Talk about a nightmare season for USF fans. The Bulls are in a downward spiral towards oblivion, while the rivals up I-4 are potentially having their best season in the history of the program. Meanwhile, Louisville overcame a slow start against Kentucky, and Cincinnati pasted a cupcake FCS team. How did the rest of the American fare? Let's dive into the rankings:
1. Louisville Cardinals (3-0) - LW: 1 -
Last week: Won v. Kentucky (1-2), 27-13
Teddy Bridgewater looked more human than usual last Saturday, as the dark horse Heisman candidate complete less than 60% of his passes for only 250 yards. The running game did more than it's share, however, and the Cardinals were able to overcome a fairly green Kentucky Wildcats team. Up next is another walkthrough, as one of the worst FIU teams I can remember makes the trip to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
2. UCF Knights (3-0) - LW: 3 -
Last week: Won @ Penn State (2-1), 34-31
Someone forgot to tell George O'Leary that American Athletic Conference teams are supposed to be bad. UCF didn't get the memo and shocked the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. Well everyone was shocked except UCF fans I guess. I'm sure we'll now be hearing more of Blake Bortles, especially after throwing for 3 TDs. That might have been annoying in any other season, but if this means there's less attention on Bridgewater now, I'll gladly make the trade. The Knights of Orlando put up 507 total yards on a B1G team, and that does deserve a lot of kudos. The respect tour continues next week, as Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks make the trek down to Disney-country. If O'Leary can pull out a win there, then expect a top-20 ranking at least.
3. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-1) - LW: 2 -
Last week: Won v. Eastern Michigan (1-2), 28-10
Ruh roh. Could the Scarlet Knights be without their starting QB against Arkansas? It's hard to say anything substantial after losing Gary Nova to a head injury against Eastern Michigan, and then Chas Dodd throwing up a 4-for-9, 45 yard egg against the Eagles. Beating the Razorbacks will keep the Knights firmly in the top 3 of these rankings, but even with a loss, Rutgers shouldn't fall too far. The problem isn't ranking the top teams, but the bottom teams, as the AAC is starting to have a penchant for losing to FCS teams.
4. Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1) - LW: 4 -
Last week: Won v. Northwestern State (2-1), 66-9
The Bearcats absolutely pasted the Demons, but that doesn't really mean anything. Northwestern State went 4-7 in 2012, so it's rather hard to take anything away from this game. Brendon Kay did put on quite a show, finishing 12-for-14 for 277 yards and 4 TDs. For the foreseeable future, the Bearcats will be on cruise control until the last game of the season against Louisville.
5. Houston Cougars (2-0, 1-0) - LW: 5 -
Last week: inactive
Cougars had a bye last week, and take on Rice this Saturday at 3pm in a neutral-site game. Rice beat Charlie Weis' Kansas Jawhawks for the second year in a row (LOL).
6. SMU Mustangs (1-1) - LW: 6 -
Last week: inactive
The Texas schools in the AAC decided to take the bye together apparently, but the Mustangs probably needed it with a matchup against JFF and Texas A&M looming. No matter how badly SMU loses, they will not fall in the rankings because of the dredge currently festering at the bottom.
7. Memphis Tigers (0-2) - LW: 8 -
Last week: Lost @ Middle Tennessee State (2-1), 15-17
How can a team rise a spot by losing to a C-USA team? The Tigers can thank Temple for losing to Fordham for the one spot jump. Mid-Tennessee State is by no means a great team, but the Blue Raiders are probably better than Memphis. With a Sun Belt foe in Arkansas State looming at home, it'll be the Tigers best chance for a win for awhile. Four straight American conference games come next, including UCF and Cincinnati.
8. Connecticut Huskies (0-2) - LW: 9 -
Last week: Lost v. Maryland (3-0), 32-21
The Huskies also benefit from Temple's loss to an FCS club, even though they couldn't pull out the victory against the Fighting Edsalls. Maryland QB CJ Brown had a great performance, throwing for 277 yards and gaining 122 on the ground. UConn QB Chandler Whitmer did throw for a career high 349 yards and a TD, but his stat line included two picks. UConn's first win of the season may have to wait for another week, as #15 Michigan makes the trip to Rentschler Field. Although with Michigan barely getting by Akron, you never know.
9. Temple Owls (0-3, 0-1) - LW: 7 -
Last week: Lost v. Fordham (3-0), 30-29
Another one bites the dust. Temple becomes the third American conference team to lose an FCS school, as Fordham held off a late rally by Temple at Lincoln Financial Field. This week's game @ Idaho is probably the best chance for a victory all year until the season-ending matchup against Memphis. Temple could make a case for #10, but only giving up 28 points to Notre Dame is better than losing 28-10 to FAU.
10. USF Bulls (0-3) - LW: 10 -
Last week: Lost v. FAU (1-2), 28-10
It's starting to get out of hand in Tampa. Willie Taggart is a good coach, but theoretically he should have more talent on hand at USF than he did at WKU. Honestly, numbers 7-10 of these rankings are not too far apart, so the Bulls have a chance for 3-4 wins depending on upsets. But boy is it not looking good for USF and the American.
Agree with the rankings? Disagree? Leave a comment below!