1. East Carolina (4-1, 1-0; LW: 1): Carden’s hot streak continued, lighting up the SMU defense for the Pirates’ first AAC win. Carden threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns, with three TDs going to Justin Hardy. The ECU defense didn’t do the team any favors though, surrendering almost 390 yards and 25 first downs to the Mustangs. The 41-point favorites looked human at times on offense, but with SMU’s defense allowing the Pirates to score when they wanted, the game got close, but the outcome was never in question. The Pirates head down to Tampa to face the USF Bulls this week.
2. UCF (2-2, 1-0; LW: 5): UCF extended its American Athletic Conference winning streak to nine games and its regular-season winning streak in conference matchups to 10 games with a 17-12 win at Houston. The Knights registered five sacks and forced three turnovers, including a forced fumble by S Brandon Alexander inside the 1-yard line in the final minute as Houston was driving for the go-ahead points. In a tight defensive battle, the UCF Knights made the play of the game as Greg Ward, Jr. dived for the pylon, but had the ball knocked out. The Knights have a Thursday night matchup with BYU this week at home.
3. Memphis (3-2, 1-0; LW: 6): Not only did Memphis go into Cincinnati and beat the Bearcats, the Tigers demolished them 41-14. Paxton Lynch threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns and added two more on the ground. The Tigers offense piled up 610 yards and held the ball for over 40 minutes. The Tigers forced Gunner Kiel to the sideline with a rib injury and Munchie Legeaux didn’t fare any better. The Tigers now host Houston on Saturday who are looking to rebound from their loss to UCF.
4. Houston (2-3, 0-1; LW: 3): Houston was ever so close to beating the defending Fiesta Bowl champs at home, but a fumble at the half-yard line by Greg Ward, Jr. allowed UCF to hold on for the win. Ward played well after replacing John O’Korn in the game, adding an extra element with his scrambling. In a game that didn’t see much offense, UCF was able to put the ball in the endzone instead of settling for field goals, something Houston has to fix. This week, the Cougars head to Memphis with a quarterback controversy on their hands.
5. Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1; LW: 2): After scoring first, the Bearcats scored 27 unanswered points to put the game completely out of reach. The Bearcats defense allowed 610 yards and the Cincy offense couldn’t match that production. The Bearcats were just 3-12 on third down and without Kiel, the Bearcats couldn’t get anything going. Cincy heads down to Miami to pay the Hurricanes a visit.
6. Temple (3-1, 1-0; LW: 4): Temple was idle this past weekend, but host Tulsa this weekend with hopes of improving on their impressive start to the season. P.J. Walker’s continued development will be key to this game as Tulsa has some talent, but is just 1-3 on the year.
7. South Florida (2-3, 1-0; LW: 7): With a week off, USF spent a lot of their time trying to fix an offense that has been struggling to score most of the year. They’ll have to put up some points this week as the Bulls head to East Carolina to face the Pirates in a primetime matchup.
8. Tulane (1-4, 0-1; LW: 8): Most of the bottom half of the AAC was off this weekend including Tulane, who have been blown out in consecutive weeks so the bye week couldn’t come at a better time. With the 1-4 Huskies coming into town, Tulane looks to get their first AAC win of the season.
9. Tulsa (1-3, 1-0; LW: 9): The Golden Hurricane was blown out in another disappointing loss this weekend to Colorado State. Since beating Tulane in the first game of their season, Tulsa has lost four in a row and is allowing 35 points a game this season. The offense isn’t doing much better, averaging just over 16 points a game. Tulsa and Temple kick off at 11 a.m. from Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.a
10. Connecticut (1-4 0-2; LW: 10): The Huskies were also off this weekend and head to Tulane looking for their first AAC win of the season. The Huskies rank 125th in the country in scoring and can’t seem to get anything going. The Huskies were close to beating USF three weeks ago, but can the Huskies offense put together a game to beat the Green Wave? That remains to be seen.
11. SMU (0-5, 0-1; LW: 11): SMU QB Garrett Krstich threw for 339 yards and two TDs in his second career start in the loss to East Carolina. Krstich’s second start was a big improvement from the TCU one and has to give SMU fans hope that the Mustangs can move the ball in conference play. The problem is the SMU defense, who even with the offense holding the ball for over 31 minutes, the team couldn’t make key stops. The secondary had no answer for the combination of Carden to Hardy and the slow start ultimately is what beat the Mustangs. SMU is off this week, but will play Cincinnati at home in two weeks.