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Think this college football season is boring? Here’s the conference to watch

The AAC East alone has three undefeated teams — more than any full conference in the nation.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The college football season is halfway over, and you might be looking for some excitement to add into your regular Saturday viewing schedule, with Alabama looking like it’s just going to dominate the rest of the country. If you’re wanting to switch things up, folks, look no further than the American.

Wanna watch evenly matched teams fight it out for a conference title? Watch more AAC football.

The AAC East is more loaded than the West, mainly because of the three still unbeaten in UCF, USF, and Cincinnati. You know what other conferences have three undefeated teams in them? None, let alone in a single division.

Given this fact, the East has plenty of drama, with most of it centering on the fate of the defending national champ Knights. Here are the possible scenarios that could play out, via Bill Connelly:

1. UCF runs the table, putting the College Football Playoff committee in a very awkward situation. How high would they rank the Knights after two consecutive unbeaten seasons, especially with last year’s Peach Bowl win over Auburn?

2. UCF loses, bringing chaos to the race for the Group of Five’s NY6 bid. An unbeaten UCF obviously gets the nod. But an AAC champ UCF with a loss at Memphis, Cincinnati, or USF vs. a one-loss Appalachian State (with only an OT loss at Penn State) vs. a one-loss Fresno State or Utah State (both of whom also only lost to Big Ten teams by single scores on the road)? A lot of teams would realistically stake a claim.

3. UCF loses, bringing chaos to the AAC East race. Cincinnati and USF are still unbeaten too, and Temple is smoking hot after a rough start. UCF could run the table, rendering this race entirely uninteresting, but one little slip could make this absolutely fascinating.

These three teams aren’t alone, though. Houston is tied for first atop the AAC West, sitting at 5-1 overall, and undefeated in conference play entering Week 8. Temple is 4-3 overall, but remains unbeaten inside the conference. SMU and Tulane are still in the hunt for the West, too.

Though these teams haven’t faced much great Power 5 competition, they have beaten a handful of powers.

Per S&P+, The Knights are the No. 7 team in the country, in front of Washington, Notre Dame, and LSU. Cincy checks in at 31st, USF 41st.

The Knights, ranked 10th in the AP Poll, have beaten the ACC’s Pitt along with a comeback victory at Memphis. USF has two P5 victories against Illinois and Georgia Tech this season. The Bulls are also 34-6 in their last 40 games, a mark that, per USF, is tied with Oklahoma for the fourth-best in the country. Cincinnati, enjoying its first 6-0 start since 2009, spoiled Chip Kelly’s UCLA debut, and the Bearcats have an average margin of victory of 25 points.

Like always, this isn’t just a good conference. It’s also explosive and innovative.

The conference whose 2017 title game included 117 total points is still a home for big numbers and rising stars.

  • UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton is tied for sixth in the nation in points responsible for this season, including 16 passing touchdowns.
NCAA Football: Central Florida at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The American will still be exciting, even if you don’t watch. So, why not take advantage of it?

Having this much parity in the conference is something AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco has been envisioning.

“There’s a dynamic: let’s raise all the boats,” Aresco told Richard Johnson in 2017. “It’s everybody getting better. Watch Tulane with Willie Fritz. Watch the schools that haven’t done as well start going.

“It’s the first time in our short history that we’ve had USF and UCF be good at football. Either one or the other has been good before, but not both. That’s a dynamic combination. You know how powerful those brands can possibly be down the road. There’s no reason this conference can’t take its place. But it doesn’t have to be the Big Ten or the SEC.”

In less than two weeks the College Football Playoff selection committee will put out its first Top 25 of the season. Look, we’re aware there aren’t actual playoff stakes here, looking at how the committee’s handled non-powers in the past, and the fact that none of these teams look as dominant as UCF was last year.

But the country’s tightest division race still has New Year’s Six stakes. Whoever wins the AAC should have an excellent shot at a NY6 game, and after UCF beat Auburn last year, just about any power would be nervous about that bowl.