1. Memphis Tigers (6-0, AAC: 2-0; LW: 1)
Last week: beat Ole Miss 37-24
Ole Miss didn’t let me down. They were as overrated as I thought. This was a huge win for the AAC as the top three teams are really separating themselves from the rest. Memphis rallied from a 14-0 deficit to score 31 unanswered in what was a dominating performance over the Rebels. The Rebels closed the gap to 31-24 in the third quarter, but Paxton Lynch completed 39-of-53 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns and led the Tigers to two more scoring drives to put the game on ice. The Tigers defense sealed the game with their second interception of the game on Ole Miss’ final drive. The Tigers do have a trap game against a Tulsa team that can certainly score and are coming off a tough loss to ECU this past week.
This week: at Tulsa on Fri., Oct 23 at 7 pm CT on ESPN
2. Houston Cougars (6-0, AAC: 3-0; LW: 2)
Last week: beat Tulane 42-7
Houston took care of business against Tulane as Greg Ward, Jr. totaled four total touchdowns and continued his impressive play. Houston is now been ranked No. 24 in the AP poll. Houston had three starting offensive linemen sitting out and then lost their center to illness early in the game. With the makeshift line, Houston still dominated the Green Wave. Houston’s defense held Tulane to just 262 total yards and forced 11 punts. Going into another cupcake game, Houston took care of business and should move to 7-0 next week.
This week: at UCF on Sat., Oct 24 at 11 am CT on ESPNews
3. Temple Owls (6-0, AAC: 3-0; LW: 3)
Last week: beat UCF 30-16
Temple has already gotten to bowl eligibility along with Houston and is now ranked for the first time since 1980. The Owls struggled at times with UCF as they scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally to beat a struggling Knights team. Sean Chandler was a force in the punt return game and had a key interception while Jahad Thomas dominated on the ground, running for 199 yards and three touchdowns. UCF wasn’t great by any means and Temple wasn’t themselves either, but it was a team win for the Owls they had to get through. Might have been looking ahead to a tough road game at ECU.
This week: at East Carolina on Thurs., Oct 22 at 6 pm CT on ESPN2
4. Navy (4-1, AAC: 2-0; LW: 4)
Last week: OFF
Navy was off this week before facing bottom feeder Tulane at home. Should be an easy win and plenty of touchdowns for quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
This week: hosts Tulane on Sat., Oct 24 at noon CT on CBS Sports Net
5. Cincinnati Bearcats (3-3, AAC: 0-2; LW: 5)
Last week: lost to BYU 38-24
Cincinnati completely fell apart in the fourth quarter as BYU scored 21 straight in the fourth quarter to win 38-24. Hayden Moore was under pressure all night as he was sacked eight times by the Cougars as he had his toughest night as a starter. Moore threw for just 219 yards. Cincinnati struggled on third down, going 7-for-17 and just couldn’t finish drives. It didn’t help that the Bearcats averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. It would have been a big win for Cincy, but now must regroup as they host a pesky Connecticut team.
This week: hosts Connecticut on Sat., Oct 24 at 3:30 pm CT
6. East Carolina Pirates (4-3, AAC: 2-1; LW: 6)
Last week: beat Tulsa 30-17
ECU can really play spoiler this week after beating Tulsa this past weekend. Tulsa’s usually potent offense was held in check on the road. Blake Kemp and James Summers combined again for just over 200 yards passing, a touchdown and an interception. Chris Hairston ran for 82 yards and while ECU struggled on offense overall, Josh Hawkins ran an interception back 100 yards to beat the Golden Hurricane. It was more of a methodical win for ECU, who led 23-0 at the end of the third. The Pirates will need better quarterback play vs. Temple this week.
This week: hosts Temple on Thurs., Oct 22 at 6 pm CT on ESPN2
7. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (3-3, AAC: 0-2; LW 7)
Last week: lost to ECU 30-17
Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans said before the game that he loves playing at East Carolina, but he didn’t like the result this time. Evans threw for 288 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but overall, wasn’t effective. Tulsa managed to be just 5-of-19 on third down. That won’t win games.
This week: hosts Memphis on Fri., Oct 23 at 7 pm CT on ESPN
8. South Florida Bulls (3-3, AAC: 1-1; LW: 9)
Last week: beat Connecticut 28-20
South Florida made me regret giving Connecticut too much credit this past week as the Bulls won 28-20. Quinton Flowers totaled over 250 total yards and three touchdowns in the road win while Marlon Mack ran for 113 yards. While the Bulls defense allowed 365 yards from Bryant Schirreffs, the offense taking some steps forward was a big step. USF has some confidence going into their home matchup against SMU.
This week: hosts SMU on Sat., Oct 24 at 3 pm CT on ESPNews
9. Connecticut Huskies (3-4, AAC: 1-2; LW: 8)
Last week: lost to USF 28-20
Connecticut had plenty of offense from Bryant Shirreffs and Arkeel Newsome, who helped direct the Huskies to 528 total yards, but were just 7-for-17 on third downs and couldn’t get the scoring to beat the Bulls at home. It’s a setback, but as with USF, Connecticut has to feel good about their offensive production coming out of this one.
This week: at Cincinnati on Sat., Oct 24 at 3:30 pm CT
10. SMU Mustangs (1-5, AAC: 0-1; LW: 10)
Last week: OFF
After a tough loss to Houston and a tough non-conference slate, SMU needed a bye week in the worst way. SMU hits the road and heads to face USF this week, who’s found a little offense as of late behind Quentin Flowers and Marlon Mack. The pair led a balanced attack to a win over Syracuse. SMU will have to stop the run and make the Bulls one-dimensional this week. If the Mustangs take away Mack, they’ll have a really good chance at a road win if the offense can consistently score and move the ball.
This week: at USF on Sat., Oct. 24 at 3 pm CT on ESPNews
11. Tulane Green Wave (2-4, AAC: 1-2; LW: 11)
Last week: lost to Houston 42-7
Tulane managed just 11 first downs, one less first down than the Green Wave had penalties (12) as they fell 42-7 to Houston. Devin Powell completed 11 passes for 88 yards as he started in place of Tanner Lee, who was out with a concussion. Houston scored on their first play with a 49-yard touchdown pass on the Green Wave and would be how the game went for Tulane. The Green Wave answered that with a 3-yard touchdown run from Dontrell Hilliard after a fake punt, but didn’t manage much else. The Green Wave even gave up a punt return for a touchdown to Demarcus Ayers. All around, it was a bad game for Tulane.
This week: at Navy on Sat., Oct 24 at noon CT on CBS Sports Net
12. UCF Knights (0-7, AAC: 0-3; LW: 12)
Last week: lost to Temple 30-16
The struggles continued as Justin Holman managed just 67 yards in his return as a starter at quarterback, throwing two interceptions as well. UCF didn’t get any help from the ground game, running for 67 yards. Somehow, the Knights led after three quarters, but allowed the Owls to score 16 unanswered to get the win. Shaquille Griffin had an interception returned for a touchdown to help UCF, but other than that, nothing was working for the Knights.
This week: hosts Houston on Sat., Oct 24 at 11 am CT on ESPNews