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.

My friends are degenerates
But I'd never change them
Liars, cheats, and hypocrites
Not the type for saving

- A Day To Remember

If you listen to the Blitz, that is the second hour intro. And if you have been paying attention to Houston sports this week, you know it has been filled with liars, cheats and hypocrites. Many have said it was the worst 24 hours in Houston sports history. From a national attention standpoint, it might be the best, because finally the rest of the nation has noticed the sports scene here.

For years, Houston sports fan has chafed that their teams don't get enough attention from the national media.

They are getting plenty of attention now. Congrats, Houston, this is what your sports teams are known for after one of the most bizarre weeks in Houston sports history.

The liars

University of Houston quarterback D'Eriq King made the odd decision to red shirt after four games, with the presumption he would return in 2020. He constantly repeated that he would be back. On Tuesday night, clearly hoping to avoid the spotlight, he announced during the national championship game his intent to transfer.

He insisted he was staying several times, despite rumors that turned out to be true that he never had any intention of returning. It was a bad look for coach Dana Holgorsen, who banked his 2020 season on King, and a worse look for King, who could have just said "as of now, I am planning on staying." Instead he was intentionally misleading.

And the national media noticed. Even though it happened during the championship game, the story made the front page of ESPN.com, and it mentioned all the times King said he was staying. It was a subtle way of highlighting the lies.

It was a bad look for everyone, and closed out a rough day for Houston sports fan.

The earlier news, of course, was The Big Lie.

The cheats

Well, that's easy. The Astros were hit with a loss of draft picks, a fine, and year-long suspensions for their manager and GM.

Shortly thereafter, owner Jim Crane fired GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch. Major league baseball's discoveries were damning.

There is no doubt the Astros cheated. It's hard to believe that everyone in the organization did not know. But the statement exonerated Crane. We can debate if the punishment was enough, but lost in all of it was that it was a "player-driven" scheme. MLB chose not to punish the players, presumably since there is nothing in the collective bargaining agreement to allow it. Regardless, it leaves a lot of questions. Which players? All of them? Just the stars?

Make no mistake, this has been a major national story from the beginning. It dominated talk and headlines on Monday, even in the wake of NFL playoffs and the college championship. The national opinion? The Astros are cheaters and should have been punished more. If you are a fan, you likely don't care. Or you blame the whistleblower. But the nation has a different opinion. If the team struggles in 2020, you can bet the narrative will be that they can't win without cheating. This one isn't going away. But the controversy let someone else off the hook...

The hypocrites

Rest assured, no one was happier to see the Astros announcements than Bill O'Brien, whose epic, historic collapse in Kansas City was swept to the back pages. His inane comments that "we are headed in the right direction" went without being called out. His poor decisions went unnoticed. His inability to look at his organization and recognize change is needed was lost.

We have been saying that in Houston for years. But after his flaws were exposed to a national audience, finally the rest of the world realizes he is in over his head. Several national outlets said he should be fired.

O'Brien said again he won't hire a GM. He said that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is expected to return next year despite two years of terrible defense. His complete power over the organization makes it clear meaningful change is not coming. We get that O'Brien is not going anywhere, but his stubborn reliance on yes men and cronies and refusal to bring in a legitimate offensive coordinator or replace Crennel means there is no hope for the franchise to take the next step. Sometimes you need new voices. O'Brien's just gets louder and louder and drowns out everyone else's.

Since he became coach, the other three teams in the AFC South have made the AFC Championship Game. The Texans are the only team to fail to do that. Yet they are going in the right direction, according to O'Brien.

What does it all mean? 

The city's teams are finally getting national run. Whether or not it is for good reasons in immaterial. Houston is in the national spotlight. If you are a fan, all you can do is embrace the liars, cheats and hypocrites, and roll with it. And wait for the Rockets to find a way to make news.

The reality is this has been going on for decades. Baseball in particular is a sport that welcomes cheating. Athletes and teams have been lying to you for years. Speaking of hypocrites, if you ripped the Patriots but defend the Astros? The bottom line is fans love to turn a blind eye. And that's just fine. But pretending this isn't a reality is naive.

As fans, you want to believe you are rooting for good people. You wear their jerseys. But the reality is when that much money is on the line, people are going to do whatever they can outside the rules. Maybe it is overly cynical, but the truth is most of them grew up in a culture of cheating and taking short cuts and trying not to get caught. Should we act surprised when they do? Bad people exist in all walks of life. Money attracts more of them.

There is a LOT of money in sports.

And to think it is just Houston is silly. Players like Cody Bellinger saying the Dodgers did things the "right way" might want to hold off. More will come out, and you look even worse when you say stuff like that and your team is the next one.

That leaves Houston fans to just embrace and accept reality. And before you say, "this is harsh and unfair..." is there anything in here that is not true?

Oh, and enjoy the 2017 World Series, because at this rate, that is all you will be able to hang your hat on.

But at least the national media notices you now.

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