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Friday, September 22, 2023


AAC Update: SMU takes control of West

After a bad start to the season, SMU has rebounded and taken first in the American Athletic Conference’s West Division. | Vladimir Cherry/SMU Athletics

Following its 59–49 loss to Temple at home, Houston fell to second in the AAC West division behind SMU.

The loss puts UH, which is sitting at 4–2 in the AAC, at risk of not making the conference championship game this season.

Houston will have to hope for a win against third-place Tulane Thursday and against 3–3 Memphis Nov. 23 if it expects a berth in the championship game.

On top of that, SMU needs to lose to either Memphis or Tulsa, its last two opponents of the season that happen to be part of the bottom three in the West.

Although the Mustangs have one of the easiest schedules left to play in the AAC, it is coming off of a less-than-thrilling win that saw it give up 50 points to 1–9 UConn, one of the worst teams in the football bowl subdivision.

A Tulane loss to Navy in its season finale would also help Houston in the West but likely would not be necessary if the Cougars win Thursday.

Fortunately for the Cougars, junior quarterback D’Eriq King is coming off a career game in the loss to the Owls.

King threw for five touchdowns and ran for another, giving him enough TDs to set a new record in the AAC for most in a season with 48.

The No. 1 ranked AAC quarterback in total offense led UH to its ninth 40+ point game of the season.

Senior Ryquell Armstead of the Owls set an AAC record as well during the game after rushing for six touchdowns in a single game in his team’s win.

In the East, Central Florida strengthened its grip at the top of the division with a 35–24 win against Navy, while Temple and Cincinnati followed behind with wins of their own. Both now sit at 5–1 in conference play behind UCF.

South Florida had hoped to contain sophomore running back Michael Warren of Cincinnati in the two teams’ matchup Saturday, but Warren ended up with four total touchdowns in a valiant effort and tough loss for the Bulls.

The Knights and the Bearcats will meet next week in Orlando for one of the biggest AAC games of the regular season, a matchup that will shake up the East should Cincinnati find itself victorious.

Nothing is set in stone in the AAC, and with two weeks left on the schedule, there is still plenty of football left to play.

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