AAC Power Rankings: Week 3

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Little movement in the rankings this week.

Great week for the American Athletic Conference for week two! What makes a great week for the AAC? No FCS upsets. Although SMU did its best (worst?) to uphold the dubious honor, the Mustangs were able to pull out the win. Let's take a look at the rankings entering week three:

1. Louisville Cardinals (2-0) - LW: 1 -

Last week: Won v. Eastern Kentucky (1-1), 44-7

It was a laugher in Louisville as Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals continue to roll over the competition. Bridgewater was virtually perfect once again, with his line at 23 of 32, 397 yards, and 4 TDs. Teddy was feeling so high on himself that he even tried waving the punt team off the field late in the first half. Head coach Charlie Strong did not appreciate this in the least. Nothing much to take away against a cupcake team, but the Cardinals did dominate the Colonels, so no movement at the top spot of the rankings.

2. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-1) - LW: 3 -

Last week: Won v. Norfolk State (0-2), 38-0

No, the Spartans are not that good. But with Cincinnati losing big to a possibly decent Illini team, the Scarlet Knights move up based on the performance against Fresno State. The Bulldogs are a better team than Illinois, and RU almost escaped Fresno with a big win on the road. The passing game left a lot to be desired against Norfolk State, as Gary Nova threw for a paltry 12 of 21 for 150 yards, with a TD and a matching INT. How can the passing game go for almost 350 yards against a possible BCS team and then less than half against a cupcake? The biggest reason is most likely to keep a tight lid on the playbook. The running game was a different story, as both Paul James and Savon Huggins completely dominated the Spartans. The defense also got the confidence boost they needed after getting gashed by Derek Carr in the opener.

3. UCF Knights (2-0) - LW: 4 -

Last week: Won v. FIU (0-2), 38-0

The Knights from Orlando continue to dominate easy competition. UCF's opponents' combined record in 2012 was 4-20, so Blake Bortles hasn't exactly been challenged by a good defense. That changes this Saturday when the Knights travel north to State College to take on Penn State. A loss against he Nittany Lions won't automatically send UCF lower in the rankings as long as they remain competitive with Bill O'Brien's squad.

4. Cincinnati Bearcats (1-1) - LW: 2 -

Last week: Lost @ Illinois (2-0), 17-45

Best wishes for a full recovery to Munchie Legaux. The Bearcats drop the farthest this week after getting pasted by the Illini, giving up 520 yards total yards. The defense was supposed to be a strong point for Tommy Tuberville, but the secondary couldn't make any tackles and were leaving receivers wide open. With Legaux out for the foreseeable future, the depth at QB takes a huge hit with Brendan Kay the only player with substantial experience. Luckily, the Bearcats have NW State for a tune-up.

5. Houston Cougars (2-0, 1-0) - LW: 5 -

Last week: Won @ Temple (0-2), 22-13

Houston had an opportunity to climb these rankings with Cincinnati losing big at Illinois, but squeaking by a bad Temple team keeps them in the number five spot. Starting QB David Piland could be sidelined for the next game after suffering a concussion against the Owls, but true freshman John O'Korn flashed his talent, throwing for 233 yards on 23 of 31 passing. For a supposedly strong passing game, throwing for zero touchdowns against a (supposedly) bottom-dwelling AAC team combined with losing Charles Sims could mean disaster for the offense. Good thing they have a decent kicker (Richie Leone's five field goals won the game).

6. SMU Mustangs (1-1) - LW: 6 -

Last week: Won v. Montana State (1-1), 31-30

A nail-biter against Montana State is not the way to ascend the rankings. Fortunate for the Mustangs, the latter half of the conference after SMU all lost, so the Mustangs remain at number six. To be fair, Montana State is a top-caliber team in FCS, going 11-2 in 2012. However, squeaking by against Montana State will not increase anyone's confidence about SMU.

7. Temple Owls (0-2, 0-1) - LW: 7 -

Last week: Lost v. Houston (2-0, 1-0), 13-22

Temple put forth a formidable effort in the first American Athletic Conference game against Houston, but couldn't close the deal. First-year head coach Matt Rhule needs to find a viable option at quarterback considering Connor Reilly's pedestrian numbers - 20 of 38 for 200 yards and 2 INTs. Furthermore, the Owls gave up over 200 yards to a Houston team that lost Charles Sims to the Mountaineers. Rhule still has plenty of work to do if he expects the Owls to return to prominence (which just means going bowling).

8. Memphis Tigers (0-1) - LW: 8 -

Last week: Lost v. Duke (2-0), 14-28

The Tigers are who we thought they were, and that's a bad team. The offense is weak, only mustering 148 yards passing and 237 yards overall. Memphis has two winnable games next up on the schedule, so this is a chance to raise, or even establish, expectations for the season.

9. Connecticut Huskies (0-1) - LW: 9 -

Last week: inactive

The Huskies can make a big leap up the board with a win over an improved Maryland team. Well, at least as improved as can be after blowing it against Towson. Nothing would please Husky fans more than sending Randy Edsall home with a loss.

10. USF Bulls (0-2) - LW: 10 -

Last week: Lost @ Michigan State (2-0), 6-21

The Bulls had a somewhat better showing against the Spartans, at least as better can get when you lose to an FCS team. After the first week, the bar is set pretty low for USF and Coach Willie Taggart. QB is not the only issue for the Bulls, as the running game needs to improve as well.

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