1. Cincinnati (0-0)
Last Week: #1
Week 2: Still inactive
The Toledo Rockets should present a good challenge for Cincinnati as they open their season this Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium. Still, if they don't win comfortably, their time on top may be short. Toledo has the advantage of playing in their third game of the season and the experience of facing one of the best teams int he country in Missouri. This team has the talent and coaching to earn the New Year's Day bowl bid, but they need to prove it on the field.
2. UCF (0-1)
Last Week: #2
Week 2: inactive
The UCF Knights face a serious test this weekend against Missouri. Though after losing a close one to Penn State on opening weekend, the Knights will have the benefit of two full weeks to game plan for their opponent. This team sprung to life after switching to quarterback Justin Holman and if they can play that way for four quarters, this weekend could produce a statement win for the American.
Last Week: #3
Week 2: L 23-33 at South Carolina
Shane Carden and the ECU Pirates gave South Carolina everything they could handle on Saturday, but fell short in the upset bid. It was still a very impressive performance by Ruffin McNeill's team against the No. 21 Gamecocks, who held a 7-point lead through most of the fourth quarter before putting the game out of reach with a late field goal.
This week ECU faces another very tough test, on the road for the second straight week, against Virginia Tech. The Hokies were in mid-season form last week, beating Ohio State in Columbus, 35-21. No matter what happens, the Pirates will be battle-tested going into the AAC slate.
4. Temple (1-1)
Last Week: #4
Week 2: L 24-31 vs. Navy
Temple probably doesn't deserve to be fourth after losing to Navy, but this week everyone in the AAC either lost or beat an FCS opponent. They still have a win over Vanderbilt, and Navy is pretty good so I chose to give the Owls the benefit of the doubt and keep them at four. They are off this week and then have FCS Delaware State on the schedule before opening up conference play at UConn.
5. Memphis (1-1)
Last Week: #11
Week 2: L 35-42 at UCLA
Memphis becomes the most recent rags to riches power rankings story, moving up all the up from last to fifth by losing!
After beating Austin Peay 62-0 in week one, they traveled to No. 11 UCLA and took it to the wire, falling just short. An interception returned by the Tigers for a touchdown tied it in the fourth quarter but the Bruins answered back with a touchdown of their own and held on for the win. Most expected Memphis to get crushed going into the game, so kudos to them.
6. Houston (1-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 2: W 47-0 vs. Grambling State
The Cougars shut out Grambling State, and hopefully have re-gained some mojo as they head to Provo to face a BYU team that is firing on all cylinders after beating UConn and then Texas on the road. They need a strong showing this week otherwise it will be tough to command respect given the events of opening weekend.
7. USF (1-1)
Last Week: 4
Week 2: L 23-33 vs. Maryland
South Florida kept it close against Maryland, that's worth something right? Maybe. Last week's performance was another affront to organized football which was only kept close by Maryland's sporadic incompetence. The Terrapins committed six (6!!!) turnovers on Saturday but still found a way to win. For shame.
8. Tulsa (1-1)
Last Week: #6
Week 2: L 52-7 vs. Oklahoma
The Golden Hurricane were crushed by Oklahoma but they do have the week one win against an okay Tulane team. That makes them good enough for eighth in the conference.
9. Tulane (0-2)
Last Week: #7
Week 2: L 21-38 vs. Georgia Tech
The Green Wave opened a new on-campus stadium by hosting Georgia Tech and keeping it relatively close against the mid-tier AAC opponent. They even held a lead after the first quarter! In reality it was a disappointing performance for the Green Wave where they ended up benching quarterback Tanner Lee, who looked promising in the season opener. They will have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend when they host SE Louisiana.
Last Week: #10
Week 2: W 19-16 vs Stony Brook
The Huskies hold down the penultimate slot after scraping by Stony Brook on Saturday. To be fair, they were playing with backup quarterback Chandler Whitmer so cut them some slack. Well, actually hold that thought because starter Casey Cochran is being forced to quit football due to concussions.
Chandler Whitmer was the architect of last year's 0-4 start, hopefully he's improved under the new regime or Husky fans are staring down another rough season.
11. SMU (0-2)
Last Week: #9
Week 2: L 6-42 at North Texas
So far the Mustangs have gotten destroyed by both Baylor (excusable) and North Texas (not at all) by a combined score of 88-6. The Mean Green are pretty good, but to lose that badly is unacceptable. Head Coach June Jones is
on the hot seat out and the team stares down a rough patch of schedule likely to have them at 0-6 going into a home game against Memphis. This could be a long season for Mustang fans.