A LOOK AT THE AAC

The UH/AAC report: Memphis, Cincy get big wins; UH gets rolled by Oklahoma

Photo via: UH Football/Facebook

The AAC season is under way with two teams - Cincinnati and Memphis - scoring big wins over power 5 schools. UCF continues to roll and Houston took a tough loss in its opener against OU. A look at the AAC in Week 1:

Cougars fall

New coach Dana Holgorsen inherited a flawed roster at UH, and it showed in the 49-31 loss to Oklahoma. The Cougar defense was rough, forcing only one punt late in the game when OU had backups in. Otherwise, two fumbles and two missed field goals were all that kept the Sooners off the board. D'Eriq King struggled in the new offense and did not hit 200 yards passing, but did rush for over 100 yards. The Cougars get a breather with Prairie View this week before another high profile opponent - Washington State - visits.

Other key results

Memphis 15, Ole Miss 10: The Tigers won in a very different way - with stout defense - knocking off an SEC bottom feeder.

Cincinnati 24, UCLA 14: Cincy's stingy defense made life terrible for UCLA, and took a huge win. Cincy gets another tough opponent with Ohio State up next.

Tulane 42, FIU 14: Willie Fritz and the Green Wave are on the upswing, and a big win over a tough FIU squad was a nice way to start the season.

UCF 62, Florida A&M 0: The Golden Knights train keeps on rolling along with another easy win over an outmatched opponent.

Three stars of the week

1) Patrick Taylor, RB, Memphis: The Tigers lost two NFL running backs in the off-season, but Taylor picked up where they left off, rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries in the win over Memphis.

2) Anthony Russo, QB, Temple: Russo hit on 31 of 42 passes for 409 yards and 4 TDs for the Owls in a 56-12 romp. Granted, it was Bucknell, but still a big effort.

3) Shane Buechele, QB, SMU: The Texas transfer was 30-of-49 for 360 yards as the Mustangs knocked off Arkansas State 37-30.

5 games to watch this week

1) Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State

2) North Texas at SMU

3) Prairie View at Houston

4) Tulane at Auburn

5) South Florida at Georgia Tech

3 players to watch

1) D'Eriq King, Houston: The mercurial quarterback did not have a good passing day at OU. He should rectify that this week against Prairie View.

2) Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati: After a solid debut against Ole Miss, Ridder will need a big effort to keep Cincy in shouting distance of Ohio State.

3) Reggie Roberson, Jr., WR, SMU: Roberson had a monster week with 11 catch for 180 yards against Arkansas State. He will need to be just as good as the Ponies face a tough North Texas team this week.

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NASCAR is coming to Texas! Photo via: Wiki Commons

It’s an All-Star weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. As most fans know, this race is extremely different from what we see on a usual Sunday. This race is an invitational event featuring the winners from the 2021 and 2022 seasons with a few qualifiers including past champions and past All-Star winners over the last ten seasons. As it does every year, the format for this race has changed. It will be divided into four stages, and the winner of each of the first three stages will take up the first three spots on the grid (as long as they finish 15th or higher). The final stage will be fifty laps and if there is no caution between laps 15-25, then the yellow will be thrown to stack everything up. Probably the most important and intriguing change to the format won’t take place on race day, but during qualifying. The field will be given one lap and the fastest eight will advance to the final round, where they will each face-off head-to-head in a bracket. Each paring will have a mandatory pit-stop before exiting, and the first car back to the finish line moves on. This is a unique way of deciding who starts where, I would not be surprised in the slightest if it comes back somewhere down the line in the future

Last week, Kurt Busch went on to score his first victory of the year. It didn’t come easy for the 2004 champion, he had to fend off Kyle Larson and his brother Kyle Busch. The race was marred by numerous tire failures, as it seemed drivers could only go 25-35 laps before running into an issue. Luckily for Kurt, the cautions fell at the right time and he was able to manage his tires as he dominated the race by leading a race-high 116 laps. This was the first win for the #45 car at 23XII racing, as now both Busch and his teammate Bubba Wallace both have victories. While it’s been a frustrating season for this team, this win couldn’t have come at a better time.

While Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan celebrated their team win, Stewart-Haas racing was on the opposite end of the spectrum. All four of their cars finished outside the top ten, including their franchise driver Kevin Harvick. It’s worth noting that despite the disastrous day that he had, Harvick could bounce back with a respectable 15th-place finish. This team has a lot of questions regarding the future of their driver lineup. We know that next season Aric Almirola will retire, but after that who will fill the seat? Will it be their reserve driver Ryan Preece? Could it even be Kyle Busch? With these types of disappointing results from Harvick, many have wondered if he might decide to retire at the end of the 2022 season. This will be a team to follow in the coming months.

As we reach the dog days of summer, the infamous silly season is right around the corner. This is when the rumors start to become louder and louder about who will go next season and what rides will be available. As I mentioned earlier, Kyle Busch is easily the biggest question on the grid, with Mars leaving at season's end, can Joe Gibbs racing find him a sponsor to keep him in the #18 Toyota? There were reports on Thursday that the team was in negotiations with a “major tech company” to sponsor the car for one season. It’s clear that re-signing the two-time champion is the number one priority for Joe Gibbs and Toyota. TRD Executive David Wilson stated that losing him would be, “Unacceptable.” It will be interesting to see this story develop.

With that, the driver I have winning the All-Star Race this weekend is none other than Kyle Busch. Overall, it’s hard to find active drivers with better stats here at this track than him as he’s won here four times, the most among the field. He’s also led over 1,069 laps here, almost more than double the amount of the next closest driver (Martin Truex Jr with 674). When Jimmie Johnson stepped away from the sport in 2020, it was clear that the torch was handed over to Kyle as the best driver at this racetrack. He will be the driver to beat for the million dollars when the checkered flag falls.

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