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Three Things We Learned From Week Eight Football in the American

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The rich keep getting richer, and the poor, well, they'll just be beating up on each other soon enough

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I think it's a safe bet, now that the American Athletic Conference is a whisker away from three teams ranked in the top 20 of the AP Poll (#16 Memphis, #18 Houston and #21 Temple), they're the cream of the Group of Five crop.

Granted, that may not last long, as those teams all have yet to play each other, but every week the odds increase that the AAC Champion will be representing the Group of Five in a New Years Six bowl. That said, we now know...

1. There's a very clear top tier now

And it features those ranked and undefeated teams that are now in a logjam towards the bottom of the AP poll, whose 10-0 conference record is unlikely to change soon. Houston took a while to get out of their own way en route to steamrolling UCF. Memphis had no trouble lighting Tulsa's defense on fire while Temple eventually needed their special teams to assist their defense in making some field position happen in order to finish putting ECU away.

All three are at home next week, but considering that Memphis and Houston will be facing Tulane and Vanderbilt, respectively, while Temple goes up against #9 Notre Dame, there's a clear favorite to be the next to earn a loss. Or maybe they'll win, as long as their offense can do enough to keep up with what has been a very strong defense.

2. There's also a very clear bottom tier

UCF is the decisive cellar dweller after another Saturday of free beer (along with what must be the most expensive appetizers ever, given that they're still in business). They managed to look good for a half, much like they did against Tulane and Temple, but they have yet to put four quarters together on offense and defense. That task will either get easier or harder now that George O'Leary has officially resigned as head coach.

SMU isn't far behind them, as both Matt Davis and their offense as a whole have gone dry as their defense continues to give up piles of points and yards. Hot on those heels are UConn and Tulane, both of whom have had their moments, but now are a combined 3-10 against FBS opponents. Two of those three wins are over the aforementioned UCF, so things are not well in New Orleans or Storrs.

3. Other than that, who is the best of the rest?

Is it an ECU team that is 2-2 in one-score games, but could only manage 3/4 of a good game against Temple? Maybe it's Cincinnati, who is 1-2 in one-score games and did the same thing against BYU (disappear in the fourth)? Perhaps it's a South Florida team that has now won three in a row and has given up more than 24 points exactly one time this season (the Fightin' Dalvin Cooks).

No, for right now it's Navy. Probably. They've only got one loss, a game where they hung with Notre Dame for a half and then were done for. But then their good win was Air Force. South Florida, on the other hand, is 4-3, but also very nearly beat Memphis. I guess we'll find out this week when the two teams meet in Annapolis.