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AAC Power Rankings: Week 12

UCF separates itself from the pack.

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 college football season is shaping up to be a cinderella year. Fresno State is #14 in the BCS standings and has games against New Mexico, San Jose State, and Colorado. UCF is powering through the American and has a one game lead on the competition. It's actually a nice way to say goodbye to the postseason structure known as the Bowl Championship Series. On to the rankings:

1. UCF Knights (7-1, 4-0) LW: 1

Last week: Won v. Houston (7-2, 4-1), 19-14

All roads go through Orlando. The University of Central Florida is sitting pretty at 4-0 with games against Temple, Rutgers, USF, and SMU left to play - not exactly murderers' row. In an off game for quarterback Blake Bortles, the Knights' running game picked up the slack with 188 yards rushing, including 127 yards by Storm Johnson. Nothing is certain however. The old Big East always had a couple surprises in store, and something tells me the American is no different.

2. Louisville Cardinals (8-1, 4-1) LW: 2

Last week: Won @ UConn (0-8, 0-4), 31-10

Louisville needs some help if they want to go to their second straight BCS bowl. They need UCF to lose one game, win out, and hope that they finish above the Knights of Orlando in the BCS standings. Winning out is not a given with tough matchups against Houston and Cincinnati remaining.

3. Houston Cougars (7-2, 4-1) LW: 3

Last week: Lost @ UCF (7-2, 4-1), 14-19

True freshman quarterback John O'Korn had a chance to shake up the American race on Saturday, but he missed the opportunity when the Cougars couldn't convert on fourth down with 14 seconds left. Houston is still a team that can surprise late in the season, especially with the history of mediocrity in this league.

4. Cincinnati Bearcats (7-2, 4-1) LW: 4

Last week: Won v. SMU (3-5, 2-2), 28-25

Cincinnati rounds out the possibilities for the inaugural and final BCS bid that will be awarded to the conference champions. With only one conference loss, the Bearcats are a dark horse team to win it all. Unfortunately, Cincinnati doesn't get to play UCF, which means even if they win out, the Knights can still be on top after the regular season.

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

Last week: Inactive

The conference title is a serious long shot for the Scarlet Knights, but a win against a tough Bearcats team could do wonders for a program on the edge of turmoil. A string of de-commitments and an uncharacteristically poor defense have made the 2013 season one to forget, but winning can turn things around quickly.

6. SMU Mustangs (3-5, 2-2) LW: 6

Last week: Lost @ Cincinnati (7-2, 4-1), 25-28

After four conference games, the Mustangs have two close wins against struggling Memphis and Temple, and two close losses against Rutgers and Cincinnati. That's pretty accurate relative to preseason rankings. Garrett Gilbert has had two straight interception free games, and is actually having a great year, already throwing for more than 3000 yards with 17 touchdowns to boot.

7. Memphis Tigers (2-6, 0-4) LW: 7

Last week: Won v. UT-Martin (6-4), 21-6

Memphis finally had an overmatched opponent, and the Tigers took advantage with a win. Brandon Hayes led the way with 111 rushing yards on 27 carries, including several fourth-quarter runs for first downs, reversing the trend of coming up short late in games. Memphis has a chance to finish 3-1 for the remaining four games for a decent 5-7 record, something that should make coach Justin Fuente very happy.

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

Last week: Inactive

After putting up a good fight against Houston, the Bulls have a very winnable matchup against Memphis this Saturday. QB Mike White should get the start for the remainder of the season, as Steven Bench and Bobby Eveld are no longer viable options. With a win, USF can get to three conference wins - an unlikely thought considering this team was blown out by FCS McNeese State earlier this season.

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

Last week: Inactive

Temple actually has some decent offensive rankings through nine games, namely 72nd in pass yards and 84th in rush yards. The key has been close games, as the Owls lost to Fordham by one and Idaho by two, not to mention leading Rutgers late two weeks ago before a go-ahead touchdown late by the Scarlet Knights. The chance to get a conference win is running out, with Connecticut the best possibility on Nov. 23.

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

Last week: Lost v. Louisville (8-1, 4-1), 31-10

It's definitely a season to forget for Connecticut, as the Huskies have a realistic chance to go winless for 2013. QB Tim Boyle does not seem like the future, as the freshman threw another three picks with no touchdowns. He finished with 113 yards on 14 of 29 passing.