Tuesday, October 23, 2018
USF Bulls

AAC power rankings, Week 7

Six weeks into the season, UCF, USF and Cincinnati are a combined 16-0 and all ranked.

UCF climbed into the top 10 (No. 10) of the latest AP poll, while USF (No. 23) and Cincinnati (25th) made their season debuts. The AAC is the only league in the nation with three unbeaten teams.

Here is how the league stacks up in voting by beat reporters from every conference school:

1. UCF
Previous ranking: 1 | Points: 143
Record: 5-0 (2-0 AAC)
Last week: defeated SMU, 48-20
This week: at Memphis
Trajectory: Steady. TB Adrian Killins amassed more than 100 rushing yards in a game for the first time since Nov. 4, 2017, after rushing for 113 yards against SMU. QB McKenzie Milton extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass to 19 after throwing two against the Mustangs.
Did you know? UCF is converting third downs at a rate of 59 percent, which leads all AAC teams.
— Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

2. USF
Previous ranking: 2 | Points: 130
Record: 5-0 (1-0)
Last week: defeated UMass, 58-42
This week: at Tulsa (Friday)
Trajectory: Steady. The No. 23 Bulls, who have collected precious few style points during their unbeaten start, embark on a stretch of seven conference games in as many weeks. The only recent sign of consistency has come from TB Jordan Cronkrite, who ran for an AAC single-game record 302 yards at UMass.
Did you know? USF is 33-6 over its last 39 games, tied with Ohio State and Wisconsin for the nation's fourth-best record in that span.
— Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

3. Houston
Previous ranking: 3 | Points: 119
Record: 4-1 (1-0)
Last week: defeated Tulsa, 41-26
This week: at East Carolina
Trajectory: Steady. Houston, which scored 24 unanswered points to beat Tulsa, limited the Golden Hurricane to 32 total yards on its final five possessions. The Cougars are in sole possession of first place in the West Division heading into back-to-back road games against East Carolina and Navy.
Did you know? D'Eriq King and West Virginia's Will Grier are the only quarterbacks with at least three passing TDs in every game this season.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

4. Cincinnati
Previous ranking: 4 | Points: 114
Record: 6-0 (2-0)
Last week: defeated Tulane, 37-21
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Steady. The Bearcats became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2015 with the win against Tulane. RB Michael Warren II got UC going with an 81-yard TD run, the second-longest rushing TD ever by a Bearcats player.
Did you know? UC has achieved its first 6-0 start since 2009. The Bearcats now have six 6-0 starts (1932, '51, '54, 2007, '09, '18).
— Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer

5. Temple
Previous ranking: 7 | Points: 90
Record: 3-3 (2-0)
Last week: defeated East Carolina, 49-6
This week: at Navy
Trajectory: Surging. Redshirt sophomore QB Anthony Russo, making his fourth straight start, finished 21-for-25 for 254 yards, four TDs and one interception against ECU. Isaiah Wright scored on a 59-yard punt return, the third return score of his career. Temple has scored a non-offensive TD in all six games.
Did you know? According to Temple, the Owls' 43-point win against ECU was their largest margin of victory ever over a Division I-A team.
— Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

6. Memphis
Previous ranking: 9 | Points: 72
Record: 4-2 (1-2)
Last week: defeated UConn, 55-14
This week: vs. UCF
Trajectory: Steady. Memphis righted the ship against UConn thanks to its two-headed running back monster of Darrell Henderson (174 yards, three TDs) and Patrick Taylor (161 yards, three TDs). The true test if Memphis is back on its feet comes Saturday against unbeaten UCF.
Did you know? Memphis has won 12 consecutive regular season home games but has lost its last 11 meetings to UCF.
— Evan Barnes, The Commercial Appeal

