AAC Football Fever Power Rankings: Week 2
1. Cincinnati Bearcats (0-0, 0-0 AAC; LW: No. 1) – Last week, Cincinnati started off atop our weekly rankings. They don’t even take the field for the first time until September 12, but the Bearcats are still the favorite to win the AAC. Next up: BYE
2. ECU Pirates (1-0, 0-0; LW: No. 2) – Ruffin McNeil’s Pirates did exactly what we thought they’d do in the opener against North Carolina Central: dominate. Shane Carden and the offense lit up the scoreboard in a tune up before this Saturday’s big (and now seemingly even more winnable) showdown with South Carolina. Next up: at South Carolina, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET.
3. UCF Knights (0-1, 0-0; LW: No. 3) – It’s a shame UCF didn’t find its offensive rhythm until the second half when backup quarterback Justin Holman replaced starter Pete DiNovo, who struggled mightily against the Penn State defense. Holman helped the Knights outscore Christian Hackenberg and company 21-16 in the second half, but the efforts weren’t quite enough to grab the win in Dublin, Ireland. Next up: BYE
4. Temple Owls (1-0, 0-0; LW: No. 9) – This is a prime example about why I love college football. Temple won two games last season and lost to Idaho. IDAHO. With an utterly dominant win in Nashville against SEC opponent Vanderbilt, the Owls move up five spots in our rankings and become an immediate dark horse candidate to take the AAC. (That might be an overreaction, but it’s post-Week 1 and that’s still allowed.) Next up: vs. Navy, Saturday, 1 p.m. ET.
5. Memphis Tigers (1-0, 0-0; LW: No. 6) – Memphis of the past would have gotten off to a slow start against FCS Austin Peay and recovered for a not-so-impressive close win. Memphis of now dominated from start to finish, scoring seven rushing touchdowns and holding the Governors to 146 total offensive yards in a 63-0 blowout. UCLA’s offensive line in shambles and the Tigers’ front seven is the team’s strength, so we might actually have something here. Next up: at UCLA, Saturday, 10 p.m. ET.
6. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-0, 1-0; LW: No. 11) – Yes, a seven-point double-overtime squeaker is enough to pull a team five spots up from the cellar, especially in The American following Week 1. Quarterback Dane Evans overcame a slow start against Tulane to throw for 438 yards and four touchdowns—most of those went to Keevan Lucas—and Demarco Nelson sealed the game with an interception in OT. Maybe we didn’t give the Golden Hurricane enough credit this offseason. We’ll find out for sure this upcoming weekend. Next up: at Oklahoma, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET.
7. Tulane Green Wave (0-1, 0-1; LW: No. 5) – The good news: Tulane’s offense got a major boost from freshman running back Sherman Badie, as it scored 31 points for just the second time over its last seven games. The bad news: Umm, what happened to that shutdown defense from the second half of the 2013 season? The Green Wave allowed a whopping 592 yards to what was an anemic Tulsa offense last season, showing everyone that the holes left by key departures are actually craters. Next up: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET.
8. USF Bulls (1-0, 0-0; LW: No. 8) – Well, it certainly wasn’t the disaster that was a 52-21 drubbing to McNeese State in last season’s opener, but USF’s five-point win over Western Carolina was all but encouraging. Marion Mack had a career day with 275 rushing yards and four touchdowns, carrying the Bulls offense as QB Mike White continued his drought of inefficiency from 2013, going 9-of-26 with an interception. Additionally, USF’s defense gave up 454 yards of offense and 14 fourth-quarter points. Not an ideal start to what’s supposed to be a much-improved team. Next up: vs. Maryland, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET.
9. Houston Cougars (0-1, 0-0; LW: No. 4) – Houston, we have a serious problem. Things couldn’t have gone worse for the Cougars in their first time playing in TDECU Stadium, as they were embarrassed by UTSA in its sixth year of existence. John O’Korn was erratic, completing less than half of his attempts for no touchdowns and four interceptions, and his offensive line was outplayed and overwhelmed nearly every snap. Here’s another fun stat: Houston rushed 23 times for -26 yards. UTSA is a solid team with tons of senior leadership, but this was an inexcusable performance and it’s going to take a long time for UH to recover from this one mentally. Next up: vs. Grambling State, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET.
10. SMU Mustangs (0-1, 0-0; LW: No. 7) – Heading into the season we knew there were concerns with the offense, but 47 passing yards and -10 rushing in the first half? 67 total yards for the entire game? What sorcery is this?! Sure, Baylor is going to make a lot of teams look bad this year, but when has a June Jones offense ever been so inept? Not a good sign for the Mustangs, who are looking to get back to the bowl conversation. Next up: at North Texas, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET.
11. UConn Huskies (0-1, 0-0; LW: No. 10) – If you watched this game, you probably ate your remote in frustration due to the excessive amount of penalties. There were roughly 23 flags thrown in the first half, and what’s even more shocking is that the majority of them were on BYU. Taysom Hill had no issues dissembling UConn’s defense, and neither Casey Cochran nor Chandler Whitmer had success against the Cougars’ secondary (even without their two starting corners). It was obvious that the Huskies are in Phase One of Bob Diaco’s rebuild plan. Next up: vs. Stony Brook, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET.