1. Memphis Tigers (4-0, AAC: 1-0; LW: 1)Last week: beat Cincinnati 53-46
Another big win for Memphis as the Tigers rallied to keep their AAC divisional lead and eyes set on the title game. Sam Craft ran it in from three yards out with under a minute left to beat the Bearcats. A potential Bearcats game-winning drive was thwarted by Leonard Pegues, who intercepted a tipped pass to seal it. Paxton Lynch threw for 412 yards and two scores, but the Memphis defense needs work. The Bearcats had 752 yards, 38 first downs and 100 total plays. The Tigers have got to correct that.
This week: at USF on Fri., Oct. 2 at 6 pm CT on ESPN2.
2. Temple Owls (3-0, AAC: 1-0; LW: 2)Last week: OFF
Temple had a well-deserved by week before their tune-up game against Charlotte (albeit on the road). The Owls can’t lose focus this week and risk taking a major step back.
This week: at Charlotte on Fri., Oct. 2 at 6 pm CT on CBS Sports Net.
3. Houston Cougars (3-0, AAC: N/A; LW: 3)Last week: beat Texas State 59-14
Houston beat up on Texas State behind Greg Ward Jr.’s six total touchdowns. Ward totaled 274 yards through the air and 91 yards on the ground. After a big win over Louisville, Houston didn’t lose focus and will head into their conference opener against Tulsa clicking on all cylinders. Tulsa can certainly put up points so this barnburner in Oklahoma should be exciting.
This week: at Tulsa on Sat., Oct. 3 at 11 am CT on CBS Sports Net.
4. Navy (3-0, AAC: 2-0; LW: 5)Last week: beat Connecticut 28-18
Navy remained undefeated and moved to 2-0 in AAC play with a 28-18 win over Connecticut. Keenan Reynolds continued ran for 142 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries while also throwing for another touchdown. Against a tough UConn defense, Reynolds wasn’t phased and directed an offense that had over 300 yards on the ground. Navy also didn’t punt until the third quarter, controlled the clock and made enough spots for the win.
This week: hosts Navy on Sat., Oct. 3 at 2:30 pm CT on CBS Sports Net.
5. Cincinnati Bearcats (2-2, AAC: 0-2; LW: 4)Last week: lost to Memphis 53-46
The Bearcats proved offensively it can certainly win without quarterback Gunner Kiel. Defensively, it’s a different story. The Bearcats rolled up 752 yards of offense with freshman Hayden Moore passing for 557 yards and four touchdowns, but still couldn’t get it done. The defense gave up a score late in the game and Moore couldn’t bring Cincy back, throwing an INT to allow Memphis to seal it. Kiel has already battled a concussion the week before, but after being knocked out again, Cincy has to feel good about Moore if he has to step in the future, even with their AAC title chances slim at this point.
This week: hosts Miami on Thurs., Oct. 1 at 6:30 pm CT on ESPN.
6. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-1, AAC: N/A; LW 7)Last week: OFF
Tulsa was off this past week, but hosts the Cougars and their high-powered offense this week. Dane Evans has been on fire and the Golden Hurricane hasn’t had a problem scoring this year. After a bye week following their loss at Oklahoma, Tulsa is looking for a statement AAC game and this is it.
This week: hosts Houston on Sat., Oct. 3 at 11 am CT on CBS Sports Net.
7. East Carolina Pirates (2-2, AAC: 0-1; LW: 8)Last week: beat Virginia Tech 35-28
Big props to Ruffin McNeal’s staff for having his kids ready to roll against Virginia Tech. James Summers provided a spark off the bench at quarterback with 169 yards rushing and 110 yards passing with three total touchdowns. Blake Kemp though will continue to share quarterback duties with Summers after he came into the game. With SMU struggling against dual threat quarterbacks, expect Summers to see a fair amount of time too. Just before the year, it looked like ECU would be struggling this year, but after a tough early season slate, ECU is trending up.
This week: at SMU on Sat. Oct. 3 at 3 pm CT on ESPNews.
8. SMU Mustangs (1-3, AAC: N/A; LW: 6)Last week: lost to James Madison 48-45
SMU’s offense had a tough time for most of Saturday night’s game against James Madison, but came in the clutch with a touchdown to go up 45-41 with a little over two minutes to go. The only problem was that the defense allowed James Madison to go right back down and answer SMU’s touchdown with the game winner. JMU rolled up 729 yards of offense to SMU’s 494 yards. SMU fumbled twice while JMU threw three interceptions, but JMU averaged 8.5 yards per run and 8.8 yards per pass. SMU’s defense has plenty of things to correct before the ECU Pirates come to town Saturday to open AAC play.
This week: hosts ECU on Sat., Oct. 3 at 3 pm CT on ESPNews.
9. South Florida Bulls (1-2, AAC: N/A; LW: 9)Last week: OFF
USF hosts Memphis after being off this past week as the Bulls begin AAC with a tough matchup at home. The Friday night crowd could play an impact if the Bulls can get a good showing. The Bulls’ offense has a lot to keep up with though.
This week: hosts Memphis on Fri., Oct. 2 at 6 pm CT on ESPN2.
10. Connecticut Huskies (2-2, AAC: 0-1; LW: 10)Last week: lost to Navy 28-18
The Huskies were the latest team not able to contain Navy’s rushing attack, allowing over 300 yards and for the Midshipmen to hold on to the ball for 32:44. The Huskies missed a wide-open receiver for a touchdown and needed every touchdown it could get to have a chance to knock off Navy. The Huskies are definitely progressing, but haven’t been able to get that big win they’ve had a chance at the past two weeks.
This week: at BYU on Fri., Oct. 2 at 9:15 pm CT on ESPN2.
11. Tulane Green Wave (1-2, AAC: N/A; LW: 11)Last week: OFF
The Green Wave was off this week before the battle of the bottom feeders this weekend at Tulane. The Green Wave have the offense to put pressure on UCF, but can the Knights put a complete game together for their first AAC win of the year? Or will Tulane stay out of the cellar a little while longer?
This week: hosts UCF on Sat., Oct. 3 at 11 am CT on ESPNews.
12. UCF Knights (0-4, AAC: N/A; LW: 12)Last week: lost at South Carolina 31-14
The Knights continue to struggle, but didn’t get run over by any means on the road against South Carolina. The Knights held a 14-8 lead at halftime, but were outscored 23-0 in the second half. Freshman quarterback Bo Schneider (from Dallas Jesuit), threw for 189 yards and a touchdown for the Knights.
This week: at Tulane on Sat., Oct 3 at 11 am CT on ESPNews.