AAC Power Rankings: Week 11

Maddie Meyer

The bowl picture appears to settling into shape.

The American race is heading for a photo finish, and two teams control their own destinies for the BCS bid. Surprisingly enough, the former Conference USA teams are giving the former Big East compadres a serious run for their football money. Houston and UCF are sitting pretty with undefeated conference records, with Louisville and Cincinnati looking up with one loss each. How will college football's newest conference end after 12 games?

1. UCF Knights (6-1, 3-0) LW: 1

Last week: Inactive

Prior to their bye week, UCF absolutely crushed the Huskies in Orlando. The Blake Bortles train is full steam ahead, and it looks as if there is one major test left for George O'Leary's squad. UCF and Houston get the primetime matchup this weekend with full ESPN2 treatment.

2. Louisville Cardinals (7-1, 3-1) LW: 2

Last week: Inactive

Louisville also had a bye week after taking care of USF at Ray Jay. The nation has seemed to forget about Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals ever since they lost to UCF at home. The remaining schedule for Louisville is far from a cake walk, with Houston and Cincinnati left to play.

3. Houston Cougars (7-1, 4-0) LW: 3

Last week: Won v. USF (2-6, 2-2), 35-23

A week after demolishing Rutgers in Piscataway, the Cougars survived a Halloween scare from the Bulls. Freshman QB John O'Korn was virtually perfect for Houston, throwing for 263 yards on 22 of 27 passing and three touchdowns. Two turnovers from the Cougars allowed USF to get back into the game, but Houston held on to remain undefeated in conference play.

4. Cincinnati Bearcats (6-2, 3-1) LW: 5

Last week: Won @ Memphis (1-6, 0-4), 34-21

Ever since the upset loss to the Bulls, Cincinnati has feasted on mediocre competition for a three-game win streak. Last Wednesday before Halloween, the Bearcats dispatched an improving Memphis squad to become bowl-eligible. Although the schedule isn't very impressive thus far (the Illinois loss is looking worse and worse, and the Miami (OH) victory was closer than expected), Tommy Tuberville looks to have a better team than Rutgers, especially on defense.

5. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-3, 2-2) LW: 4

Last week: Won v. Temple (1-8, 0-5), 23-20

Rutgers was looking at a three game losing streak until sophomore WR Leonte Carroo found the endzone with 35 seconds to go against Temple. The dramatic victory hides the fact that while an improved team, the Owls just aren't very good. After its last bye coming up, the schedule gets tough again, with two straight games against conference championship contenders Cincinnati and UCF.

6. SMU Mustangs (3-4, 2-1) LW: 6

Last week: Inactive

The Mustangs were in a barnstormer against lowly Temple two weeks ago before its bye. SMU is without a doubt the toughest team to gauge in the American, because they have either lost to great teams (Texas A&M, Texas Tech), or beaten bad teams (Memphis, Temple). The Rutgers loss is hard to use as an example considering they were down for most of the game until falling short in overtime. The gauntlet of the schedule is soon approaching, and we'll find out soon if June Jones has anything left in terms of an upset.

7. Memphis Tigers (1-6, 0-4) LW: 7

Last week: Lost v. Cincinnati (6-2, 3-1), 21-34

Memphis isn't statistically impressive in any one area, but the Tigers have been in every game of their season, including league-leader UCF (except for an odd semi-blowout against Arkansas State). Memphis gets an easy draw this Saturday against FCS UT-Martin, and three out of the last four games are against opponents with a combined record of 4-20.

8. USF Bulls (2-6, 2-2) LW: 8

Last week: Lost v. Houston (7-1, 4-0), 23-35

USF and Temple are pretty much interchangeable, as both teams have played tough this season but otherwise have struggled in most games. The Bulls have an effective tiebreaker due to a conference win against a good Cincinnati team. Willie Taggart may have found a reliable option at QB with Mike White, who was an effective 26 of 41 for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

9. Temple Owls (1-8, 0-5) LW: 9

Last week: Lost @ Rutgers (5-3, 2-2), 20-23

After getting its first victory of the season, Temple has lost two straight close matchups with mid-tier American teams (SMU and Rutgers). Freshman QB P.J. Walker appears to be the program's signal-caller for the next four years, and Matt Rhule looks like a coach that the players like to play for. Next year could be a breakout season for the Owls.

10. Connecticut Huskies (0-7, 0-3) LW: 10

Last week: Inactive

The Huskies got absolutely pasted by UCF, as the Knights of Orlando scored on its first nine possessions. The situation doesn't get any better following the bye, as UConn has a home date with preseason favorite Louisville. Unless the Huskies get their act together, they could be looking at winless season with Temple and Memphis both improving since their first games.

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