USF falls to 6th in AAC power rankings

Cincinnati made the biggest leap this week in the rankings, compiled by league reporters
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) breaks away from Navy defensive end Anthony Villalobos (95) in the first half of the Bearcats' 42-0 victory Saturday in Cincinnati. [AP Photo/John Minchillo]
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) breaks away from Navy defensive end Anthony Villalobos (95) in the first half of the Bearcats' 42-0 victory Saturday in Cincinnati. [AP Photo/John Minchillo]
Published Nov. 8, 2018

Cincinnati made the biggest jump of the week, moving up three spots to No. 2 in the American Athletic Conference power rankings.

The Bearcats host struggling USF before a Nov. 17 East Division showdown at unbeaten UCF. In the West, Houston holds a one-game lead over SMU and Tulane.

Here is how the league stacks up, according to power rankings compiled by reporters from every conference school, heading into Week 11:

1. UCF
Previous ranking: 1 | Points: 144
Record: 8-0 (5-0 AAC)
Last week: defeated Temple, 52-40
This week: vs. Navy
Trajectory: Steady. QB McKenzie Milton returned to the lineup after a one-game absence (due to injury) to score four touchdowns as UCF extended its nation-leading winning streak to 21 games. RB Greg McCrae, a former walk-on, had a career night with 188 rushing yards.
Did you know? UCF also extended its streak of scoring 30 or more points to 21 games. The 52 points against the Owls was the fifth time the Knights have scored 40 or more points this season.
— Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

2. Cincinnati
Previous ranking: 5 | Points: 126
Record: 8-1 (4-1)
Last week: defeated Navy, 42-0
This week: vs. USF
Trajectory: Surging. The Bearcats surprised Navy with a 4-4 defensive front and held the Midshipmen's triple-option offense to 124 yards rushing, a season low. UC RB Michael Warren II rushed for 68 yards and two TDs. QB Desmond Ridder threw for 178 yards and a TD, and rushed for 66 yards and a TD.
Did you know? UC's eight wins are its most in the regular season since 2014, when the Bearcats went 9-3.
— Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer

3. Houston
Previous ranking: 2 | Points: 115
Record: 7-2 (4-1)
Last week: lost to SMU, 45-31
Next game: vs. Temple
Trajectory: Skidding. Houston could not avoid a trap game as one of the nation's top offenses was held to season-lows for points (31) and yards (365) against SMU. With three weeks left, the Cougars still control their destiny in the West. All-America DT Ed Oliver is on track to return this week after missing two games with a bruised right knee.
Did you know? Houston is 6-0 all-time against Temple, with one of the victories coming in the 2015 AAC championship Game.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

4. Temple
Previous ranking: 3 | Points: 109
Record: 5-4 (4-1)
Last week: lost to UCF, 52-40
Next game: at Houston
Trajectory: Skidding. Temple's defense, which was supposed to be its calling card, allowed more than 300 yards rushing and passing in the loss to UCF. Anthony Russo threw for 444 yards, four TDs and scored on a 5-yard run off a fake field goal. The Owls are banged up with C Matt Hennessy, WR Randle Jones and RB Ryquell Armstead unable to finish the game at UCF.
Did you know? In the loss at UCF, Temple broke the record for total offense in program history with 670 yards. The previous record was 622 yards set in 1974 against Southern Illinois.
— Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

5. SMU
Previous ranking: 6 | Points: 94
Record: 4-5 (3-2)
Last week: defeated Houston, 45-31
This week: at Connecticut
Trajectory: Surging. Ben Hicks threw for 318 yards and four TDs to lead the Mustangs over then-ranked Houston for the second time in three years. Suddenly, SMU has a legitimate shot to reach bowl eligibility for the second year in a row with remaining games against UConn, Memphis and Tulsa.
Did you know? SMU is 0-18 against other top-25 programs in the past seven years.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

