.
UCF won 34-23. In classic Blake Bortles fashion he threw 4 touchdown passes, and 0 interception while Storm Johnson pounded the Tigers for 121 yards. Kenneth Gainwell was kept in check, and Brady White’s 2 interceptions cost Memphis
2014 Memphis (2) vs 2018 UCF (7)
Two teams that litter this simulation, UCF and Memphis meat again. Once again, UCF gets the better of Memphis 27-10.
McKenzie Milton wasn’t himself, as he only threw for 176 yards and an interception. Luckily for UCF, Paxton Lynch threw two picks and Memphis had no rusher go over 52 yards.
2014 UCF (3) vs 2017 UCF (6)
UCF all around, as their 2014 team which won a share of the AAC Championship on a last second Hail Mary at ECU takes on 2017’s National Championship Team.
Unsurprisingly, 2017 UCF routed the 2014 iteration of itself. 45-24 was the final. Georgia O’Leary was up to his old tricks, as he ran William Stanback 23 times for 42 yards. Not ideal. Meanwhile, Scott Frost’s offense saw McKenzie Milton go 22 for 25 with 3 touchdowns.
2015 Houston (4) vs 2016 Temple (5)
Houston’s 2015 team was tons of fun to watch, meanwhile Temple’s conference championship feels like an afterthought nowadays. Unsurprisingly, Houston would win, but Temple was still Temple Tuff.
The score was 17-10. Neither quarterback was great, but Greg Ward Jr. didn’t throw any interceptions, where Phillip Walker threw 2, became the difference in the game.
2013 UCF (1) vs 2015 Houston (4)
For Houston, they had the job of preventing an all-UCF championship match-up here, and they delivered. Houston beat UCF 49-37.
In a near polar opposite of the Cougar’s first round match-up, Houston was able to fend of Blake Bortles in a shootout. Greg Ward Jr. threw for 2 touchdowns, and ran for another. Kenneth Farrow also managed two rushing touchdowns. Bortles tried to keep it close, throwing for 393 yards, and 2 interceptions.
2017 UCF (6) vs 2018 UCF (7)
In a big time match-up, the Scott Frost and Josh Heupel pit their respective championship teams against one another. Well, Frosty squeaked out a win over Heupel’s 2018 squad, 27-24.
It’s a little strange to look at two box scores of what amount to essentially the same team, but the big difference is that 2017 McKenzie Milton threw 3 touchdowns, while in 2018 Milton didn’t throw a touchdown.
2015 Houston (4) vs 2017 UCF (6)
Put the seeding on the shelf, after all that’s just chronological order, these two are clearly the best two teams the AAC has produced. They both won their New Year’s Six games (2013 UCF also won the Fiesta Bowl, but most people would agree they weren’t as strong as these two squads). So, who would it be? Houston or UCF?
UCF 49 Houston 21.
It was a merciless slaughter. That surprised me, personally. I was expecting a shootout where Houston at least kept it close. However, it should be no surprise the the conference’s only team to claim a National Championship (while in the AAC), won this tournament.
The game was won on the back of Milton, as always, who threw 3 touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Houston kept the ball in Kenneth Farrow’s hands. He had a nice game, running for 135 yards and 2 scores. It wasn’t enough, and UCF walks away as champion among the AAC Champions.