The American Athletic Conference begun play as a conference in transition on Thursday evening. While the Big East had long been the butt of major college football's jokes (largely despite the lack of results to back it up), the American got off to a bad start in keeping its distance from the ACC in face-first flops on the field.
The Colonial Athletic Association, the conference the majority of the FBS killers come from, had a member claim its first scalp, not against the ACC as usual, but against the American. The Towson Tigers beat UConn, 33-18, on Thursday after six previous failed attempts to knock off an FBS team from 2008-2012. The Tigers also improved to 2-0 all-time against the Huskies.
As bad as the loss by UConn was, South Florida in its first game under new head coach Willie Taggart, got obliterated 53-21 by McNeese State from the Southland Conference. The Bulls became the fourth FBS victim (and the first outside of the Sun Belt Conference) to fall to the Cowboys since 2000. The 53 points surrendered by USF were the most by an FBS team to an FCS team since a Joe Flacco led Delaware scored a 59-52 win over Navy in 2007.
The conference as a whole finished with four wins and five losses during college football's first weekend of the 2013 season. Luckily, Memphis was off in Week 1. Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville and UCF all scored large margin victories for the conference as expected. Temple and SMU were outmatched in their games but both teams played BCS automatic qualifying competition. The only major conference victory scored by the American was Cincy's 42-7 pounding of Purdue. What UConn and USF did was inexcusable. “Upset” is hardly the word to use for the games as they were not the better team on the field in either case. Rutgers dropped a tough game on the road in overtime to Fresno State in an entertaining 52-51 contest.
The easy way out would be to say Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had the most impressive individual performance in the Cardinals' easy win over Ohio, but an effort that deserves special recognition is Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova's game against Fresno State. Nova had arguably his best career game in tossing five touchdowns and only one interception against the Bulldogs.
What did we learn from Week 1? The teams of the American are pretty much what we thought they were so far, although some teams might unfortunately be worse than previously thought.