Week 13: AAC Power Rankings

The season is winding down and Memphis, Cincinnati and UCF are all in the hunt for the AAC title. Who's looking like a champion?

1. Memphis (8-3, 6-1; LW: 1): Paxton Lynch and Brandon Hayes combined for over 465 total yards of offense and four touchdowns to win 31-20 over USF at home Saturday. Memphis was in control the entire game and a late USF touchdown closed the gap to 31-20. The Tigers have played five straight games against the bottom half of the conference, but will likely win the AAC as Memphis finishes this week against Connecticut at home.

2. Cincinnati (7-3, 5-1; LW: 2): After the Bearcats topped East Carolina 54-46 last week, they rolled over Connecticut 41-0 on the road. Gunner Kiel threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns, but the story was the Bearcats defense. The Bearcats forced three turnovers that led to 17 points. The Bearcats finish with another road game against the Temple Owls and will stake their claim to a share of the AAC this week.

3. UCF (7-3, 5-1; LW: 4): UCF completely dominated SMU in every aspect of their 53-7 win. The Knights forced five turnovers, didn’t commit a penalty and held the ball for over 40 minutes. SMU scored after being set up with good field position, but the Knights had an answer right away with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Michael Easton. The Knights are still in it for the conference title and make the short trip to Tampa before a crucial game against East Carolina next week.

4. East Carolina (7-3, 4-2; LW: 3): Justin Hardy broke the FBS record for career receptions on Saturday in a 34-6 win over Tulane. Shane Carden threw for 358 yards and had two total touchdowns as the Pirates got back on track after their loss to Cincinnati. ECU is on the outside look in for the AAC championship, but plays at Tulsa this week.

5. Houston (6-4, 4-2; LW: 5): Houston lad the game 14-0 over Tulsa before the Golden Hurricane battled back, but Houston never lost control of the game. The Cougars got 116 yards and four touchdowns from Kenneth Farrow to win 38-38 in a game the Cougars never trailed. Greg Ward Jr. was 17 of 22 for 225 yards passing, including a 17-yard TD pass to Keyarris Garrett to tie it at 21 in the third quarter. Houston heads to SMU this week before facing Cincinnati.

6. Temple (5-5, 3-3; LW: 6): Temple was off following their second straight loss and was given extra time to prepare for the red hot Cincinnati Bearcats. P.J. Walker will need one heck of a game to beat the Bearcats and hurt their chances to win the AAC. Temple has the chance to get to a bowl game with one more win. Whether it comes this week at home or on the road against Tulane in two weeks is another story.

7. South Florida (4-7, 3-4; LW: 7): USF faced a rolling Memphis team Saturday and while the Bulls controlled the ball for over 36 minutes and had nearly 400 yards of offense, the Bulls fell 31-20. Mike White threw for 244 yards, but couldn’t get the offense rolling and Steven Bench threw a touchdown on their final drive. Marlon Mack took a carry 75 yards to the house, but only amassed 27 yards on 15 other carries. The Bulls finish with

8. Tulsa (2-9, 2-5; LW: 8): Dane Evans threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns, but three interceptions hurt Tulsa badly in their 38-28 loss to Houston. The Tulsa defense gave up 471 yards to the Houston offense though and was gashed repeatedly on the ground. Tulsa hosts East Carolina this week.

9. Tulane (3-8, 2-5; LW: 9): Even with Tanner Lee’s 301 yards, the Green Wave couldn’t muster a touchdown on the day. Tulane only totaled 24 rushing yards in their 34-6 loss to ECU. The Green Wave has struggled mightily this season aside from a win on the road against Houston. Tulane is off before hosting Temple for their first senior day on-campus in a few decades.

10. Connecticut (2-8, 1-5; LW: 10): Connecticut was shut out at home for the first time since 1978 after losing 41-0 to Cincinnati. The Huskies had just 129 yards of offense and were 3 of 13 on third downs. The Huskies can ruin Memphis’ season this week if they can pull the upset at home.

11. SMU (0-10, 0-6; LW: 11): After being close to their first win of the season against USF, SMU dropped their road matchup against UCF 53-7. SMU managed 116 total yards of offense, four first downs and five turnovers. It was one of SMU’s ugliest losses of the season and the Mustangs couldn’t do anything right besides taking advantage of Deion Sanders, Jr’s good kick return to set up a touchdown. The Mustangs host Houston on Friday for senior day.

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