Week 4: AAC Power Rankings

Billy breaks down the AAC and where all the football teams stack up! Has SMU climbed out of the cellar?

1. East Carolina (3-1, 0-0; LW: 2): Shane Carden is slowly clawing his way into the Heisman conversation. It was ECU’s second straight win over a top 25 opponent. The Pirates set a school and conference record with 789 total yards as they beat North Carolina 70-41. Carden’s six total touchdowns highlighted the day and ECU entered the top 25 after the win. They’ll have two weeks to prepare for an SMU defense that just got torched by another high-powered offense.

2. Cincinnati (2-0, 0-0; LW: 1):Gunner Kiel is a touchdown machine, but even Cincinnati struggled against lowly Miami (OH), who has now lost 20 straight games. Cincy did beat Miami 31-24 behind Kiel’s four touchdowns, but the transfer from Notre Dame also threw two interceptions. After falling behind 14-7 early in the second quarter, the Bearcats scored 17 unanswered points to jump ahead. It was a battle, but the Bearcats forced three turnovers that kept Miami from scoring more. Even with the turnovers, the Bearcats gave up 364 yards, something they’ll have to fix before taking on Ohio State on the road this week.

3. Memphis (2-1, 0-0; LW: 4): Memphis gave UCLA a game a few weeks back before falling and were able to get the W against Middle Tennessee this past weekend. Paxton Lynch had a solid day, throwing for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Memphis controlled the line of scrimmage, rushing for 261 yards to 88. That’s the formula the Tigers will need to beat Ole Miss this weekend.

4. Houston (2-2, 0-0; LW: 5): Houston fans are not happy with the way their season has started, going 2-2. A big 47-14 win over UNLV helped quiet some of those complaints going into a bye week. After UNLV scored first, Houston scored 30 unanswered points to route the Running Rebels out of the Cougars’ new stadium. John O’Korn was still inconsistent, throwing for 135 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions though. The defense helped out, forcing three turnovers. They’re off for two weeks before hosting UCF.

5. UCF (1-2, 0-0; LW: 3): The Golden Knights needed to regroup after starting 0-2. They did that with a 41-7 win over Bethune-Cookman this past weekend. Now they’ll have two weeks before beginning AAC play at Houston. Losing Blake Bortles was huge, but no one realized how huge. The Knights have got to have better quarterback play than they did in their first two games. Justin Holman appears to be the starter for now.

6. Temple (2-1, 0-0; LW: 6): Temple has appeared to turn a corner this season heading into conference play against Connecticut. The Owls are 2-1 on the year with wins over Vanderbilt and now a thumping of Deleware State. P.J. Walker has to be in the conversation for newcomer of the year if he can improve some more. This Owls team will go as far as he takes them and even though he threw two interceptions against Deleware State, there's no doubt he's taken some good steps forward.

7. Tulsa (1-2, 1-0; LW: 8): The state of Tulsa football is not good after their 50-21 loss to Florida Atlantic two weeks ago. The Golden Hurricane host Texas State this weekend hoping to rebound, but will need to step up after allowing nearly eight yards per play in their first three games. Dane Evans can't turn the ball over like he has, throwing six touchdowns and six interceptions on the season.

8. Tulane (1-3, 0-1; LW: 9): After a tough double overtime loss to Tulsa to open the season, Tulane hasn't been competitive minus an easy win over Southeastern Louisiana. The latest loss for the Green Wave was to Duke this weekend 47-13. Tanner Lee threw three interceptions including two that were returned for touchdowns. Tulane isn't very good so that can't happen. 21 of the Blue Devil's 47 points were scored off of five turnovers. Tulane was also a mess on special teams, giving Duke a safety after their punter stepped out of the back of the endzone. There was another poor snap that was fumbled and a missed extra point. Tulane faces former AAC member Rutgers this weekend.

9. South Florida (2-2, 1-0; LW: 7): This team doesn't really have an identity on offense and Mike White has to make some big strides for the Bulls to find one. White got USF off to a good start against UConn, but couldn't get much done in the final three quarters, scoring just a field goal. The defense held UConn to under 150 yards in a driving rainstorm to win 17-14. Marlon Mack needs to be leaned on more to carry the offense if USF is going to improve this season. The Bulls head to Wisconsin this weekend to face the #19 ranked Badgers.

10. Connecticut (1-3, 0-1; LW: 10): The UConn-USF could not have been a more boring affair offensively. In a rain-filled game in South Florida, Byron Jones returned an interception 70 yards at the end of the first half to shift the momentum, but it was not enough. Connecticut rallied late, scoring in the last two minutes to bring it within a field goal, but UConn fell. You can see improvement, but not enough to feel good about Bob Diaco's team turning it around this year.

11. SMU (0-3, 0-0; LW: 11): SMU got blown out in their home opener against Texas A&M 58-6. In Tom Mason's first game as interim coach, the team played with more passion even though the result was still more of the same. ]Garrett Krstich has now thrown his name into the hat at quarterback after replacing Kolney Cassel in the game. SMU has to settle on a quarterback and live and die by him if they're going to ever develop a rhythm. SMU can avoid an 0-4 start by upsetting TCU this weekend in Ford in the annual rivalry game.

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