Welcome back to week 2 of #AACTION. This week showcased marquee match ups with our top AAC contenders playing Power Five programs. While the week started off with a loss to a P5 school, the rest of the schools picked up the slack to make this week a successful week for the conference. Without further ado, here is the week 2 roundup.
Three Teams Trending Up
For all those who still doubt this team as a sleeper, I have no idea what you’re thinking. Blake Barnett IS the new leader and is the ultimate replacement for Quinton Flowers after leading the Bulls to a win against Georgia Tech. Barnett lead the Bulls to a 49-38 win by going 21-31 for 202 yards, and two touchdowns through the air. He also pulled his best impersonation of Flowers by leading the team in rushing with 91 yards and two touchdowns. Special teams was also fantastic and deserves some recognition. In particular, Terrence Horne Jr. returned TWO kickoffs (97 and 98 yards) for touchdowns. This team is going to be good and does not play a hard game until Houston in October. Expect this team to be 7-0 heading into that premier game.
I did not see this huge win coming. A week after a lackluster start to C-USA bottom-dweller Rice, Houston dominated from the beginning of this game. D’Eriq King played like a true star going 17-34 for 341 yards and accounting for 5 touchdowns (4 passing, 1 rushing). Marquez Stephenson appears to be the next great receiver at Houston and is a dangerous threat for any opposing secondary. Houston looked and played like a potential conference champ last week in my opinion. They dominated early on with defense and held a Khalil Tate-led offense to only 18 points. While Arizona may be on the decline, this win proved that the performance against Rice was just a warm up game. Overall, a very impressive team in the AAC.
Yup, this team is trending up. This will be the first and probably only time ECU will ever be on this list. But, let’s give them their spotlight for a second. Yes, North Carolina is not that good. But for a team that lost to an FCS team to turn around and beat a P5 team is an improvement worth noting. To UDD colleague Joe Serpico’s dismay, Temple is officially the worst team in the AAC and ECU actually proved they can win a game. The bad news about this win, at least for UCF fans, is that if UNC is bad enough to lose to ECU, they’re not going to be a quality win for UCF. Nonetheless, congrats ECU on your first win. It was a convincing one!
Three Teams Trending Down
Just like Temple, it’s time to slow our roll on crowning them division champs in the west. Memphis looked flat against Navy. It looks like, to me, that Memphis team we saw against Mercer was only impressive due to the low talent level of Mercer. They are now tied with UConn for the worst conference record. Sorry Memphis, you’re still a good team in the AAC, but you definitely drop in my rankings.
They at least looked better than they did a week before. They lost to a tough MAC team that should contend for a conference championship. But, c’mon Temple. You’re not representing the conference well right now. This is no longer a sleeper team. They look like a team that will try to ruin a top team’s season.
I wasn’t expecting a win from SMU, but my gosh SMU that was terrible. Ben Hicks and the offensive scheme should work, but things aren’t clicking for the Mustangs. The defense actually played decently well, despite the score being so lopsided. Overall, this team has been disappointing so far and I am guaranteeing this team goes 0-4 to start the year.
Players of the Week
Offense: QB, D’Eriq King: Houston
Defense: S, Sean Williams: Navy
Special Teams: WR/KR, Terrence Horne Jr.: USF
DT, Cortez Broughton: Cincinnati
S, Davondre Robinson: ECU
RB, Darrell Henderson: Memphis
QB, Malcolm Perry: Navy
QB, Blake Barnett: USF
Top Three Must Watch AAC Games in Week 3
USF vs. Illinois
One of the three match ups against Power Five programs this week. USF has won six of its past seven games against P5 opponents. We have seen how USF can perform at home. But how will they perform on the road against a hostile crowd? Plus, there should be about 80 points scored so why not tune in?
Tulane vs. UAB
Call me crazy, but this game just has fun written all over it. A Tulane team that seems to have a chance at contending, combined with a good C-USA team in UAB. I think we will get some old-fashion, clean, football.
Houston vs. Texas Tech
Here is another chance to prove that Houston is the real deal. Texas Tech has always been inconsistent and is always good for an offensive shootout. Houston can prove that they are the top team in Texas with another big win against the Red Raiders.
Temple vs. Maryland
Typically, an 0-2 team that is struggling to get anything going wouldn’t be worth our time to watch. But this match up is deserving due to the close proximity of the two programs. Take into account that the Maryland program is in turmoil and we at least have an interesting story line. I’m also interested in which QB is going to take the reigns for Temple. Plus, the Owls played three quarterbacks last week and will have to settle on one coming into this week.