AAC Power Rankings, Week 6
Navy's rain-soaked upset of Houston on Saturday has created a logjam atop the American Athletic Conference power rankings as we enter the heart of October. The Cougars, Midshipmen and USF all are jockeying for the top spot, with Memphis and Temple not far behind.
Here are this week's rankings, as voted on by a league-wide panel of beat reporters.
T-1. Houston (5-1, 2-1 AAC): The Cougars said goodbye to their hopes of an unbeaten season and spot in the College Football Playoff with a 46-40 upset loss at Navy. It was an uncharacteristic off night for UH, with QB Greg Ward Jr. committing three turnovers that led to 17 points and the Midshipmen shredding the nation’s top-ranked run defense for 306 yards. "We're not deep enough, talented enough to play a C-level game when another team is playing their A-level game and win," Coach Tom Herman said. "We’re just not." -- Joseph Duarte, The Houston Chronicle
T-1. USF (5-1, 2-0): The Bulls nearly blew an 18-point advantage in the second half, but pulled away late for a 38-22 homecoming victory against East Carolina. Junior QB Quinton Flowers finished 21-of-29 for 250 yards and three TDs as USF extended its program-record streak of 10 consecutive games with 35 or more points. Not everything was rosy, however, as the Bulls were penalized nine times for 101 yards, and allowed the Pirates to pull within two at one point after taking a 24-6 lead midway through the third quarter. -- Jeff Odom, Tampa Bay Times
3. Navy (4-1, 3-0): The Midshipmen pulled off perhaps the most surprising upset of the college football season to date. QB Will Worth rushed for 115 yards and a TD and passed for two other scores to lead the offense, while Josiah Powell notched two interceptions (including a pick-six) to spearhead the defense as Navy stunned sixth-ranked Houston, 46-40. It was the program's first win against an Associated Press top-10 opponent since 1984. The No. 25 Midshipmen were due for a short turnaround with a Thursday night game at East Carolina, but the contest has been postponed until Nov. 19 due to the threat of flooding in eastern North Carolina. -- Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group
4. Memphis (4-1, 1-0): After a dismal offensive performance in the first half, Memphis found a spark in the third quarter in the form of a 71-yard TD run by Doroland Dorceus in a 34-27 win against Temple. The Tigers scored TDs in all three phases of the game en route to 27 unanswered points, as Genard Avery recorded his second pick-six of the year and Tony Pollard returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score. Next up for the Tigers is a trip Friday to New Orleans to play Tulane. -- Tom Schad, The Commercial Appeal
5. Temple (3-3, 1-1): The Owls, 0-2 on the road, visit UCF on Saturday. In last week's 34-27 loss at Memphis, they led 13-0 before surrendering 27 unanswered points. The Owls also lost PK Austin Jones for the season with a torn ACL, which occurred on a fourth-quarter, 95-yard kickoff return for a TD by Memphis' Tony Pollard. This week the Owls are putting an emphasis on the running game after managing only 86 yards on 29 attempts at Memphis. QB Phillip Walker, who threw eight interceptions all of last year, already has nine this season. -- Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer
6. UCF (3-2, 1-0): The Knights got an unexpected bye week as Hurricane Matthew pushed their contest against Tulane to Nov. 5. Before that, UCF opened AAC play by avenging a 2015 loss to East Carolina, 47-29, on the road Oct. 1. The Knights’ defense allowed the Pirates to get their usual 500-plus total yards of offense but were able to force five turnovers. The Knights will host Temple for their homecoming game Saturday. -- Shannon Green, Orlando Sentinel
7. Tulsa (4-1, 1-0): In an ugly game that lasted four hours, 22 minutes, the Golden Hurricane edged SMU, 43-40, in overtime Friday night. The Hurricane overcame a shaky start as well as a record-tying 17 penalties, helped by 100-yard performances by running backs D'Angelo Brewer and James Flanders, and receivers Keevan Lucas and Josh Atkinson. The Tulsa defense continues to show strides and ranks fourth nationally in three-and-outs forced. On Saturday night, a tougher task awaits, with a visit to Houston. -- Kelly Hines, Tulsa World
8. Connecticut (3-3, 1-2): The Huskies held Cincinnati to 2 rushing yards in a 20-9 victory Saturday. UConn, one of two teams without a point in the first quarter this season (Buffalo is the other), trailed 9-0, but the complexion of the game changed with a 59-yard TD pass from Bryant Shirreffs to Tyraiq Beals with 28 seconds to play in the first half. RB Arkeel Newsome, held out for the first quarter for disciplinary reasons, had 116 yards on 14 carries, including a 67-yard gain that represented UConn's longest play from scrimmage this season. The Huskies play at USF on Saturday. -- Mike Anthony, The Hartford Courant
9. Cincinnati (3-3, 0-3): The Bearcats may be at the lowest point of the Tommy Tuberville coaching era. UC was held to 2 yards rushing Saturday in a 20-9 loss at UConn, and the Bearcats eventually abandoned the running game trying to catch up. Hayden Moore returned at quarterback after missing two games with an ankle injury, finishing 29-of-56 for 315 yards, no TDs and one interception. Tuberville has a 28-17 record at UC, but he is coming under fire from some UC fans on social media and sports-talk radio. UC has a bye this week, then returns to action Oct. 22 at home against East Carolina. -- Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer
10. East Carolina (2-4, 0-2): The Pirates' season continued to trend downward despite a mostly improved effort against USF in Tampa last week. East Carolina had a chance to tie the Bulls late in the fourth quarter, but the Bulls responded with two late TDs in a 38-22 win. It was ECU's fourth consecutive setback, a first since 2004. Hurricane Matthew's flooding washed away the Pirates' scheduled Thursday clash with red-hot Navy, perhaps a blessing in disguise for a team with numerous injuries. They'll play at Cincinnati on Oct. 22. -- Nathan Summers, The Daily Reflector
11. Tulane (3-2, 0-1): The Green Wave is coming off an impromptu bye week after Hurricane Matthew forced Tulane to postpone its game at UCF to Nov. 5. The Green Wave's weekend off came at a perfect time because the school’s next three games (Memphis, at Tulsa and SMU) all come against teams in the AAC West, and finding a way to get two or three wins over this stretch can put Tulane in the driver’s seat for a potential run at a bowl bid. -- Will Guillory, The Times-Picayune
12. SMU (2-4, 0-2): The Mustangs gave Tulsa everything it wanted and more in a 43-40 overtime loss on the road Friday. SMU finally got its offense going with redshirt freshman QB Ben Hicks (258 pasing yards, two TDs, no INTs). Hicks wasn't spectacular, but he was efficient, and that's exactly what the Mustangs need from him moving forward. The defense did give up points but continued to add to its nation-leading interception total (13). -- EJ Holland, Dallas Morning News