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Bulls fall to 4th in AAC power rankings

Houston can clinch a share of the West Division crown this weekend
USF receiver Tyre McCants, left, is tackled by Houston cornerback Alexander Myres during the first half of the Cougars' 57-36 victory Saturday. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) TXES107
USF receiver Tyre McCants, left, is tackled by Houston cornerback Alexander Myres during the first half of the Cougars' 57-36 victory Saturday. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) TXES107
Published Nov. 1, 2018

Entering November, the East Division of the American Athletic Conference remains up for grabs.

No. 9 UCF and Temple are tied at 4-0 in league play heading into tonight's showdown in Orlando, with Cincinnati and USF only one game back.

In the West, 17th-ranked Houston (4-0) holds a two-game lead over SMU (2-2) and Tulane (2-2), and has a chance to clinch at least a share of the division title this weekend.

Here is how the league stacks up entering Week 10, according to power rankings compiled by reporters from conference schools:

1. UCF
Previous ranking: 1 | Points: 143
Record: 7-0 (4-0 AAC)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Temple (tonight)
Trajectory: Steady. UCF comes out of the bye week as one of only four undefeated teams in Division I-A (with Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame). The Knights remain one of the top offensive teams in the country, averaging 44.4 points and 537 yards per game.
Did you know? QB McKenzie Milton was listed as "day-to-day" by Coach Josh Heupel earlier this week after missing the East Carolina game two weeks ago with an undisclosed injury.
— Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

2. Houston
Previous ranking: 2 | Points: 133
Record: 7-1 (4-0)
Last week: defeated then-No. 21 USF, 57-36
This week: at SMU
Trajectory: Surging. Houston moved into the AP poll at No. 17 this week, the school's first ranking since the end of the 2016 season. All-American DT Ed Oliver missed the first game of his career with a bruised right knee and is day-to-day.
Did you know? QB D'Eriq King has accounted for 39 touchdowns (28 pass, 11 rush) and is seven shy of breaking the AAC single-season record of 45, set by UCF's McKenzie Milton in 2017.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

3. Temple
Previous ranking: 4 | Points: 113
Record: 5-3 (4-0)
Last week: Bye
Next game: at No. 9 UCF (tonight)
Trajectory: Skidding. The Owls have won three in a row and will attempt to snap UCF's 20-game win streak. Leading rusher Ryquell Armstead, who missed the last two games due to an ankle injury, will be a game-time decision. Temple is 5-1 since redshirt sophomore Anthony Russo took over at quarterback.
Did you know? Temple and Fresno State are tied for first in the country with five defensive TDs. Temple has three fumble returns and two interception returns for scores.
— Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

4. USF
Previous ranking: 3 | Points: 108
Record: 7-1 (3-1)
Last week: lost to Houston, 57-36
This week: vs. Tulane
Trajectory: Skidding. The Bulls have allowed two mobile quarterbacks (UConn's David Pindell, Houston's D'Eriq King) to gash them for a combined 331 rushing yards over the last two weekends. Unless they get things corrected, Tulane's option-infused spread attack could exploit them yet again.
Did you know? Houston's 57 points were the most allowed by USF in the program's 21-plus seasons.
— Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

5. Cincinnati
Previous ranking: 5 | Points: 103
Record: 7-1 (3-1)
Last week: defeated SMU, 26-20 (OT)
This week: vs. Navy
Trajectory: Steady. S James Wiggins raced 86 yards with a pick-six interception on the third play of overtime as UC beat SMU. QB Desmond Ridder threw for 352 yards and two scores, both to WR Kahlil Lewis (12 catches, 174 yards).
Did you know? Wiggins also sealed the Bearcats' 34-30 win over Ohio University on Sept. 22 with a goal-line interception with 52 seconds left.
— Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer

6. SMU
Previous ranking: 6 | Points: 75
Record: 3-5 (2-2)
Last week: lost to Cincinnati, 26-20 (OT)
This week: vs. No. 17 Houston
Trajectory: Skidding. The Mustangs must win three of their final four games to become bowl eligible. In the loss to Cincinnati, QB Ben Hicks set the school's career total offense record (7,720 yards).
Did you know? DE Jake Hall's three fumble recoveries are tied for the most in the country.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

7. Memphis
Previous ranking: 7 | Points: 70
Record: 4-4 (1-3)
Last week: Bye
This week: at East Carolina
Trajectory: Steady. Memphis enjoyed a much-needed week off. Darrell Henderson is healthy to play this week after being injured against Missouri, but Memphis needs more than him if they want to win their first road game. The Tigers have not looked sharp in the second halves in all three road losses, and with ECU ranked in the top 50 nationally in total defense, Memphis can't afford another sloppy effort.
Did you know? Memphis has not won at ECU since 2004, and has not won consecutive games against ECU since winning three straight from 2003-05.
— Evan Barnes, The Commercial Appeal

8. Tulane
Previous ranking: 8 | Points: 67
Record: 3-5 (2-2)
Last week: defeated Tulsa, 24-17
This week: at USF
Trajectory: Surging. Tulane won at Tulsa for the first time ever, rushing for 312 yards and scoring the last 17 points. Redshirt junior QB Justin McMillan ran for two TDs in the second half, showing excellent poise in his first start since high school, but he will have to throw better for the Green Wave to upset USF.
Did you know? RB Corey Dauphine has seven runs of 35 yards or longer.
— Guerry Smith, The New Orleans Advocate

9. Navy
Previous ranking: 9 | Points: 49
Record: 2-6 (1-3)
Last week: lost to No. 3 Notre Dame, 42-22
This week: at Cincinnati
Trajectory: Skidding. Navy's losing streak stretched to five games on Saturday night in San Diego as Notre Dame delivered a 44-22 beatdown. The Midshipmen showed heart by outscoring the Fighting Irish 22-15 in the second half. Things don't get easier for Navy, which stays on the road to play Cincinnati and UCF the next two Saturdays.
Did you know? Navy has now lost nine straight games away from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
— Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

10. East Carolina
Previous ranking: 10 | Points: 36
Record: 2-5 (0-4)
This week: vs. Memphis
Trajectory: Steady. ECU will again be a home double-digit underdog when it hosts Memphis. The Tigers and Pirates are both coming off bye weeks.
Did you know? For the second consecutive game, the Pirates are set to start a true freshman quarterback (Holton Ahlers) and true freshman center (Peyton Winstead).
— Ronnie Woodward, Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector

11. Tulsa
Previous ranking: 11 | Points: 25
Record: 1-7 (0-4)
Last week: lost to Tulane, 24-17
This week: vs. UConn
Trajectory: Skidding. For a third time in four games, the Hurricane stumbled despite having a fourth-quarter lead, eliminating the possibility of a bowl appearance.
Did you know? Tulsa has dropped 12 games in a row against Division I-A competition, the same as Saturday opponent UConn.
— Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

12. Connecticut
Previous ranking: 12 | Points: 14
Record: 1-7 (0-4)
Last week: lost to UMass, 22-17
This week: at Tulsa
Trajectory: Skidding. A series of blowouts against AAC schools has tested the resolve of UConn football fans, but a home loss to UMass seems to have really pushed them toward panic. The Huskies are running out of chances to generate positives in an ugly season.
Did you know? UConn has clinched its eighth consecutive losing season.
— Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant