1. Memphis Tigers (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 1)Last week: beat Missouri State 63-7
Even though it was Missouri State, Memphis absolutely crushed them in their season opener. Roderick Proctor was named special teams player of the year after adding a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown. He also had three receptions for 51 yards. After an easy win that featured over 300 yards on the ground from the Tigers while the defense held the Bears to 18 yards. A road matchup against Kansas looms this Saturday with the Jayhawks coming off a loss against FCS South Dakota State at home.
This week: at Kansas on Sept. 12 at 7 pm.
2. Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 2)Last week: beat Alabama A&M 52-10
With over 600 yards of offense, the Bearcats cruised by Alabama A&M in their season opener. Gunner Kiel had over 200 yards through the air while Tion Green ran for 127 yards and a touchdown. It was only 7-7 after the first quarter before Cincinnati exploded for 45 unanswered points. Cincinnati did have two turnovers, but otherwise it was a pretty easy blowout win before their big matchup against Temple Saturday night.
This week: vs. Temple on Sept. 12 at 7 pm.
3. Temple Owls (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 5)Last week: beat Penn State 27-10
Temple gave the AAC a big win over a Penn State team that couldn’t protect the quarterback for one second it seemed Saturday. The Owls sacked Christian Hackenberg 10 times and held the Nittany Lions to 180 yards. Jahan Thomas rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns to control the clock and the game. It was Temple’s first win over Penn State since 1941 that saw P.J. Walker score the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. The home crowd of 69,176 had a lot to cheer about as the Owls scored 27 unanswered points against Penn State and gave them a huge momentum boost going into a key AAC matchup that could preview the title game.
This week: at Cincinnati on Sept. 12 at 7 pm.
4. Houston Cougars (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 6)Last week: beat Tennessee Tech 52-24
Houston kicked off the Tom Herman era with Greg Ward Jr. accounting for 382 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. Ward rushed for over 100 yards, but more importantly, completed 21-of-27 passes on the day. The Cougars rushed for over 266 yards on the day and Demarcus Ayers picked up 121 yards on 10 receptions. The Cougars did give up 312 yards passing on the day, but limited Tennessee Tech to 29 yards on the ground. Houston has a big measuring stick against Louisville this week, that’s coming off a loss against Auburn.
This week: at Louisville on Sept. 12 at noon.
5. Navy (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 4)Last week: beat Colgate 48-10
With 371 rushing yards, Navy’s triple option attack is already rolling. It doesn’t matter if it was against Colgate, Navy’s offense is getting some early season rest with an open week and time to correct minor things like their 3-9 third down conversion rate or nearly 200 yards passing given up. After their open week, the Midshipmen face East Carolina.
This week: OFF
6. SMU Mustangs (0-1, AAC: N/A; LW: 9)Last week: lost to Baylor 56-21.
The final score last week against Baylor is a little deceiving as SMU stayed within a touchdown of Baylor until late in the third quarter before allowing 28 second half points. SMU started about as well as they could before a couple mental errors, tackling and depth made the difference. It was very encouraging to see the offensive line progress that much and actually hold blocks against the Bears that allowed Davis to make his reads or escape. Against North Texas and a retooled defense, some of those same opportunities should be there. It’s on SMU’s defense to limit Andrew McNulty in the passing game.
This week: vs. North Texas on Sept. 12 at 6 pm.
7. South Florida Bulls (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 10)Last week: beat Florida A&M 51-3
The Bulls came out rolling against Florida A&M with 556 yards of offense and Quentin Flowers adding three total touchdowns and 141 yards passing. Flowers eventually gave way to backup Steven Bench, who also had success, but it was Marlon Mack who led the way with 131 yards and a touchdown. USF scored its most points since 2011. That’s a good sign for the Bulls even if it’s against Florida A&M because it gives the offense, which has struggled, a much needed confidence boost going into a tough Florida State environment.
This week: at Florida State on Sept. 12 at 10:30 am.
8. UCF Knights (0-1, AAC: N/A; LW: 3)Last week: lost to Florida International 15-14
Wow. What a brutal start to the year for the Knights. It couldn’t have gone worse for UCF to lose because of a missed field goal in the final minute. FIU blocked the attempt and ended the game. There wasn’t a lot of offensive consistency for the Knights as they had plenty of 3-and-outs. Justin Holman threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns, but the running game for UCF was bottled up to just 46 total yards. UCF was to get more balance and finish drives if it’s going to upset Stanford on the road this week.
This week: at Stanford on Sept. 12 at 9:30 pm.
9. East Carolina Pirates (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 7)Last week: beat Towson 28-20
East Carolina eeked out a win over Towson with a 154-yard, four-touchdown effort from running back Chris Hairston. With East Carolina already on its second quarterback this year in Blake Kemp, a good running attack will be key especially heading into the Swamp on Saturday. Kemp didn’t have a bad day either as he went 29-of-37 for 235 yards. It’s ECU’s defense that has to step up after giving up over 400 yards of offense. This game shouldn’t have been as close as it was, but it could be growing pains for a new quarterback and coaching changes.
This week: at Florida on Sept. 12 at 6 pm.
10. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-0, AAC: N/A; 8)Last week: beat Florida Atlantic 47-44
Philip Montgomery’s offense had a good first game on the job with over 600 yards and Zach Langer running for three touchdowns, but defensively is another story. It was an overtime winner for the Golden Hurricane as Tulsa rallied in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Dane Evans had a huge day with over 400 yards passing - 193 of which went to Keevan Lucas. Tulsa’s defense gave up 563 yards of total offense to FAU even with holding them to 4-of-17 on third downs. Tulsa also had four turnovers in the game and lost the time of possession battle 37:01 to 22:59. Lots to work on for Tulsa going into this week.
This week: at New Mexico on Sept. 12 at 7 pm.
11. Tulane Green Wave (0-1, AAC: N/A; LW: 11)Last week: lost to Duke 37-7
Tulane got smoked at home against Duke. That’s not exactly surprising, but with some higher expectations offensively Tulane, Tanner Lee and company mustered just one touchdown in the fourth quarter. Duke held the Green Wave to 25 rushing yards while piling on 530 yards of total offense. Tulane’s defense did force two turnovers, held for three field goals and forced a turnover on downs. It was more of a methodical win for Duke, but a lack of any offensive help for the Green Wave allowed Duke to pound out a win.
This week: at Georgia Tech on Sept. 12 at 2:30 pm.
12. Connecticut Huskies (1-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 12)Last week: beat Villanova 20-15
UConn beat FCS Villanova thanks to two touchdown passes from Bryant Shirreffs, but continued to struggle like last year. Villanova closed the game to 20-15 with 1:45 to go in the fourth, but UConn was able to hold on. In a game that didn’t exactly light the world on fire, UConn made enough plays to win, but didn’t get much help in the running game. After squeaking out this win against an FCS opponent, UConn has to be ready to go against Army this week at home.
This week: vs. Army on Sept. 12 at 11 am.