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AAC Power Rankings: Week 6

The bottom half of the American continues to really stink up the conference.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The disparity in talent and strength between the top half and the bottom half of the American is now at a fever pitch. Louisville, UCF, and Rutgers all have a chance to crack the top 25 this year, while Temple, USF, and UConn could potentially put up a big donut in the win column for 2013. Conference play starts this week for many teams, so we should get a better idea by 10 PM Saturday. On to the rankings:

1. Louisville Cardinals (4-0) LW: 1

Last week: Inactive

The Cardinals have two bye weeks before hosting Rutgers on Thursday night next week. And by two bye weeks, I mean that Louisville gets to travel to Philadelphia to take on a young Temple team at the Linc. Teddy Bridgewater has been on cruise control since the first game of the season, so don't expect him to get tested very much against the Owls. As a matter of fact, Charlie Strong might even pull Bridgewater early to rest him as much as possible during the five-day turnaround.

2. UCF Knights (3-1) LW: 2

Last week: Lost v. South Carolina (3-1) 25-28

The Knights had a chance to take over the number one spot on these rankings, but came up just short against the Gamecocks. Blake Bortles was effective once again, this time against an All-SEC defense. Bortles threw for 358 yards on 25 of 36 passing, and two TDs. Two INTs marred an otherwise great game, but the UCF QB received little help from the running game as Storm Johnson was limited to 64 yards rushing. Both teams were sloppy as they accounted for eight total turnovers in the game.

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

Last week: Inactive

The bye couldn't have come at a more opportune time with all of the injuries plaguing Kyle Flood & Co. Once again, the Arkansas game is the site of RU losing a key player, this time leading rusher Paul James. A lower-leg injury will sideline James for at least the next two games, forcing Huggins to live up to his five-star billing.

4. Cincinnati Bearcats (3-1) LW: 4

Last week: Inactive

Cincinnati's next five opponents are a combined 2-17 this season, so the Bearcats better get used to the number four spot.

5. Houston Cougars (4-0, 1-0) LW: 5

Last week: Won v. UTSA (2-3) 59-28

I could rag on the Cougars for beating up on overmatched competition, but the rest of the American has failed to do even that, so kudos to Houston for beating who they should beat. UTSA is a fairly new FBS school thrust into C-USA due to realignment, so they aren't the best test for any team. Conference play should tell us more about Houston.

6. SMU Mustangs (1-3) LW: 6

Last week: Lost @ TCU (2-2) 17-48

Even at 1-3, June Jones' squad is legitimately the sixth best team in the American. That record is deceiving, as SMU has by far played the toughest out-of-conference schedule with Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and TCU all in the month of September. That being said, none of the games were especially close, so it's possible SMU isn't very strong at all. Like Houston, conference play will tell us a lot about the Mustangs.

7. Memphis Tigers (1-2) LW: 7

Last week: Inactive

Memphis apparently doesn't need bye weeks for later in the season considering the Tigers used two in the month of September. Not much to say about the Tigers, both because of the bye week and, well, it's Memphis.

8. Temple Owls (0-4, 0-1) LW: 9

Last week: Lost @ Idaho (1-4) 24-26

Yes, in the conference known as the American, it is possible to ascend the rankings when you lose to Idaho. How? You'll see when you get to number nine and ten. It's hard to give credit to a team that lost to another previously winless team, but I'll try: Traveling to the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho cannot be easy. Idaho did give MAC-favorite Northern Illinois a scare, limiting Jordan Lynch to 152 passing yards. Finally...there is no finally. That's all I could come up with. The American is dreadful.

9. USF Bulls (0-4) LW: 10

Last week: Lost v. Miami (4-0) 21-49

I don't really believe in ties in the rankings, but it's almost necessary for the Bulls and the Huskies. USF never really had a chance against Miami, and now get to host a decent Cincinnati team before playing UConn in a debacle of a matchup. I gave the Bulls the tie-break for ninth due to their playing Michigan State and Miami, two top 25 caliber teams.

10. Connecticut Huskies (0-4) LW: 8

Last week: Lost @ Buffalo (2-2) 12-41

The dumpster fire is raging in Storrs. Paul Pasqualoni is gone, and the Huskies are on life support. Buffalo is a meager 106th in the nation in points allowed at 36.3 per game, yet UConn couldn't get to half that. Buffalo needed five - five! - overtimes to get past Stony Brook, and are 111th in the nation in pass defense with 286 yards allowed per game. Chandler Whitmer went 10 of 24 for 182 yards and 2 INTs against that same defense. The good news? UConn gets a bye week to prepare for a thrilling matchup with the USF Bulls on October 12. Set your DVRs people.