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AAC Power Rankings: Week 5

Two of the top three teams will face off this weekend, and we have a new cellar dweller.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Connecticut Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

UCF’s win over Maryland moved them up a spot, but they could take control of the top position with a win over Memphis this weekend. There were only a couple changes in the top six teams, but the bottom six certainly saw some fluctuation. Everyone now has a win, and there are still four undefeated teams in the conference. Memphis-UCF isn’t the only conference game this week, as everyone except Cincinnati and Tulane have a conference foe this weekend. This could result in more changes in the Power Rankings next week!

1. Memphis (3-0, LW: #1)

Another defensive struggle for the Tigers gives us cause for concern heading into this week’s matchup with UCF. The Knights can score at a blistering pace like Memphis can, but the Tigers don’t have the defense that UCF does. A shootout should be expected this weekend, but the real question will be if Memphis’ defense can provide any stops. They do have arguably the best offense in the conference, and UCF will have their hands full regardless of how Memphis’ defense performs.

2. USF (4-0, LW: #2)

Would it surprise you if I said the Bulls started slow? Leading Temple 20-7 might have seemed like a comfortable lead, but the first quarter was a problem for the Bulls once again. The Bulls have scored 163 points this year, but just 19 have come in the opening segments of their games this year. Their point differential in those first quarters is -6 compared to +100 in quarters 2-4. They shouldn’t lose in the next three weeks on paper, but a slow start could produce an upset.

3. UCF (2-0, LW: #4)

They only move up to third, but could easily take the top spot with a win this weekend. Scott Frost’s team is now outscoring opponents 99-27 through two games, and the Knights are making a bold statement early on this season. The aforementioned matchup with Memphis looms, and should be entertaining to watch. Quarterback McKenzie Milton appears to be taking a big step in his development, and the defense appears to be better than anticipated as well.

4. Houston (2-1, LW: #3)

Losing to Texas Tech is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Cougars’ performance left something to be desired. Actually, the defense was just fine, but the offense struggled mightily until it was too late. A quarterback battle will commence this week, and hopefully that means improvement at that position. Houston’s defense is still the best in the conference, so there isn’t a lot to panic about.

5. SMU (3-1, LW: #5)

The offense continues to prove it can score, even with the reduced production of their star. Courtland Sutton has been held to just 32 yards the last two weeks, but the Mustangs depth on offense continues to shine through while teams try to limit their star player. Sutton should start to see less pressure from defenses and his numbers should go up.

6. Navy (3-0, LW: #6)

Navy rushed for 569 yards against a solid Cincinnati defense, but also allowed Hayden Moore to pass for 381. We still have yet to see what Navy is really capable of, but we should find out in the next month. Tulsa, Air Force, Memphis and UCF are up next for the Midshipmen.

7. Tulane (2-2, LW: #10)

In Jonathan Banks we trust. And if not, in Jonathan Brantley we trust. Whichever Jonathan B. is playing quarterback for Tulane seems to be able to keep any game competitive. The Green Wave offense is already superior to last year’s offense, and that’s thanks to the quarterback play. It’s starting to look like a bowl game isn’t out of the question.

8. Cincinnati (2-2, LW: #8)

The offense finally had an explosive game, but the defense struggled. Not that we should have expected it but, if anyone side of the ball deserves to have a bad game, it would be the defense. 569 yards allowed on the ground is a tough pill to swallow for Luke Fickell, but he will have his team regrouped for a good test in Marshall this week.

9. Tulsa (1-3, LW: #7)

Well, at least the defense didn’t give up a ton of points. Tulsa still was outgained by New Mexico 446-286, and the offense finally was presented with some adversity. The Golden Hurricane couldn’t get the running game going outside of D’Angelo Brewer, and Chad President couldn’t get a passing game going. Teams are going to play run-first against this team, so President needs to develop if they want to be successful.

10. Temple (1-3, LW: #9)

Temple’s hoping for a better performance offensively this week, but will need to do so against the best defense in the conference in Houston. After only accumulating 85 yards and seven points against USF, the Owls have hit a low point early in the season. Six turnovers didn’t help either and, frankly, it might get worse this week.

11. ECU (1-3, LW: #12)

Beating the #11 team gets you out of the cellar. At least for now. The Pirates needed a monstrous day from quarterback Thomas Sirk and receiver Davon Grayson to hold off UConn, but got their first win of the season. Now, they need to figure out how to repeat that performance against USF.

12. UConn (1-2, LW: #11)

We honestly didn’t expect the Huskies to ever be this low, but here they are. Another defensive struggle hurt them early on, and the offense got going a little too late to avoid the upset.