We told you before the year that things would be crowded in the AAC, and that remains true. UCF remains the top dog after dominating Stanford, but Temple and Cincinnati will test them in the East. In the West, it’s anyone’s to take. Memphis is the leader of the group but SMU and Tulane are right behind them with Navy, Houston and Tulsa as the unknowns. It’s too early to tell, but we’re excited to see how things play out.
1. UCF (3-0)
The Knights absolutely took it to Stanford on Saturday, and it wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. UCF dominated from beginning to end in the 45-27 win against the Cardinal, and they found their quarterback in the process. Dillon Gabriel emerged as the starting quarterback with a phenomenal performance, the the conference remains the Knights to lose.
2. Memphis (3-0)
Kenneth Gainwell’s production in Patrick Taylor Jr’s absence shows how well Mike Norvell’s staff has done in recruiting. He rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers 42-6 win over South Alabama. Memphis gets a week off before looking to avenge last year’s disappointing loss against Navy.
3. Tulane (2-1)
Tulane dominated Missouri State by a score of 58-6, and now prepares for the Houston Cougars in Week 4.
4. Temple (2-0)
What a roller coaster ride Saturday’s game was against Maryland. Temple stunned the Terps at home with a 20-17 win despite horrendous special teams play. The Owls defense came up big multiple times in the game, and Anthony Russo and the offense made enough plays to win.
5. Cincinnati (2-1)
After a frustrating loss to Ohio State, Cincinnati left no doubt about their win over Miami (OH). Running back Michael Warren bounced back in a big way with 113 yards and three touchdowns rushing against the Redhawks. Cincinnati now gets two weeks before they face Marshall and then jump into conference play.
6. SMU (3-0)
This offense continues to be a problem for opposing defenses. Despite not passing for over 300 yards, the Mustangs rushed for 390. TJ McDaniel, Xavier Jones, and Ke’Mon Freeman combined for 334 of those yards, including four touchdowns. McDaniel’s breakout performance gives this offense another weapon, and another threat for defensive coordinators to worry about when they face SMU.
7. Navy (2-0)
Malcolm Perry is back, and scarier than ever. He rushed for 156 yards and passed for 151 more to go with his six total touchdowns. ECU never had a chance in the Midshipmen’s 42-10 win over the PIrates.
8. Houston (1-2)
The start looked good, but the finish didn’t. Houston jumped out to a lead, but stumbled towards the finish line in their 31-24 loss to Washington State. Fans became frustrated with the offense in the second half, but this is just a part of the process. There were always going to be growing pains, but better days are ahead.
9. Tulsa (1-2)
Oklahoma State found a way to pull ahead of Tulsa for good, but the Golden Hurricane gave the Cowboys a scare. Despite Chuba Hubbards 200 yards rushing in the first half, Tulsa went into halftime with a 21-20 lead. They wouldn’t score the rest of the game, however, and lost 40-21.
10. USF (1-2)
Was the quarterback the problem? Bulls fans might argue that after watching Jordan McCloud thrive on Saturday. Of course, it was also against an FCS team, so let’s not overreact too much. USF’s offense finally succeeded in their 55-16 win against South Carolina State and now get two weeks to prepare for their first conference game against SMU.
11. ECU (1-2)
So much for the Pirates shocking people. ECU fell behind early against Navy, and dug a hole they couldn’t climb out in the 42-10 loss.
12. UConn (1-1)
Fact: it’s impossible to lose a game when you don’t play one. UConn faces Indiana this week.