Well the top half of the conference continues to fluctuate but are all competitive in their games, but the bottom half continues to confuse us. Tulsa followed up a great performance with an absolute dud. Temple blew a lead and missed a game-tying field goal to Army. ECU beat BYU by 17. It’s all a mess at the bottom. We did our best, and we’re sure there will be plenty of disagreement, but here is our best version of this week’s Power Rankings.
1. UCF (6-0, LW: #1)
The Knights survived a tough battle on the road against Navy, and pulled out a 31-21 win. Just two big tests remain on the schedule, and their opponent this week (Austin Peay) shouldn’t be difficult.
2. USF (7-0, LW: #2)
What was a 34-7 lead turned into an uncomfortable win at the end. It seemed as if the Bulls would coast to the finish, but Tulane mounted a comeback that fell short. Some thought that USF was putting in the second stringers, and that’s not a good idea when you’re only up 27 in the third quarter. Still the Bulls won and looked impressive up until that point. USF scored 30+ points for the 24th consecutive time, an NCAA record.
3. Memphis (6-1, LW: #3)
An absolute dogfight broke out at TDECU Stadium Thursday night, but it didn’t always look that way. Down 17-0 at halftime, Memphis found themselves in a hole that they couldn’t climb out. Whatever Mike Norvell said to his team in the locker room worked, and the Tigers roared back for a 42-38 win on the road. A few tough tests remain, but this team is in the driver’s seat in the AAC West, and has their eyes set on the AAC Championship Game. Could they be headed for a rematch against UCF, the team that gave them their only loss? Only time will tell.
4. Houston (4-3, LW: #5)
Yes, they have three losses, but we felt that the Cougars were still better than SMU and Navy based on wins. Houston’s wins have been more impressive than either of those two teams. They do have one loss that is bad, but losing to Texas Tech and Memphis isn’t terrible. Like we mentioned in the intro, there will be disagreements, and this might be one.
5. SMU (5-2, LW: #6)
Who is the Mustangs best win? Probably North Texas, though the Mean Green’s record is now 4-3. After that, it’s between Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas State, UConn, and Cincinnati. So not the greatest. We’re still waiting for this team to win a game against a contender in the conference. Their final four games will give them a chance. They survived last week’s game in overtime against Cincinnati, and have yet to prove they belong amongst the top teams.
6. Navy (5-2, LW: #4)
Two losses against two of the top teams isn’t something to be ashamed of, but they are in fact losses. Their opening win against FAU looks better after the Owls 69 point performance (Navy held them to just 19 points), but the other wins haven’t been telling. If Zach Abey is out for an extended period of time, that could spell trouble for the Midshipmen too.
7. Tulane (3-4, LW: #7)
We’re not quite sure what to make of their performance Saturday. Tulane was down 34-7 to USF, and were getting dominated in the second half. Clawing their way back into the game, a comeback fell short and the Green Wave lost 34-28. Willie Fritz’s team has now lost two conference games by a combined eight points, and they’re going to steal one of their next five games against a better conference team. At least, they’re due for one.
8. UConn (3-4, LW: #11)
This has to be the surprise of the season up to this point. UConn made Tulsa look terrible just one week after the Golden Hurricane pulled off an upset of their own. The Huskies held Tulsa to zero points into the fourth quarter before hanging on for the win. The excitement might be short-lived with Missouri, USF, and UCF up next. We’ve learn to expect the unexpected, but it doesn’t seem feasible for this team despite their recent success.
9. Cincinnati (2-6, LW: #8)
We’ve said it all year, we don’t know which Bearcats team we will get, but the good version can compete with anyone in the conference. SMU needed overtime to put away Cincinnati, and we saw a running game that had never been seen before for the home team. Luke Fickell’s team rushed for 249 yards, a season high, and had SMU reeling towards the end of the game. But a win wasn’t in the cards, and they find themselves one loss away from elimination from a bowl game.
10. Temple (3-5, LW: #10)
Heartbreaking. That’s really the only way to describe Temple’s loss to Army. A late fourth quarter pass from Kelvin Hopkins Jr. to Jermaine Adams tied the game with one second left in regulation, and a field goal by Blake Wilson gave the Black Knights the lead in overtime. Temple had a chip shot field goal to extend the game, and Aaron Boumerhi made his first attempt. Only problem was Jeff Monken called timeout before the snap. Boumerhi got another chance, but missed it wide left to end the game. What got lost in that was that Temple is in the midst of a quarterback battle as well, and the questions for this team keep piling up.
11. Tulsa (2-6, LW: #8)
You tell us what happened Saturday. We have no idea what to say.
12. ECU (2-6, LW: #12)
A win over another one win team is good, and the Pirates won by 17. BYU looked even worse than ECU, and the Cougars couldn’t score against the worst defense in the country.