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AAC RANKINGS: Pirates still 10th

SMU UCF Football-1

Central Florida running back Adrian Killins Jr. (9) dives over the goal line for a 15-yard rushing touchdown past SMU safety Mikial Onu during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Six weeks into the college football season, Central Florida, South Florida and Cincinnati are a perfect 16-0 combined and ranked teams representing the American Athletic Conference.

UCF leads the way at No. 10 in the AP poll, while USF (No. 23) and Cincinnati (No. 25) made their season debuts this week. The AAC is the only league in the nation with three unbeaten teams.

East Carolina, which is No. 10 in these AAC power rankings voted on by conference beat reporters, plays Houston on Saturday and UCF next weekend. Both games are at home.

1. UCF

Previous ranking: 1 | Points: 143

Record: 5-0 (2-0 AAC)

Last week: defeated SMU, 48-20

This week: at Memphis

Trajectory: Steady. Tailback Adrian Killins amassed more than 100 yards in a game for the first time since Nov. 4, 2017 after rushing for 113 yards while quarterback McKenzie Milton extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass to 19 after throwing two against the Mustangs.

Did you know? UCF is converting third downs at a rate of 59 percent, which leads all AAC teams.

- Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

2. South Florida

Previous ranking: 2 | Points: 130

Record: 5-0 (1-0 AAC)

Last week: defeated UMass, 58-42

This week: at Tulsa (Friday)

Trajectory: Steady. The No. 23 Bulls, who have collected precious few style points during their unbeaten start, embark on a stretch of seven conference games in as many weeks. The only recent sign of consistency has come from tailback Jordan Cronkrite, who ran for an AAC single-game record 302 yards at UMass.

Did you know? USF is 33-6 over its last 39 games, tied with Ohio State and Wisconsin for the nation's fourth-best record in that span.

- Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

3. Houston

Previous ranking: 3 | Points: 119

Record: 4-1 (1-0 AAC)

Last week: defeated Tulsa, 41-26

This week: at East Carolina

Trajectory: Steady. Houston overcame a slow start with its best fourth quarter of the season, wiping out a nine-point deficit with 24 unanswered points to beat Tulsa. The defense showed signs of life, limiting the Golden Hurricane to 32 total yards on the final five possessions. The Cougars are in sole possession of first place in the West division heading into back-to-back road games against East Carolina and Navy.

Did you know? D’Eriq King and West Virginia’s Will Grier are the only quarterbacks with at least three passing touchdowns in every game this season.

- Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

4. Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 4 | Points: 114

Record: 6-0 (2-0 AAC)

Last week: defeated Tulane, 37-21

This week: Open date

Trajectory: Steady. The Bearcats became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2015 with the win over Tulane. Running back Michael Warren II got UC going with an 81-yard TD run, the second-longest rushing TD ever by a UC player.

Did you know? UC has achieved its first 6-0 start since 2009. The Bearcats now have six 6-0 starts (1932, 1951, 1954, 2007, 2009, 2018).

- Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer

5. Temple

Previous ranking: 7 | Points: 90

Record: 3-3 (2-0 AAC)

Last week: defeated East Carolina, 49-6

This week: at Navy

Trajectory: Surging. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Russo, making his fourth straight start, completed 21 of 25 for 254 yards, four TDs and one interception in the win over ECU. Isaiah Wright scored on a 59-yard punt return, the third return score of his career and was AAC special teams player of the week. Temple has scored a non-offensive TD in all six games.

Did you know? According to Temple, the Owls 43-point win over ECU was their largest margin of victory ever over a Football Bowl Subdivision team.

- Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

6. Memphis

Previous ranking: 9 | Points: 72

Record: 4-2 (1-2 AAC)

Last week: defeated UConn, 55-14

This week: vs. UCF

Trajectory: Steady. Memphis righted the ship against UConn thanks to its two-headed running back monster of Darrell Henderson (174 yards, 3 TDs) and Patrick Taylor (161 yards, 3 TDs). The true test if Memphis is back on its feet comes Saturday against unbeaten UCF, their first meeting since losing 62-55 in last year’s AAC championship game.

