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Three things we learned from the AAC in Week 1

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Well, at least college football is back?

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Navy Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Well, college football is here. For the AAC, it was a stumble out of the gate, but they most likely won’t be the only conference to do so. And at least they’re playing football. Despite only three games played, we learned quite a bit about the three teams playing, but also about the Group of 5. Then again, the country learned a lot about what the “little guys” have to offer. Hopefully there are more opportunities to do just that.

Group of 5 national exposure

What a great weekend for the Group of 5 in general. With a lack of Power 5 presence in Week 1, the country caught a glimpse of what the G5 could do, and they didn’t disappoint (well some teams did, but we’ll get to that). Rarely, if ever, do the small schools get a weekend to themselves, and they got exactly that in 2020. Hopefully a global pandemic isn’t needed for it to happen again, but it was nice to have a different vibe for the first weekend of college football.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 SMU at Texas State
McDaniel and the offense needed some time to get going, and Texas State gave them all they could handle.
Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

SMU misses Rhett Lashlee, dearly

The Mustangs found a way to beat Texas State 31-24, but it wasn’t pretty. With the amount of talent on offense, SMU should have dominated the Bobcats defense, but questionable playcalling and mistakes limited their production. Former offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee left for Miami this offseason, and his absence was noticeable on Saturday. A strange focus on running the football started the game for the Mustangs, and any passes that were attempted were either short or screens. It didn’t look like SMU played to their strengths, and Shane Buechele never appeared comfortable in the pocket. If things don’t get fixed quickly, the Mustangs might find themselves falling in the conference rankings.

It’s going to be a weird season

Memphis, SMU and Navy all played this weekend, and all three struggled. Was it the atmosphere? Or are all three teams headed for a down year? We won’t know for sure, but it appears that SMU and Navy might struggle. Memphis figured things out a little towards the end, but they need to straighten up their defense if they want to defend their title. Brady White and the offense seemed just fine, but they can’t do everything. With this being a big year for the AAC nationally, they’ll need at least one team to dominate, but it doesn’t appear to be any of the three participating this weekend. A potential College Football Playoff trip is on the line, and the conference can’t let that opportunity slip. If this weekend’s an indication of what’s to come, things aren’t looking good.