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AAC Power Rankings, Week 4

Memphis tight end Daniel Montiel (80) scrambles for a touchdown during the Tigers' 77-3 rout of Bowling Green.

AP photo

Memphis tight end Daniel Montiel (80) scrambles for a touchdown during the Tigers' 77-3 rout of Bowling Green.

28

September

The first month of the season is somehow already in the rearview mirror. One American Athletic Conference team (USF) took its best shot at a Power Five juggernaut last week, but lost to Florida State, 55-35. Another (Memphis) will get its opportunity this week, with a trip to Ole Miss. Meanwhile, several teams are set to open league play this week as the race to the AAC title game truly begins.

1. Houston (4-0, 1-0 AAC): Amid the distractions of yet another job rumor involving Coach Tom Herman (this time it's LSU), the sixth-ranked Cougars have another quick turnaround with a revenge game against UConn on Thursday night. UH has not forgotten the 20-17 loss in November, which represents its only blemish since December 2014, a remarkable 18-1 record that has turned a once-stale program into a national title contender. -- Joseph Duarte, The Houston Chronicle

2. USF (3-1): In its much-anticipated matchup with No. 12 Florida State on the national stage, USF couldn’t stop touted Seminoles TB Dalvin Cook, who rushed for a career-high 267 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in a 55-35 romp. Cook, who had 228 yards in three games coming in, rushed for 266 against the Bulls in Tallahassee last year. The Bulls will look to rebound in their AAC opener on Saturday night at Cincinnati. –- Jeff Odom, Tampa Bay Times

T-3. Memphis (3-0): The Tigers put on an offensive clinic Saturday against Bowling Green, as 11 different players scored TDs in a 77-3 drubbing of the Falcons. Memphis set a number of program records in the win, matching marks for points in a quarter (35) and points in a half (56). The team also set a new AAC record for points scored in a game, with QB Riley Ferguson (seven total TDs) leading the way.  -- Tom Schad, The Commercial Appeal

T-3. Navy (3-0, 2-0): The season's first bye week came at an ideal time for Navy, which was coming off two very physical football games with Connecticut and Tulane. It was a great opportunity for the Midshipmen to rest and recover, Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. Navy also got two weeks to prepare for its annual service academy showdown with Air Force, which is being held in Colorado Springs this season. The winner of the Navy-Air Force game has ultimately captured the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy the last 19 years.  -- Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

5. Cincinnati (3-1, 0-1): The Bearcats rallied to beat rival Miami (Ohio), 27-20, in the annual Battle for the Victory Bell. UC won the Bell for the 11th straight year, the longest such streak by either school in the series. Redshirt freshman Ross Trail made his first college start at quarterback in place of injured Hayden Moore. Trail threw for 276 yards with no TDs and two interceptions, and he also rushed for a touchdown. -- Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer

T-6. East Carolina (2-2): ECU's special teams were the team's undoing in its 54-17 loss to Virginia Tech, leading to numerous short-field situations. The Pirates will open American play against UCF at noon on Saturday without a key defender in senior NT Demetri McGill, felled by a leg injury against Virginia Tech. -- Nathan Summers, The Daily Reflector

T-6. Temple (2-2): The Owls completed their non-conference schedule with a 48-20 home win over Charlotte, breaking the game open with a 28-point second quarter. After passing for 286 yards in a 34-27 loss at Penn State, Owls QB Phillip Walker completed 15 of 26 for 268 yards, two TDs and no interceptions against Charlotte. After being sacked nine times in the first three games, he wasn't sacked against the 49ers. The owls lead the AAC in red zone offense, scoring on 17 of 18 possessions (94.4 percent), with 12 TDs and five field goals.  -- Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer

8. Tulsa (3-1): After falling behind 31-0 in the first half at Fresno State on Saturday, the Golden Hurricane completed the biggest comeback victory in program history, edging the Bulldogs 48-41 in double overtime. The first 20 minutes included a lackluster performance by Tulsa, but the offense went on to deliver an impressive showing highlighted by 252 rushing yards on a whopping 46 carries by D'Angelo Brewer. QB Dane Evans accounted for five touchdowns including the winning score. -- Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

9. Connecticut (2-2, 0-1): The Huskies could be 4-0 but an inability to score late TDs (from the 1-yard line at Navy, from the 2 vs. Syracuse) and avoid explosive pass plays by the opponent leaves them at .500 heading into Thursday's game at No. 6 Houston. Noel Thomas set a career high for the third time this season last week with 14 receptions against the Orange. He's up to 40 for the season, tied for fourth in the nation. -- Mike Anthony, The Hartford Courant

10. UCF (2-2): UCF handed FIU a 53-14 rout helped by six rushing TDs last Saturday. It was the program’s first blowout win in two years and senior RB Dontravious Wilson became the first tailback since Storm Johnson to tally three rushing TDs in a game. Currently, the Knights are ranked No. 19 in total defense among all Division I programs. -- Shannon Green, Orlando Sentinel

11. Tulane (2-2, 0-1): Tulane is coming off its biggest win in the Willie Fritz era after last week’s four-overtime, 41-39 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. The team’s inability to find a starting quarterback seemed to have come to an end after redshirt sophomore Glen Cuiellette came off the bench to throw for 165 yards and the first four TD passes of his career. -- Will Guillory, The Times-Picayune

12. SMU (2-2): SMU kept things interesting in the first half against TCU but faltered down the stretch in a 33-3 loss. It was another abysmal performance from the offense, which continues to struggle without starting QB Matt Davis, out for the year with a torn ACL. Redshirt freshman Ben Hicks just doesn't look comfortable in the pocket and isn't ready for the big stage. With Hicks under center, the Mustangs have struggled tremendously in the red zone.  -- EJ Holland, The Dallas Morning News

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[Last modified: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:38am]

    

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