1. Memphis Tigers (7-0, AAC: 3-0; LW: 1)
Last week: beat Tulsa 66-42
Memphis rolled on against Tulsa this past weekend on the road. Funny thing about Paxton Lynch’s 447 yards and four touchdowns was that he didn’t play as well as he thought he should have. That has to cause some worry for the rest of the AAC. Lynch directed an offense that also had two 100-yard rushers. The only thing the Tigers couldn’t stop was Keyarris Garrett. Their defense still has a little bit to go, but Tulsa isn’t terrible on offense.
This week: hosts Tulane at 6 pm CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on CBS Sports Net
2. Houston Cougars (7-0, AAC: 4-0; LW: 2)
Last week: beat UCF 59-10
Houston was sleepy against UCF this past weekend and might have been looking ahead to their SEC opponent this week, but still crushed UCF. Kenneth Farrow ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns in the win after Houston trailed for a few moments before blowing out the Knights on the road. Houston scored 52 unanswered points and rolled for another win after trailing 10-7. Greg Ward, Jr. was efficient before giving way to Kyle Postma in the win.
This week: hosts Vanderbilt at 6 pm CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on ESPN2/ESPNU
3. Temple Owls (7-0, AAC: 4-0; LW: 3)
Last week: beat East Carolina 24-14
Temple fell behind to East Carolina at the half, but scored the final 14 points of the ball game in the fourth quarter and held the Pirates to zero second half points. P.J. Walker had one of his better games on the season as he threw for 250 yards and a touchdown while the Pirates took away Jahad Thomas — holding him to 66 yards. The Owls needed Walker to win the game and he did for them while the defense stood tall against a usually potent Pirates offense. I think the Top 25 ranking comes to an end for the Owls this weekend as painful as it is for me to say.
This week: hosts Notre Dame at 7 pm CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on ABC
4. Navy (5-1, AAC: 3-0; LW: 4)
Last week: beat Tulane 31-14
Navy took care of business against the struggling Green Wave. The Midshipmen took advantage of three Tulane turnovers in the second half to put the game away. Keenan Reynolds added two rushing touchdowns leaving him two shy of the NCAA’s career record of 76. The Midshipmen weren’t great on the ground by any means with all rushers being held below 38 yards. Reynolds threw for 134 yards and Navy ground out a win by forcing turnovers and playing defense.
This week: hosts USF at 11 am CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on CBS Sports Net
5. Cincinnati Bearcats (4-3, AAC: 1-2; LW: 5)
Last week: beat Connecticut 37-13
Gunner Kiel combined with Hosey Williams to be a formidable 1-2 punch through the air and on the ground. Mike Boone also paired with Williams to rush for 257 combined yards. Kiel meanwhile threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns. The Bearcats pulled away to lead 24-10 at the half and extended their lead from 27-13 to 37-13 in a dominating performance defensively. Cincy was just 4-of-14 on third downs, which kept the score from getting out of hand as they rolled up 612 yards of offense.
This week: hosts UCF at 11 am CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on ESPNews
6. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (3-4, AAC: 0-3; LW 7)
Last week: lost to Memphis 66-42
Not many teams lose and move up, but Tulsa did. Their offense is pretty tough to handle in my mind. Their defense isn’t great at all, but they put up 544 total yards and they do like to rotate quarterback Chad President in at times. That’s concerning because he can run. Zack Langer was also limited on the ground due to injury. They’ll get him back this week. SMU will have their hands full and Tulsa has to feel like they’re close to breaking through in the conference.
This week: at SMU at 3 pm CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on ESPNews
7. East Carolina Pirates (4-4, AAC: 2-2; LW: 6)
Last week: lost to Temple 24-14
Blake Kemp didn’t exactly set the world on fire against Temple as he was held to 272 yards passing and just a touchdown while throwing an interception. James Summers couldn’t provide a spark at quarterback either as the Pirates fell at home and to 2-2 in AAC play. ECU hasn’t had much of a ground game all year and that trend continued. ECU also had a fumble and racked up nine penalties and what was a game filled with plenty of yellow from both sides. It’s a game ECU certainly could have won, but the team just couldn’t get anything going in the second half at home.
This week: at Connecticut at 6 pm CT on Fri., Oct. 30 on ESPNU
8. South Florida Bulls (4-3, AAC: 2-1; LW: 8)
Last week: beat SMU 38-14
Quentin Flowers did his thing on the ground and it could have been much worse for SMU if USF had been able to convert a couple great opportunities to score, but overall, it was a dominating performance for the Bulls. They’ve got a solid chance to win four in a row this weekend, but will have to do so on the road. I like USF’s athletic defensive line to help them get another win if they can stay disciplined.
This week: at Navy at 11 am CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on CBS Sports Net
9. Connecticut Huskies (3-5, AAC: 1-3; LW: 9)
Last week: lost to Cincinnati 37-13
Connecticut couldn’t get it done against Cincinnati this past weekend on the road as their offense was shut down. Tim Boyle and Bryant Scirreffs combined for 130 yards passing and an interception. Shirreffs was Connecticut’s leading rusher with 90 yards while Arkeel Newsome was the next closest with 45 yards. That’s not good. Connecticut has to regroup as they host a ticked off group of Pirates at home.
This week: hosts East Carolina at 6 pm CT on Fri., Oct. 30 on ESPNU
10. Tulane Green Wave (2-5, AAC: 1-3; LW: 11)
Last week: lost to Navy 34-14
Maybe I’m being too harsh because Tulane is also terrible, but right now, SMU just isn’t playing to Tulane’s level as bad as that is. Tulane didn’t have a terrible day offensively, but couldn’t get it going. The big plus was Tulane’s defense held Navy’s running game to just 133 yards with nine players in the box. It doesn’t get easier as Tulane will head to Memphis to probably take a beating.
This week: at Memphis at 6 pm CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on CBS Sports Net
11. SMU Mustangs (1-6, AAC: 0-3; LW: 10)
Last week: lost to USF 38-14
It was a very poor offensive performance for SMU after what was deemed a great week of practice. Unfortunately, it seems SMU’s first season under Chad Morris is destined to not be the great turnaround I was expecting coming out of fall camp. SMU is too deficient in the trenches regardless of what the staff says and tackling continues to be poor. Couple that with Matt Davis not being able to operate the offense up to his usual standard and it was a messy road loss for SMU.
This week: hosts Tulsa at 3 pm CT on Sat., Oct 31 on ESPNews
12. UCF Knights (0-8, AAC: 0-4; LW: 12)
Last week: lost to Houston 59-10
Justin Holman didn’t bring much of a spark to UCF as they fell 59-10 with Holman throwing three interceptions as he was under pressure much of the afternoon. Houston didn’t exactly come out firing, but a fumble returned for a touchdown wasn’t the way UCF wanted to start. Even when the team scored 10 points to answer, Houston quickly crushed all hope for a Knights win by leading 24–10 at the half.
This week: at Cincinnati at 11 am CT on Sat., Oct. 31 on ESPNews