It all comes down to Friday afternoon. Memphis already punched its ticket to the AAC Championship Game, and awaits its opponent. UCF and USF will battle it out this weekend for the chance to represent the East. The top half of this conference continues to fluctuate very little, while the bottom seems to flip weekly. That trend continues in this week’s power rankings.
UCF (10-0, LW: #1)
With all of the Scott Frost rumors floating around, it would be easy to understand why this team might be distracted. The Knights quickly put an end to that notion, and pulled away from Temple Saturday. Everyone knows what’s at stake this week, so there’s not much need to hype it up anymore.
Memphis (9-1, LW: #2)
A back-and-forth battle turned into a Memphis showcase. SMU never found an answer for the Tigers offense, and their own offense sputtered at inopportune times. Memphis clinched the AAC West, and are playing their best football at the right time of year.
USF (9-1, LW: #3)
Ignore the fact that they struggled to beat Tulsa. They won the game and were clearly peaking ahead to next week. The Bulls control their own destiny in the conference, and a win over UCF would put them in the conference championship game. A minor miracle may be needed, but at least they have a chance.
Navy (6-4, LW: #5)
Keeping things tight with Notre Dame was impressive, even if the Midshipmen couldn’t quite pull out a win. Going in, Navy’s defense was the biggest concern, but that group held Notre Dame to just 24 points and didn’t allow Josh Adams to run freely. That’s pretty much a win, and now they take on the team they just passed this week.
Houston (6-4, LW: #4)
Ugly. That’s the best way to describe the performance Saturday. The two field goals that Major Applewhite decided to pass up looked really nice after the game, and fans certainly weren’t happy with him. Houston had the lead late in the game, but the defense couldn’t stop Jonathan Banks or the Green Wave defense. Playcalling and decision making continue to be an issue for the Cougars, and that won’t sit easy with an athletic director that expects 8+ win seasons.
SMU (6-5, LW: #6)
Well, Mustangs, you tried. SMU was going score for score with Memphis, but a few stops by the Tigers defense ultimately made the task too tall. A lack of consistency defensively continues to doom this team, and Chad Morris needs to find a way to fix that. Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn combined for just 89 yards, and that’s not going to win many games.
Temple (5-6, LW: #7)
We expected the loss, but Temple still is in a great position for a bowl game. Up next is Tulsa, and the Golden Hurricane might be out of gas for their last game. Losing to UCF isn’t a bad thing (10 other teams feel your pain), but the Owls should win the next one. Frank Nutile didn’t have a great game, but can rebound this week.
Tulane (5-6, LW: #8)
If you’re a Green Wave fan, you all of a sudden have some hope. A daunting final two games suddenly became optimistic with the win over Houston. Just one more win stands between them and bowl eligibility. They will face an SMU team that has plenty of weapons offensively, but the Green Wave should also be able to score on a porous Mustangs defense. Jonathan Banks gave Houston’s defense fits, and his elusiveness proved to be a big factor this past week. Expect more of the same with a bowl game on the line.
ECU (3-8, LW: #12)
We promise to be less mean towards you from now on. And don’t expect to be at the bottom of the power rankings again.
Cincinnati (3-8, LW: #9)
Two weeks ago, this team was sitting at 3-6 with a good chance of making a bowl game. They lost those two games and now beating a UConn team that’s been below them all year seems difficult.
UConn (3-8, LW: #10)
AJ Dillon had 200 yards and two touchdowns for Boston College, who scored 39 points. 39. For Boston College. UConn was down 39-3 in the fourth quarter before scoring late.
Tulsa (2-9, LW: #11)
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Going from 10-3 to 2-9 has been a complete shock for almost everyone in this conference. Philip Montomery’s team kept it close against USF, but couldn’t take the lead. The silver lining (we guess) is the Montgomery will be coming back to hopefully turn this ship around next year.