1. East Carolina (6-2, 3-1; LW: 1): The Pirates were off following their first AAC loss to Temple, but now head to Cincinnati on Thursday to face the Bearcats, who can end the Pirates hopes of a conference title by beating once-ranked ECU. Shane Carden is still one of the best quarterbacks in the conference and if the weather is much better than it was at Temple, the Pirates should get back on track.
2. Memphis (6-3, 4-1; LW: 3): Memphis looked like it was in trouble against Temple, falling behind 10-0 before rallying to a 16-13 win on a field goal made as time expired. Paxton Lynch was once again efficient, throwing for 230 yards and a touchdown while completing 21-of-28 passes. Memphis was held by Temple to just 312 yards, but the Memphis defense did a great job holding Temple to 6-of-17 on third downs and forced two turnovers. Memphis heads to Tulane this weekend already bowl eligible after a three-win season last year.
3. UCF (5-3, 3-1; LW: 4): UCF was off this past week after their bad loss to Connecticut, but faces Tulsa in a Friday night matchup at home. The Golden Knights still have issues at quarterback and will have to find the remedy before they lose a second straight conference game.
4. Houston (5-4, 3-2; LW: 2): Talk about a bad loss at home to Tulane 31-24. Greg Ward Jr’s solid play ended, throwing three interceptions against the Green Wave. Houston had four total turnovers and didn’t have much of a ground game as the Cougars lost their first chance at bowl eligibility. While Ward completed 31-of-45 passes, Tanner Lee was just better than the Cougars’ starter. Houston is off before hosting Tulsa.
5. Temple (5-4, 3-3; LW: 5): Temple had a balanced attack, but was held to 298 yards and did turn the ball over twice in a back-and-forth loss to Memphis 16-13 at home. Kenneth Harper rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries for the Owls’ best offensive performance. Temple battled back to tie it with 2:46 left, but couldn’t stop Memphis from driving down for the game-winning score. Penn State hosts the Owls next week.
6. Cincinnati (5-3, 3-1; LW: 6): Cincinnati was idle this past week after beating Tulane. The Bearcats host East Carolina, but the big question is whether Munchie Legaux or Gunner Kiel will start at quarterback. Either way the Bearcats have won three straight, but against teams with a combined record of 6-20. They’ll have their hands full against the Pirates on Thursday.
7. Tulsa (2-7, 2-3; LW: 9): SMU talked about how they couldn’t figure out how Tulsa was 1-7 going into their game with the stats pointing to a much better team. The Mustangs found out that Tulsa can get a win as the Golden Hurricane beat SMU 38-28. Dane Evans threw for five touchdowns on the day against an SMU secondary that is downright bad. Tulsa has a road matchup on Friday against UCF, who was off last week.
8. South Florida (3-6, 2-3; LW: 7): The Bulls were off this week to prepare for their trip to Dallas to face SMU this weekend. Quinton Flowers will get the start for the Bulls, who are hoping to utilize his dual-threat ability to get the offense moving. Both the Bulls and the Mustangs have struggled moving the ball. In a primetime CBS Sports Network matchup, who can get some offensive production and win the battle between the two bottom-feeders.
9. Tulane (3-6, 2-3; LW: 10): Tanner Lee made the plays that the Green Wave needed to knock off Houston on the road 31-24. Lee threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns and were even up 31-17 at one point before Houston closed the gap late. With Lee making all the right plays, the Tulane defense stepped up, forcing four turnovers. The Green Wave has another shot to upset a team when Tulane hosts Memphis.
10. Connecticut (2-7, 1-4; LW: 8): Connecticut dropped their game against Army 35-21 after beating UCF last week. The game, played at Yankee Stadium, saw Army return an interception 99 yards for a touchdown to seal the deal. Chandler Whitmer was ineffective for the Huskies, but the Black Knights ran for over 300 yards on the Huskies, allowing them to control the game. Army got off the field on third downs while the Huskies had trouble stopping Army’s attack. The Huskies are off before hosting Cincinnati.
11. SMU (0-8, 0-4; LW: 11): SMU looked like they were going to shake their winless season with Matt Davis at quarterback, taking an early lead against Tulsa. SMU ended up falling 38-28. SMU allowed three unanswered touchdowns in the second and third quarters, making it tough for SMU to climb back into the game, but Davis put the team on his back, rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing for 212 yards and two touchdowns. SMU’s secondary still got torched by Dane Evans, something that has to get righted as they welcome USF into town.