It's time to start paying attention to the AAC.
Memphis moved to 6-0 Saturday with a 37-24 upset of No. 13 Ole Miss at home. The loss was Ole Miss' second in the past three weeks – two weeks ago the Rebels fell from the ranks of the undefeated against Florida. And we are going to go out on a sturdy limb and say Memphis will not be unranked when the AP poll comes out on Sunday.
Why? This wasn't a fluke. Hell, the Tigers even spotted the Rebels 14 points to start the game. You can do the math and see how much of a blowout it was the rest of the way.
Memphis grabbed the lead before halftime and extended it to 10 points before the break on a great touchdown pass from Paxton Lynch to Anthony Miller. Lynch rolled to his left and found Miller streaking across the back of the end zone.
If you've been paying close attention to college football, you likely know that Lynch has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country for the past couple of seasons. And Saturday was a prime opportunity to show that he's got an NFL future.
He delivered. Lynch finished 39-of-53 passing for 384 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He displayed great accuracy and made a variety of throws against what's considered one of the best defenses in not only the SEC, but the country.
And as Lynch's stock rose, the national attention paid to coach Justin Fuente did too. Fuente isn't a sudden up-and-comer in coaching circles; the 39-year-old coach led Memphis to a 10-3 record in 2014. But with openings at Southern Cal and South Carolina over the past week, plus the possibility of other Power 5 positions being available at the end of the season, Fuente is going to be a hot commodity if Memphis continues its run at the top of the AAC.
It's not guaranteed, either. The AAC has wanted to be considered as a sixth power conference in college football and its members are backing up those desires this season. In addition to Memphis, Houston and Temple are undefeated. Both have Power 5 wins too. Houston beat Louisville and Temple has beaten Penn State. While the conference may not be as deep as the Power 5 conferences, it's getting impossible to deny the excellence at the top.
The Tigers play both of the other undefeated teams in back-to-back weeks in November. It's entirely possible that all three will still be without a loss when Memphis takes on Houston on Nov. 14. And the winner of that game could end up facing Temple again in the AAC title game – a matchup that will very likely be for a New Year's Six bowl berth.
For more Memphis news, visit TigerSportsReport.com.
For more Ole Miss news, visit RebelGrove.com.
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