Week 12: AAC Power Rankings

Billy breaks down the AAC and announces his newest top team in the poll! Who grabbed the top spot?

1. Memphis (7-3, 5-1; LW: 2): Memphis thumped Tulane 38-7 to avoid a second straight upset win by the Green Wave over an AAC foe. Memphis wasn’t overly impressive offensively, but forced five turnovers including two interceptions returned for touchdowns. If Paxton Lynch can continue to play turnover-free, that’ll help Memphis snatch the AAC title. The Tigers have a solid chance to win out, with games against USF and Connecticut this week and next.

2. Cincinnati (6-3, 4-1; LW: 6): Gunner Kiel played every snap on offense and helped Cincinnati win a 54-48 shootout against East Carolina. Kiel completed 29 of 44 passes for a career-high 436 yards and four touchdowns, connecting on scoring strikes of 55, 17, 66 and 36 yards. Kiel’s final drive set up the game winning kick with 15 seconds left. The Bearcats have a bye, but don’t hold the tiebreaker over Memphis so will need some help to win the conference.

3. East Carolina (6-3, 3-2; LW: 1): The loss to Cincinnati was closer than people thought. East Carolina gave up the game-winning kick with 15 seconds left before the Bearcats returned a fumbled lateral on the final play for a touchdown. Shane Carden was 35 of 61 for 418 yards and two touchdowns, but the defense couldn’t stop Kiel and the Bearcats offense. The Pirates are all, but out of the race for the conference title and face Tulane after a bye this week.

4. UCF (6-3, 4-1; LW: 3): The Knights looked dominant handling Tulsa 31-7. The UCF secondary completely shut down the Tulsa passing attack, holding it to 72 yards and 201 total yards. Justin Holman also had one of his best games, completing 16 of 27 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. It was the dominant win that UCF was missing this year. UCF hosts SMU this weekend.

5. Houston (5-4, 3-2; LW: 4): Houston desperately needed a bye this week after a tough loss to Tulane. Greg Ward, Jr. took a big step back for the Cougars, but can get some confidence back against Tulsa, who got smacked by UCF this week before heading to SMU next week.

6. Temple (5-4, 3-3; LW: 5): Temple went to Penn State this past week and kept it close for the majority of the game before the Nittany Lions scored the final ten points of the game. Both teams quarterbacks didn’t play well, but P.J. Walker threw four interceptions on the day and that ultimately killed the Owls. Temple has a bye before hosting Cincinnati.

7. South Florida (4-6, 3-3; LW: 8): SMU gave USF all that it could handle, but Mike White came into the game in relief of Quinton Flowers and led the Bulls to two touchdown drives late in the fourth quarter to grab the 14-13 win. Andre Davis caught the game winner and Marlon Mack tacked on almost 80 yards on the ground. The USF defense rose to the challenge and allowed the Bulls to go on their 21-play, game-winning drive. The Bulls got Memphis this week.

8. Tulsa (2-8, 2-4; LW: 7): Tulsa got beat up on by the UCF Knights this weekend 31-7 as Dane Evans had one of his worst games, being held to 72 yards passing. Evans also threw three interceptions in the game and although Tulsa scored late in the second quarter to make it 17-7 at the half, the outcome wasn’t really in question. Tulsa gets Houston this weekend.

9. Tulane (3-7, 2-4; LW: 9): Tulane got blown out of the water in their first homecoming on-campus in four decades as Memphis won 38-7. Tanner Lee was picked off three times, two for touchdowns and botched field goals also kept Tulane off the board until the fourth quarter. The Green Wave doesn’t get any help this weekend as they face East Carolina.

10. Connecticut (2-7, 1-4; LW: 10): Connecticut has been off since a 35-21 loss to Army on the road. The Huskies needed the rest as the red hot Cincinnati Bearcats come to town smelling the blood in the water that could be their AAC championship if Memphis slips up. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer will have to have his best game as a Huskie to be able to pull the upset.

11. SMU (0-9, 0-5; LW: 11): SMU fans were treated to more heartbreak by the USF Bulls, losing 14-13 with four seconds left. A pushoff or no-pushoff by Andre Davis, SMU shouldn’t have let the Bulls into the game as the Mustangs led 14-0 with about eight minutes to go. SMU’s defense forced turnovers and the team just ended up pressing too much and dropping their 12th straight game overall. The Mustangs head to UCF this weekend.

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