6. USF
Previous ranking: 4 | Points: 84
Record: 7-2 (3-2)
Last week: lost to Tulane, 41-15
This week: at Cincinnati
Trajectory: Skidding. After seven consecutive victories against mostly feeble opposition, the Bulls now appear to be a rudderless team. Following their loss to Tulane, in which they gave up 34 unanswered points, Coach Charlie Strong said the Bulls "didn't play hard at all" and are lacking leadership. With games against Cincinnati, Temple and UCF remaining, a 7-5 finish is very conceivable.
Did you know? The 98 points allowed by USF in consecutive losses to Houston and Tulane are the most surrendered in a two-game stretch in program history.
— Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

7. Tulane
Previous ranking: 8 | Points: 78
Record: 4-5 (3-2)
Last week: defeated USF, 41-15
This week: vs. East Carolina
Trajectory: Surging. Tulane had its most lopsided conference road win this century, spotting USF a field goal before scoring 34 consecutive points to take total control while rushing for 368 yards. If the Green Wave beats ECU for homecoming, it will have realistic hopes of winning the West.
Did you know? Tulane is seeking its second above-.500 conference finish in the last 20 years.
— Guerry Smith, The New Orleans Advocate

8. Memphis
Previous ranking: 7 | Points: 65
Record: 5-4 (2-3)
Last week: defeated East Carolina, 59-41
This week: vs. Tulsa
Trajectory: Steady. Memphis came out firing after the bye week and finally got its first road win of the season. Damonte Coxie had a career day (10 receptions, 172 yards, two TDs), Brady White had his best road performance (21-for-30, 362 yards, three TDs) and Darrell Henderson returned healthy with 204 all-purpose yards and three TDs. Now the Tigers prepare for their last Saturday game of the regular season.
Did you know? Memphis is one win shy of being bowl eligible for five straight seasons, extending a school record.
— Evan Barnes, The Commercial Appeal

9. Navy
Previous ranking: 9 | Points: 40
Record: 2-7 (1-4)
Last week: lost to Cincinnati, 42-0
This week: at UCF
Trajectory: Skidding. Navy hit rock bottom with a lifeless 42-0 loss at Cincinnati. The Midshipmen were never in this game, falling behind 28-0 at halftime. Another quarterback change did nothing to spark the struggling offense. Zach Abey, the starter for most of last season, replaced Garret Lewis at the helm. This latest setback, Navy's sixth in a row, assures a losing season.
Did you know? Navy was shut out for the first time since losing to San Jose State, 12-0, in 2012. The Mids were shut out in the first half in consecutive contests for the first time since 1993.
— Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

10. Tulsa
Previous ranking: 11 | Points: 37
Record: 2-7 (1-4)
Last week: defeated Connecticut, 49-19
This week: at Memphis
Trajectory: Surging. After repeated fourth-quarter meltdowns, the Hurricane built a large-enough lead Saturday to play reserves in the final period. Against the worst defense in the country, Tulsa racked up a season-high 638 yards including 470 on the ground.
Did you know? Sophomore running backs Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II have combined for 11 career games with at least 100 rushing yards.
— Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

11. East Carolina
Previous ranking: 10 | Points: 32
Record: 2-6 (0-5)
Last week: lost to Memphis, 59-41
This week: at Tulane
Trajectory: Steady. Plug in Tulane as the latest double-digit favorite over the Pirates, who are on a four-game losing streak and will have to pull at least one road upset during their final four games to finish better than 3-9. ECU is still looking for the confidence and right formula for that to happen.
Did you know? Third-year coach Scottie Montgomery is now 3-18 in AAC games, with 16 of those losses by double digits.
— Ronnie Woodward, Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector

12. Connecticut
Previous ranking: 12 | Points: 12
Record: 1-8 (0-5)
Last week: lost to Tulsa, 49-19
This week: vs. SMU
Trajectory: Skidding. At this point, what more is there to say? After losing by 30 points to another one-win team, UConn stands as not only the clear-cut worst team in the American, but also one of the worst teams in the country.
Did you know? The Huskies have lost six games this season by at least 30 points.
— Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant