Only two weeks left in the inaugural American season. UCF continues it's undefeated conference run, while the Huskies avoided a winless season as they defeated the Owls at friendly Lincoln Financial Field. On to the rankings:
1. UCF Knights (9-1, 6-0) LW: 1
Last week: Won v. Rutgers (5-5, 2-4), 41-17
It was Knight on Knight action last Thursday, as UCF made quick work of a dwindling Rutgers team. The Knights of Orlando continue their march toward the conference crown and the sole automatic BCS bid for the American. Next week, it's a rivalry match with USF, the program that tried so hard to keep UCF out of the Big East.
2. Louisville Cardinals (10-1, 6-1) LW: 2
Last week: Won v. Memphis (3-7, 1-5), 24-17
The Cardinals are quietly putting together a one-loss season, which is amazingly a huge disappointment to Louisville fans. Can't blame them. Teddy Bridgewater was supposed to be invited to New York, and Charlie Strong was supposed to contend for National Championship. Now, they need help just getting to a BCS bowl.
3. Cincinnati Bearcats (9-2, 6-1) LW: 3
Last week: Won @ Houston (7-4, 4-3), 24-17
The score may have been close, but the yardage is quite disparate: 278 total yards for a usually high-flying Houston offense, while Cincinnati gained a staggering 573 total yards. Three turnovers forced by a very opportunistic Cougars team helped keep the score close. With conference championships under Brian Kelly and Butch Jones, Tommy Tuberville has a chance to be the third, which just shows how consistent the Bearcats program is. And hey, two straight losses for UCF coupled with an upset win over rival Louisville would send Cincinnati to the BCS.
4. Houston Cougars (7-4, 4-3) LW: 4
Last week: Lost v. Cincinnati (9-2, 6-1), 17-24
After a promising start, the Cougars couldn't quite get into the upper echelon of the American, losing close games to top teams Louisville and Cincinnati. John O'Korn was once again limited to well below his passing yards average. The future does look bright for Houston, as they should challenge every year for the conference crown.
5. SMU Mustangs (5-5, 4-2) LW: 5
Last week: Won @ USF (2-8, 2-4), 16-6
Garret Gilbert is leading the nation in total yards with 405.7 per game, so the Mustangs were put into a precarious situation when the senior left the game before halftime due to an injury. Freshman backup Neal Burcham did an admirable job filling in, outlasting the Bulls and getting SMU it's fourth win in the last five games.
6. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-5, 2-4) LW: 6
Last week: Lost @ UCF (9-1, 6-0), 17-41
Rutgers once again suffered a blowout loss to a superior opponent. Aside from bottom-feeders USF and UConn, the Scarlet Knights may be the team with the most turmoil at the moment. Gary Nova is finally getting benched this week against USF, giving senior Chas Dodd a chance to resurrect a middling offense. Rutgers just needs one win to become bowl eligible, but nothing is certain with the way the team is playing lately.
7. Memphis Tigers (3-7, 1-5) LW: 7
Last week: Lost @ Louisville (10-1, 6-1), 17-24
The Tigers actually trailed most of the game, with the score of 24-3 entering the fourth quarter. Memphis rallied late however, just coming short to make it a close game. Against conference favorite Louisville, coach Justin Fuente should be encouraged that his team put up a good fight. With games against Temple and UConn next, the Tigers have a chance to end the season on a two-game win streak, and winning four out of five of the last games.
8. Temple Owls (1-10, 0-7) LW: 8
Last week: Lost v. UConn (1-9, 1-5), 21-28
The Owls have the dubious honor of being the first team to lose to UConn this year, and it may seem strange that I didn't rank the Huskies above Temple. Yes, UConn defeated the Huskies, but they were also down 21-0 at halftime. I still think the Owls are better than the Huskies, but by the slimmest of margins. Both teams have at least one game left to change their respective rankings, although being this low doesn't mean much in the first place.
9. Connecticut Huskies (1-9, 1-5) LW: 10
Last week: Won @ Temple (1-10, 0-7), 28-21
Hooray! The Huskies won't go winless for 2013. It was a pretty ugly game for UConn, but a win's a win, especially at 1-9. With a reeling Rutgers team coming to the Rent, and Memphis to end the season, the Huskies have a chance to end the season on a high note.
10. USF Bulls (2-8, 2-4) LW: 9
Last week: Lost v. SMU (5-5, 4-2), 6-16
The Bulls get the bottom spot this week for losing to a team that not only gives up the most points in the conference (scored six measly points to a team giving up 35 points a game), but also had a freshman backup playing the entire second half. It certainly won't be getting any easier next week with rival UCF hosting the Bulls.