USF fourth in newest AAC power rankings

OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times USF wide receiver Darnell Salomon (3) runs for a large gain during the second half against Elon at  Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, September 1, 2018.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times USF wide receiver Darnell Salomon (3) runs for a large gain during the second half against Elon at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, September 1, 2018.
Published September 6 2018

As one might expect, UCF's reign atop the American Athletic Conference power rankings has stretched into its second season, with USF a few rungs below the Knights here at September's outset.

The rankings are voted upon by league beat reporters. Enjoy

1. UCF
Record: 1-0 (1-0 in AAC)
Last week: defeated UConn, 56-17
This week: vs. South Carolina State
Trajectory: Surging. McKenzie Milton passed for 346 yards and five touchdowns and the Knights scored on eight of nine offensive possessions against the Huskies, with no scoring drive lasting longer than two minutes, 39 seconds. DB Richie Grant recovered a fumble and had an interception.
Did you know? UCF holds the nation's longest winning streak at 14 games.
— Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

2. Memphis
Record: 1-0 (0-0 in AAC)
Last week: defeated Mercer, 66-14
This week: at Navy
Trajectory: Surging. QB Brady White had an impressive debut (358 yards, 5 TDs) and Memphis led 56-0 at halftime after scoring on its first eight drives. Defensively, TJ Carter returned an interception for a TD as the Tigers held Mercer to only 37 total yards in the first half.
Did you know? Memphis defeated Navy last year for the first time in school history.
— Evan Barnes, The Commercial Appeal

3. Houston
Record: 1-0 (0-0 in AAC)
Last week: defeated Rice, 45-27
This week: vs. Arizona
Trajectory: Steady. After two injury-ravaged seasons, Marquez Stevenson scored a pair of TDs and had 203 all-purpose yards. All-America DT Ed Oliver kicked off his Heisman Trophy campaign with 13 tackles, 3 1/2 tackles for loss and two quarterback pressures. Next up: Arizona and Heisman hopeful Khalil Tate.
Did you know? Before his three-sack performance against Rice, DE Isaiah Chambers last played in a game in high school in 2015.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

4. USF
Record: 1-0 (0-0 AAC)
Last week: defeated Elon, 34-14
This week: vs. Georgia Tech
Trajectory: Surging. The Blake Barnett era got off to a rousing start (305 passing yards, three TDs) against Elon, but the Bulls' run defense was periodically gashed by the Phoenix, who amassed 192 yards on the ground. With Georgia Tech's flexbone triple option arriving Saturday, many USF fans are justifiably concerned.
Did you know? USF has won five of its last six against Power Five opposition
— Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

5. Cincinnati
Record: 1-0 (0-0 in AAC)
Last week: defeated UCLA, 26-17
This week: Miami (Ohio)
Trajectory: Surging. Sophomore RB Michael Warren rushed 35 times for a career-high 142 yards as UC upset UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Junior LB Bryan Wright had two sacks and a pivotal forced fumble in the fourth quarter that resulted in the go-ahead safety.
Did you know? UC has won its last 12 meetings with neighboring rival Miami U.
— Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer

6. Navy
Record: 0-1 (0-0 in AAC)
Last week: lost to Hawaii, 59-41
This week: vs. Memphis
Trajectory: Skidding. The Midshipmen could not have imagined a worse start to the season, traveling halfway around the world to get routed by the Rainbow Warriors. Navy's defense was shredded from start to finish, allowing 522 total yards. QB Malcolm Perry and the offense did not help matters early on, picking up only one first down on three possessions to start the game.
Did you know? Navy has not started a season with consecutive losses since 2012.
— Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

7. Tulane
Record: 0-1 (0-0 AAC)
Last week: lost to Wake Forest, 23-17 (OT)
This week: vs. Nicholls State
Trajectory: Steady. Tulane was outplayed by Wake Forest for most of the night but had a tremendous chance to win at the end of regulation, needing one more first down to get into range for a go-ahead field goal. Everything went wrong from there. It was a missed opportunity for a statement victory against a Power Five program.
Did You Know? Tulane is undefeated against FCS teams.
— Guerry Smith, The New Orleans Advocate

8. Tulsa
Record: 1-0 (0-0 in AAC)
Last week: defeated Central Arkansas, 38-27
This week: at Texas
Trajectory: Surging. Although the win against a good FCS team wasn't particularly impressive, the Hurricane showed signs of moving in the right direction, especially on defense. Tulsa held Central Arkansas to no third-down conversions (on 10 attempts) and allowed the fewest yards since 2012.
Did you know? For the 10th time in four years under Philip Montgomery, Tulsa had two 100-yard rushers in a game (Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II). The Hurricane is 9-1 in those games.
— Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

9. Temple
Record: 0-1 (0-0 AAC)
Last week: lost to Villanova, 19-17.
This week: vs. Buffalo
Trajectory: Skidding. Even though Villanova is an extremely talented FCS team, it is still an FCS team and all the momentum from last year's 4-1 finish is now gone. The Owls were outgained 405-251 in total yards, and also missed a 29-yard field goal. Newcomer Rock Ya-Sin, a senior transfer from Presbyterian College, played well in his Temple debut with five tackles, including one tackle for loss. DE Dana Levine is expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering an unspecified injury against Villanova.
Did you know? This week's opponent, Buffalo, has an NFL prospect at quarterback in 6-foot-7, 245-pound junior Tyree Jackson, who threw six TD passes in the Bulls' opening 48-10 win over Delaware State.
— Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

10. SMU
Record: 0-1 (0-0 in AAC)
Last week: lost to North Texas, 46-23
This week: vs. TCU
Trajectory: Skidding. The Sonny Dykes era got off to a rough start in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. The Mustangs were held scoreless and to one first down until scoring all their points in the final 8 1/2 minutes. SMU had 4 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Did you know? SMU and TCU meet for the 98th time Saturday, the sixth-longest active non-conference series in the nation.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

11. Connecticut
Record: 0-1 (0-1 in AAC)
Last week: lost to UCF, 56-17
This week: at Boise State
Trajectory: Skidding. No one was surprised to see UConn lose to UCF, but the Huskies probably expected better than a 39-point blowout. Though the offense moved the ball with some efficiency against the Knights, the defense ceded TDs on eight of UCF's nine full drives. With more than a few true freshmen playing significant snaps on defense, UConn could allow a lot of points this season.
Did you know? Boise will be the farthest west UConn has ever played.
— Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant

12.  East Carolina
Record: 0-1 (0-0 in AAC)
Last week: lost to North Carolina A&T, 28-23
This week: vs. North Carolina.
Trajectory: Skidding. Tension is very high in Greenville and math is already working against third-year coach Scottie Montgomery, who has guaranteed a bowl bid this season, after a 28-23 loss to FCS squad North Carolina A&T. Now the Pirates face a three-game set against North Carolina, Virginia Tech and USF.
Did you know? ECU's announced attendance of 38,640 against N.C. A&T marked the first time since the 2006 season that it had a season-opening home crowd of fewer than 40,000.
— Ronnie Woodward, Greenville Daily Reflector