Most AAC teams have played three games in three weeks of college football action, so we now have a pretty good sense of who the best teams are in the conference. UConn opens AAC play with South Florida tonight, so I wanted to share the rankings that I've been doing so far this season for Underdog Dynasty.
1. Cincinnati (1-0)
Last week: #1
Week 3 result: W vs. Toledo, 58-34
Tommy Tuberville's team looked very impressive on Friday night, beating a pretty good Toledo squad in Cincinnati's season opener. Yes, while most AAC teams were on their third contest of the season, the Bearcats waited until September 12th to play competitive football. Well, sort of.
They raced to a 34-0 lead in twenty minutes against the Rockets. Quarterback Gunner Kiel, the highly decorated high-schooler who transferred from Notre Dame, threw for four touchdowns in the first half, finishing with six and completing 25 out of 37 passes for 418 yards. Toledo made an admirable comeback push, but Cincinnati pulled away with 17 unanswered points to finish the game.
Right now, Cincinnati looks like the best team in the American and they have a chance to make a statement against No. 23 Ohio State in two weekends. The Bearcats are currently 22nd in the Sagarin Rankings, and could be the first team in the American to break into the Top 25.
2. ECU (2-1)
Last week: #3
Week 3 result: W at No. 17 Virginia Tech, 28-21
A lot of people believed going into the season that the East Carolina Pirates would succeed in their first year in the American Athletic Conference. By taking South Carolina to the wire and beating Virginia Tech, ECU has delivered on those expectations and could, along with Cincinnati, end up being ranked very soon. They face 2-0 North Carolina this weekend at home having beaten the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill last year.
3. UCF (0-2)
Last week: #2
Week 3 result: L at No. 20 Missouri, 38-10
Despite losing badly to Missouri for their second loss of the season, UCF is still the third-best team in this conference, by far. They go for their first win this weekend against Bethune-Cookman, and have a chance to move in the right direction the following week when they visit Houston to open AAC play.
4. Houston (1-2)
Last week: #6
Week 3 result: L at BYU, 33-25
Houston did not start the season off well, losing badly to UTSA at home, but got back on track with an FCS win and then played BYU pretty close last week. They have a chance to solidify their position if they can beat UNLV this weekend.
5. Memphis (1-1)
Last week: #5
Week 3 result: Bye
Memphis didn't play last week. The Tigers are back in action this week against the 2-1 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Do I really believe their the fifth best team in the conference? I... I don't know. Right now they stand at fifth on the strength of taking UCLA to the wire on the road.
6. Temple (1-1)
Last week: #4
Week 3 result: Bye
Temple didn't play this week, but their week 1 win against Vanderbilt looked a little less impressive after watching lowly UMass almost beat the Commodores. Still, it's hard to make a reasonable argument for stupid crappy Temple do be anywhere lower on this list.
7. UConn (1-2)
Last week: #10
Week 3 result: L vs. Boise State, 38-21
My homery, homerville rankings would have us above Temple and Memphis, but this is where I have us based on the season's results thus far. We'll set that straight after Temple visits UConn on September 27th.
8. USF (1-2)
Last week: #7
Week 3 result: L vs. NC State 49-17
Getting blown out by a rebuilding NC State team does not inspire confidence. The Bulls will need to come back strong against UConn tonight as both teams kick-off conference play. Another poor performance would bring serious, though probably still undue, heat on the Willie Taggart era. After UConn game, the Bulls travel to No. 19 Wisconsin for their first road game of the season.
9. Tulane (1-2)
Last week: #9
Week 3 result: W vs. SE Louisiana, 35-10
The Green Wave earned their first win of the season last week, beating FCS opponent SE Louisiana, 35-0. They are 18-point underdogs this weekend against Duke. In their first year as members, Tulane could have trouble finding wins in the conference. They lost to Tulsa on the road to open the season.
10. Tulsa (1-2)
Last week: #8
Week 3 result: L to Florida Atlantic, 50-21
Tulsa beat Tulane in the opening weekend of the season, but losing by 29 to FAU will drop you in the rankings. For shame, Golden Hurricane. For shame.
11. SMU (0-2)
Last week: #11
Week 3 result: inactive
Sucks to be looking for a new head coach in September... oh wait.
From the files of the depressing: the Mustangs have only scored six points all season.