Did you know? Memphis has won 12 consecutive regular season home games but has lost its last 11 meetings to UCF.

Evan Barnes, The Commercial Appeal

7. Tulane

Previous ranking: 5 | Points: 69

Record: 2-4 (1-1 AAC)

Last week: lost to Cincinnati, 37-21

This week: Open date

Trajectory: Skidding. There's no shame in losing to Cincinnati, but as in its other three losses, Tulane simply did not play well. The Green Wave committed 12 penalties for 90 yards, scored zero points off three Bearcats turnovers and has a quarterback quandary. LSU transfer Justin McMillan replaced Jonathan Banks and struggled.

Did You Know? The combined record of Tulane's first six opponents is 27-8. The combined record of the next six opponents is 16-15.

- Guerry Smith, The New Orleans Advocate

8. Navy

Previous ranking: 6 | Points: 67

Record: 2-3 (1-1 AAC)

Last week: lost to Air Force, 35-7

This week: vs. Temple

Trajectory: Sliding. Navy’s program is in full-blown crisis mode in the wake of the lopsided loss in the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series. The Mids have serious issues on offense and it may be time to move Malcolm Perry back to slotback. Navy has gotten away from running the triple-option offense that has defined the program since 2002.

Did You Know? Temple and Navy rank second and third for best records within the American Athletic Conference since 2015. Temple boasts a 20-6 conference record over the past four seasons while Navy, which joined the ACC in 2015, is 19-7. South Florida ranks first with a 20-5 mark during that span.

- Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

9. SMU

Previous ranking: 8 | Points: 62

Record: 2-4 (1-1 AAC)

Last week: lost to No. 12 UCF, 48-20

This week: Open date

Trajectory: Skidding. After a third loss to a Top 25 opponent, the Mustangs get a break before a three-game stretch against Tulane, Cincinnati and Houston. In his third season, Ben Hicks set the SMU career passing yardage record with 7,205, breaking the old record 7,179 set by Chuck Hixson from 1968-70.

Did you know? James Proche has a touchdown catch in four straight games, the fifth-longest streak in school history.

- Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

10. East Carolina

Previous ranking: 10 | Points: 32

Record: 2-3 (0-2 AAC)

Last week: lost to Temple, 49-6

This week: vs. Houston

Trajectory: Skidding. The Pirates took a step back last Saturday, going to Philadelphia as an 11-point underdog but getting overwhelmed in a 43-point loss to Temple. Up next is the daunting task of facing Houston, UCF and Memphis in consecutive games.

Did you know? ECU not scoring a touchdown against Temple marked the first time that has ever happened for the Pirates in an AAC game.

- Ronnie Woodward, Greenville Daily Reflector

11. Tulsa

Previous ranking: 11 | Points: 28

Record: 1-4 (0-2 AAC)

Last week: lost to Houston, 41-26

This week: vs. USF (Friday)

Trajectory: Steady. The Hurricane led by nine early in the fourth quarter at Houston before surrendering 24 unanswered points. Despite a fourth consecutive defeat, there is some renewed optimism given the performance of quarterback Seth Boomer, who threw for 227 yards in his debut.

Did you know? Linebacker Cooper Edmiston has three interceptions in the last two games.

- Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

12. Connecticut

Previous ranking: 12 | Points: 12

Record: 1-5 (0-3 AAC)

Last week: lost at Memphis, 55-14

This week: Open date

Trajectory: Skidding. Another week, another blowout loss. UConn enters its off week with the nation's worst defense and an offense that has seemed to regress. Huskies coach Randy Edsall says this is part of the process.

Did you know? UConn has lost each of its five games against FBS opponents by at least 30 points.

- Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant

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