There wasn’t much change this week. Favored teams won, and a ranked matchup didn’t shake up the rankings at all. It’s still a crowded race for the two conference championship spots, and half of the teams have a legitimate chance of making it to the game. One team has goals outside of the conference as well.
1. Cincinnati (4-0)
Cincinnati is demanding national attention with their play defensively, and it seems they’re a passing attack away from being considered a legitimate playoff contender. They faced a tough, ranked opponent in SMU this weekend, and held the Mustangs explosive offense in check in their 42-13 win.
2. SMU (5-1)
No shame in losing to Cincinnati, hence why the Mustangs don’t drop a spot. Yes, the offense struggled to move the ball against the Bearcats, but the defense couldn’t find a way to make Desmond Ridder beat them with his arm. I’d be willing to see this as a rematch, but I don’t really know if I’d expect a different result at this point.
3. Tulsa (2-1)
Maybe the most dangerous team to overthrow one of the favorites, Tulsa’s picking up steam despite having such long breaks between games. Imagine what they’ll do if they play a few in a row. Zaven Collins continues to be a monster on the defensive side of the ball, and Philip Montgomery’s offense appears to have found balance. Not many teams want to see Tulsa on their schedule, and for good reason.
4. Memphis (3-1)
It wasn’t pretty, but Memphis avoided a hangover loss to Temple this weekend. Calvin Austin was a stud, Brady White was poised as usual, and the Tigers improved to 3-1 on the year. This remains a dangerous team for the conference title, and it seems like they’re gaining more confidence offensively now that they know who their playmakers will be on a weekly basis.
5. Houston (2-1)
If there’s only one thing we can say about this game, it’s that the Houston defense came to play. Which is not something we could say about that group for the last couple years. The Cougars kept up the energy they’ve displayed through the first two games, and weren’t afraid to throw their weight around against a Navy triple option attack. Marquez Stevenson went off after a rough performance against BYU, and the Houston offense woke up in the second half.
6. UCF (3-2)
It’s safe to say the Knights had some frustrations to take out, as it looked like they were ready to score 100 on Tulane. Only problem is they forgot how to make stops. Dillon Gabriel continued his dominance with 422 yards and five touchdowns passing, but the Knights defense didn’t give him much of a cushion. Tulane pulled within 17 points in the fourth quarter before running out of time, but the defense remains a concern going forward.
7. Navy (3-3)
The Midshipmen were thinking they might have another upset of Houston at home on their hands, but the Cougars finally woke up to pull away in the second half. Navy was forced to pass most of the second half, throwing for 206 yards to just 166 on the ground.
8. Temple (1-2)
After stunning Memphis last year, it looked like the Owls might do it two years in a row. Until Calvin Austin III decided he had enough of the upset bid. Temple quarterback Anthony Russo threw the ball 63 times Saturday for 387 yards and four touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to take down the Tigers.
9. Tulane (2-4)
Honestly, no one wanted to see UCF the week after they lost a game, and it just happened to be Tulane who got in their way this week. We will say that Michael Pratt is proving why he’ll be fun to watch in the Tulane offense for a while, even if he’s not quite on Dillon Gabriel’s level.
10. USF (1-4)
The Bulls were competitive against Tulsa, but couldn’t compete for four quarters. USF just simply couldn’t handle everything the Golden Hurricane sent their way, but they were within eight points halfway through the third quarter.
11. ECU (1-3)
No game for the Pirates this week, so it’s tough to lose when you don’t play. Up next is Tulsa, and it’s not going to be easy. This team has a long ways to go to be decent, and the Golden Hurricane might break their confidence.