With the regular season behind us, we now turn our attention to the postseason. Seven teams are eligible to participate (though and eighth might argue they belong too). For now, it’s time to focus on the AAC Championship, and the top two teams in our latest Power Rankings will battle it out for a trip the a New Year’s Six bowl game.
1. UCF (11-0, LW: #1)
Games simply don’t get much better than Saturday’s War on I-4. The Knights were in a dog fight, but found a way to come out with a win. Will that emotional win take a toll on the team? And will the Scott Frost rumors add to the distractions? We will find out soon enough. For now, the Knights are playing great football, and they’re going to be tough to beat.
2. Memphis (10-1, LW: #2)
Let’s try this. Close and open your eyes as quickly as you can. Boom. Memphis is up 49-0. The Tigers obliterated ECU Saturday, and are playing their best football at the right time. The AAC Championship, and revenge, are on up for grabs this weekend.
3. USF (9-2, LW: #3)
What an effort we witnessed from the Bulls this weekend. Even with every UCF score, you never got the feeling that the Bulls were out of the game. Quinton Flowers had the best game of his career, but it wasn’t enough. USF now focuses on their bowl game, and hopefully we can see Flowers end his career on another extremely high note.
4. Houston (7-4, LW: #5)
Behind Ed Oliver, the Cougars defense shut down Navy’s triple option attack in the second half. After a confusing loss to Tulane, Houston left no doubt this time around.
5. Navy (6-5, LW: #4)
Zach Abey couldn’t find much room in the second half against Houston to run, and that led to the 24-14 loss. Navy now turns its attention to Army, where they will have two weeks to prepare and recover.
6. SMU (7-5, LW: #6)
If you’re a Mustangs fan, Jonathan Banks was down short of the goal line. One of the weekend’s biggest controversies came at a crucial moment in the game. SMU fans will continue to say Banks was down short, but many other fans (including Tulane’s) think that Banks crossed the goal line. Either way, SMU was bowl eligible, so it doesn’t matter too much on their end.
7. Temple (6-6, LW: #7)
The Owls completed their comeback to become bowl eligible with their win over Tulsa, 43-22. Frank Nutile continues to be the answer that Temple’s desperately needed, passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns. With how the season was going, six wins seemed so far-fetched, but the Owls pulled it off.
8. Tulane (5-7, LW: #8)
We won’t take sides on the Jonathan Banks debate, but Green Wave fans will be mad regardless. Banks came inches away from scoring, and replay didn’t help him out either. You could make the argument that he was in the endzone, but replay didn’t show a clear shot to overturn the call. A furious comeback by Tulane falls short not only in this game, but in their quest to become bowl eligible.
9. Cincinnati (4-8, LW: #10)
Bearcats fans are thankful that UConn didn’t practice enough composure in big moments. An unsportsmanlike penalty forced the Huskies to kick a long extra point instead of going for two late to win the game. The kick went wide left, and left Cincinnati with four wins instead of three. A disappointing season comes to an end, but at least it ended on a somewhat good note.
10. Tulsa (2-10, LW: #12)
What’s scary is this team could easily be 0-12, but could also be 6-6. If only their defense ever got going.
11. ECU (3-9, LW: #9)
ECU was down by seven touchdowns quicker than many people hit the couches after eating Thanksgiving dinner two days prior. It didn’t help that the offense couldn’t do anything, and Gardner Minshew threw three picks before figuring out his players weren’t wearing black.
12. UConn (3-9, LW: #11)