AAC power rankings, Week 9

USF remains third in the rankings, compiled by league reporters
The USF Bulls run out of the tunnel before the game against Connecticut at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 20, 2018. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
The USF Bulls run out of the tunnel before the game against Connecticut at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 20, 2018. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
Published Oct. 25, 2018

While No. 10 UCF takes a break this week, two other American Athletic Conference heavyweights meet when No. 21 USF visits Houston.

Here is how the league stacks up, according to power rankings compiled by reporters from every conference school, heading into Week Nine:

1. UCF
Previous ranking: 1 | Points: 143
Record: 7-0 (4-0 AAC)
Last week: defeated East Carolina, 37-10
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Steady. Sophomore Darriel Mack rushed for a career-high 121 yards and a touchdown after getting the surprise start at quarterback instead of McKenzie Milton. The defense forced a season-high five turnovers against the Pirates, and the Knights turned them into 24 points.
Did you know? Milton didn't start at quarterback for the first time since Oct. 1, 2016, a streak of 27 consecutive games.
— Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

2. Houston
Previous ranking: 2 | Points: 130
Record: 6-1 (3-0)
Last week: defeated Navy, 49-36
This week: vs. USF
Trajectory: Surging. Heading into the biggest game of the season, Houston is uncertain about the status of All-America DT Ed Oliver, who is questionable with a bruised right knee suffered on a chop block against Navy.
Did you know? Houston has reached the 40-point mark in seven straight games, matching the school record set in 2011.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

3. USF
Previous ranking: 3 | Points: 122
Record: 7-0 (3-0)
Last week: defeated Connecticut, 38-30
This week: at Houston
Trajectory: Steady. The Bulls remain imperfectly perfect, 7-0 for only the second time in school history but struggling in vital areas such as run defense (229.4 yards per game) and offensive consistency (10 total first-half points vs. Tulsa and UConn). The most difficult stretch of the schedule now awaits them.
Did you know? USF's first six Division I-A opponents currently have a combined record of 12-31. Their last five are 26-9.
— Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

4. Temple
Previous ranking: 5 | Points: 107
Record: 5-3 (4-0)
Last week: defeated Cincinnati, 24-17 (OT)
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Surging. The Owls have won three in a row. Anthony Russo threw three TDs passes against Cincinnati, but also threw three interceptions. Temple played its second game without leading rusher Ryquell Armstead (ankle). Led by DT Michael Dogbe, who had 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble, the Owls held Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder to 9 rushing yards on 16 carries and 111 passing yards.
Did you know? Temple's offensive line has allowed eight sacks. Against Cincinnati, it didn't allow one for the third time this season.
— Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

5. Cincinnati
Previous ranking: 4 | Points: 98
Record: 6-1 (2-1)
Last week: lost to Temple, 24-17 (OT)
This week: at SMU
Trajectory: Steady. The Bearcats led 17-10 with less than a minute to play in regulation against Temple, but the Owls rallied to thwart UC's attempt to go 7-0. UC RB Michael Warren rushed for 132 yards and a TD, and the defense had three picks and 11 pass break-ups.
Did you know? Warren is the first UC player to have four straight 100-yard rushing games since DeMarco McCleskey in 1998.
— Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer

6. SMU
Previous ranking: 9 | Points: 77
Record: 3-4 (2-1)
Last week: defeated Tulane, 27-23
This week: vs. Cincinnati
Trajectory: SMU took sole possession of second place in the AAC West with the win against Tulane. Though the Mustangs still are sorting out the quarterback position, Ben Hicks threw for 291 yards and three TDs in the victory.
Did you know? James Proche has a TD catch in five straight games.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

7. Memphis
Previous ranking: 6 | Points: 70
Record: 4-4 (1-3)
Last week: lost to Missouri, 65-33
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Sliding. Memphis took its worst loss of the season, giving up a season-high in points (65) and total yards (646). Darrell Henderson missed nearly the whole game with an injury, but the nation's leading rusher is expected to return after the open week. Patrick Taylor Jr. filled in admirably with 115 rushing yards and two scores, but the Tigers have now lost consecutive games and remain winless on the road.
Did you know? Memphis sophomore Damonte Coxie leads the AAC in receiving yardage (663).
— Evan Barnes, The Commercial Appeal

8. Tulane
Previous ranking: 7 | Points: 61
Record: 2-5 (1-2)
Last week: lost to SMU, 27-23
This week: at Tulsa
Trajectory: Skidding. After holding SMU to minus-4 rushing yards and leading by nine through three-plus quarters, the Green Wave picked up one first down in its next four possessions and gave up a 67-yard TD pass with 1:15 to play. Now, Tulane travels to Tulsa, where it has had no success in the past.
Did you know? QB Jonathan Banks has thrown five TD passes and lost five fumbles.
— Guerry Smith, The New Orleans Advocate

9. Navy
Previous ranking: 8 | Points: 55
Record: 2-5 (1-3)
Last week: lost to Houston, 49-36
This week: vs. Notre Dame (in San Diego)
Trajectory: Skidding. Navy did not come close to stopping the Houston offense the entire game while its offense fizzled in the second half for the second straight game. The Midshipmen have a four-game losing streak for the first time since 2011, and it could easily turn into the first seven-game losing streak since 2002 as the next three opponents (Notre Dame, Cincinnati, UCF) have a combined record of 20-1.
Did you know? Navy has either beaten Notre Dame or lost by one possession in six of the 10 games played during Coach Ken Niumatalolo's 11-year tenure.
— Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

10. East Carolina
Previous ranking: 11 | Points: 33
Record: 2-5 (0-4)
Last week: lost to UCF, 37-10
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Steady. ECU hung with UCF, but five turnovers and zero takeaways proved costly in a 37-10 homecoming loss. The bright spot was freshman Holton Ahlers, who passed for 406 yards in his first start.
Did you know? Coach Scottie Montgomery is 3-17 in AAC games during his three seasons with the Pirates.
— Ronnie Woodward, Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector

11. Tulsa
Previous ranking: 10 | Points: 26
Record: 2-5 (0-4)
Last week: lost to Arkansas, 23-0
This week: vs. Tulane
Trajectory: Skidding. After fourth-quarter collapses against good teams in its previous two outings, the Hurricane found a new way to lose — not showing up. The debacle at Arkansas was Tulsa's first shutout against an unranked team since 2004, and the offense continues to sputter despite a quarterback change.
Did you know? Tulsa ranks last in the league in scoring offense (20.9 ppg).
— Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

12. Connecticut
Previous ranking: 12 | Points: 14
Record: 1-6 (0-4)
Last week: lost to USF, 38-30
This week: vs. UMass
Trajectory: Steady. For the first time all season, UConn hung around with a Division I-A opponent for a full 60 minutes. The Huskies' performance against USF didn't result in a win, but it did offer evidence that Randy Edsall's team can keep up with quality opponents under the right circumstances.
Did you know? UConn's first seven opponents currently are a collective 38-12. Its last five opponents are 13-24.
— Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant