Matt Visinsky

Week Five American Athletic Conference Power Rankings

Billy has your AAC power rankings through week five of the regular season. See who made moves and where SMU landed at.

1. Memphis Tigers (5-0, AAC: 2-0; LW: 1)
Last week: beat USF 24-17

Memphis extended its winning streak to 12 games with a 24-17 win at USF Friday night. Paxton Lynch continued to be efficient and productive — passing for over 300 yards and adding three total touchdowns. The Tigers overcame a halftime deficit for its third straight victory. Going into a bye week, Memphis has to work on starting games stronger as it faces a massive non conference matchup against Mississippi in two weeks. The Tigers can make a huge case for a playoff spot with a win over the Rebels and boost the AAC’s national reputation with the win.
This week: OFF

2.Houston Cougars (4-0, AAC: 1-0; LW: 3)
Last week: beat Tulsa 38-24

Greg Ward Jr. had over 450 total yards on the day with three rushing touchdowns. Ward will be the focus of SMU’s defense in this week’s game on Thursday night on ESPN2. Ward is making a huge case for AAC player of the year early on. Tulsa slowed Houston’s offense a little bit, but the Cougar defense managed to force two turnovers against what was a red-hot Tulsa offense. Along with Ward, Kenneth Farrow led the way with 159 yards and two touchdowns. SMU has their hands full with the Cougar backfield this week at Houston.
This week: hosts SMU on Thurs., Oct. 8 at 7 pm CT on ESPN2.

3. Temple Owls (4-0, AAC: 1-0; LW: 2)
Last week: beat Charlotte 37-3

While it was raining cats and dogs in Charlotte, Temple’s win isn’t as impressive as Houston’s and just overall their start to the season, which is why Temple falls a spot. Jahad Thomas ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way while P.J. Walker found Robby Anderson for two touchdowns to get Temple to 4-0 for the first time since 1974. 
This week: hosts Tulane on Sat., Oct. 10 at 11 am CT on ESPNews.

4. Navy Midshipmen (4-0, AAC: 2-0; LW: 4)

Last week: beat Air Force 33-11

Keenan Reynolds continued his productive season with 183 yards on the ground and 117 yards passing for the Midshipmen. Navy took the first step towards reclaiming the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy with the win over Air Force. Navy held Air Force’s offense to 277 yards and forced four turnovers while committing zero turnovers. Both teams were less than spectacular on offense — combining to be nine of 30 on third downs with Air Force hold the 5-4 edge. Navy has a tough test this week, but one that they always rise up for against the Irish, who are coming off a tough loss to Clemson.
This week: at Notre Dame on Sat., Oct. 10 at 2:30 pm CT on NBC.

5.Cincinnati Bearcats (3-2, AAC: 0-2; LW: 5)
Last week: beat Miami 34-23

The Bearcats beat nonconference foe Miami on Thursday night behind Hayden Moore’s 279 yards and three total touchdowns. The freshmen was efficient and sharp for most of the night, while the defense was led by linebacker Eric Wilson notched 14 tackles. Cincy is off this week as they get ready for a road matchup against BYU in two weeks.
This week: OFF

6. East Carolina Pirates (3-2, AAC: 1-1; LW: 7)
Last week: beat SMU 49-23

Once again, quarterback James Summers rallied the Pirates for a 49-23 win over SMU on the road. The Pirates were down 23-7 before scoring on six of their final nine possessions. Summers added over 225 yards of offense and four total touchdowns for the Pirates while the defense held SMU scoreless for the final two and a half quarters. ECU got pressure on Matt Davis all night and shut down SMU’s running game. 
This week: at BYU on Sat., Oct. 10 at 6:30 pm CT on ESPNU.

7. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-2, AAC: 0-1; LW 6)
Last week: lost to Houston 38-24

Tulsa dropped their first conference matchup of the year to Houston with the Tulsa offense cooling a little bit while the defense couldn’t stop Houston’s ground game. Tulsa has major issues on defense and will go as far as their offense will take them this year.
This week: hosts Louisiana Monroe on Sat., Oct. 10 at 5 pm CT on ESPN3.

8. SMU Mustangs (1-4, AAC: 0-1; LW: 8)
Last week: lost to ECU 49-23

It was a tale of two halves again for SMU with the Mustangs holding a 23-7 lead in the second quarter before imploding. The offense couldn’t get anything going against an athletic ECU defense, which allowed them to double cover Cortland Sutton and keep him in check. SMU again had trouble defending a dual threat quarterback in James Summers, but the task doesn’t get any easier for them as they face Greg Ward Jr., one of the most productive players in the conference this year.
This week: at Houston on Thurs., Oct. 8 at 7 pm CT on ESPN2.

9. South Florida Bulls (1-3, AAC: 0-1; LW: 9)
Last week: lost to Memphis 24-17

The offense sputtered after a great 12-play, 95-yard touchdown drive. While USF got the score within seven points with 1:49 to go, they couldn’t muster a tying drive. Quentin Flowers last pass was intercepted by Reggis Ball. The USF defense did a good job against a Memphis attack that came in averaging 570 yards per game. While Lynch played a solid game for Memphis, the rhythm just wasn’t there all game for the Tigers — a credit to the USF defense.
This week: hosts Syracuse on Sat., Oct. 10 at 3:30 pm CT on CBS Sports Net.

10. Connecticut Huskies (2-3, AAC: 0-1; LW: 10)
Last week: lost to BYU 30-13

Connecticut couldn’t get it done again on the road after holding a 10-7 lead in the third quarter. The Cougars reeled off 23 points in the final 18:02 to win 30-13 over the Huskies. Bryant Shirreffs threw a touchdown and an interception while mustering just a 10.8 QB rating on the night. The running game for UConn failed to get anything going either. The Connecticut defense kept the Huskies in the game again — much like against Missouri, but the offense never stepped up.
This week: at UCF on Sat., Oct. 10 at 2:45 pm CT on ESPNU.

11. Tulane Green Wave (2-2, AAC: 1-0; LW: 11)
Last week: beat UCF 45-31

Royce LaFrance’s three sacks, four tackles for loss and a forced fumble in the 45-31 win over UCF were a huge storyline in Tulane picking up a win in AAC play this past weekend. Tanner Lee for a career-high four touchdowns and the defense meanwhile forced five turnovers and had seven sacks. It was a great team win for the Green Wave, who have been looking for good news this season. They stay out of the cellar for now, but without a decent win, they can’t jump Connecticut just yet.
This week: at Temple on Sat., Oct. 10 at 11 am CT on ESPNews.

12. UCF Golden Knights (0-5, AAC: 0-1; LW: 12)
Last week: lost to Tulane 45-31

Freshman Bo Schneider had some growing pains again, throwing for 236 yards and a score, but threw three interceptions. Tyler Harris, a former SMU commit, came in and threw three fourth quarter touchdowns — all to another SMU commit, D’erren Wilson. The Knights might have found something with Harris, but against garbage time defense, you never know. Harris will certainly get more looks.
This week: hosts Connecticut on Sat., Oct. 10 at 2:45 pm CT on ESPNU.

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