7. Tulane
Previous ranking: 5 | Points: 69
Record: 2-4 (1-1)
Last week: lost to Cincinnati, 37-21
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Skidding. There's no shame in losing to Cincinnati, but as in its other three losses, Tulane simply did not play well. The Green Wave committed 12 penalties for 90 yards, scored zero points off three Bearcats turnovers and has a quarterback quandary. LSU transfer Justin McMillan replaced Jonathan Banks and struggled.
Did you know? The combined record of Tulane's first six opponents is 27-8. The combined record of the next six opponents is 16-15.
— Guerry Smith, The New Orleans Advocate

8. Navy
Previous ranking: 6 | Points: 67
Record: 2-3 (1-1)
Last week: lost to Air Force, 35-7
This week: vs. Temple
Trajectory: Skidding. Navy is in full-blown crisis mode in the wake of the lopsided loss in the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy series. The Midshipmen have serious issues on offense, and it may be time to move Malcolm Perry back to slotback. Navy has gotten away from running the triple-option offense that has defined the program since 2002.
Did you know? Temple (20-6) and Navy (19-7) rank second and third, respectively, for best records in the AAC since 2015. USF ranks first (20-5).
— Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

9. SMU
Previous ranking: 8 | Points: 62
Record: 2-4 (1-1)
Last week: lost to No. 12 UCF, 48-20
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Skidding. After a third loss to a top-25 opponent, the Mustangs get a break before a three-game stretch against Tulane, Cincinnati and Houston. In his third season, Ben Hicks set the SMU career passing yardage record with 7,205, breaking the old record (7,179) set by Chuck Hixson from 1968-70.
Did you know? James Proche has a TD catch in four straight games, the fifth-longest streak in school history.
— Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle

10. East Carolina
Previous ranking: 10 | Points: 32
Record: 2-3 (0-2)
Last week: lost to Temple, 49-6
This week: vs. Houston
Trajectory: Skidding. The Pirates took a step back Saturday, going to Philadelphia as an 11-point underdog but getting overwhelmed in a 43-point loss to Temple. Up next is the daunting task of facing Houston, UCF and Memphis in consecutive games.
Did you know? The Temple loss marked the first time ECU has failed to score a TD in an AAC game.
— Ronnie Woodward, Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector

11. Tulsa
Previous ranking: 11 | Points: 28
Record: 1-4 (0-2)
Last week: lost to Houston, 41-26
This week: vs. USF (Friday)
Trajectory: Steady. The Hurricane led by nine early in the fourth quarter at Houston before surrendering 24 unanswered points. Despite a fourth consecutive defeat, there is some renewed optimism given the performance of QB Seth Boomer, who threw for 227 yards in his collegiate debut.
Did you know? LB Cooper Edmiston has three interceptions in the last two games.
— Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

12. Connecticut
Previous ranking: 12 | Points: 12
Record: 1-5 (0-3)
Last week: lost at Memphis, 55-14
This week: Bye
Trajectory: Skidding. Another week, another blowout loss. UConn enters its off week with the nation's worst defense (658.2 ypg) and an offense that has seemed to regress. Huskies coach Randy Edsall says this is part of the process.
Did you know? UConn has lost each of its five games against D-I opponents by at least 30 points.
— Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant

Houston star Ed Oliver questionable for USF game

Houston star Ed Oliver questionable for USF game

For those who scoff at any team-of-destiny talk surrounding the No. 21 Bulls, we present this little news nugget that surfaced Monday.USF might — might — catch Houston this weekend without its top defensive player.Joseph Duarte ...
Published: 10/22/18
USF journal: Jordan Cronkrite makes another run into the record book

USF journal: Jordan Cronkrite makes another run into the record book

TAMPA — It was just a 6-yard run in a game that was already all but over; USF was running out the clock in its 38-30 victory against Connecticut on Saturday when the carry pushed RB Jordan Cronkrite over the 100-yard rushing mark.But for Cronkr...
Published: 10/20/18
Updated: 10/21/18
No. 21 USF escapes with 38-30 win over UConn

No. 21 USF escapes with 38-30 win over UConn

TAMPA — USF entered Saturday's homecoming contest against Connecticut needing not so much a statement game as a satisfying one, just a feel-good effort following a sequence of close, concerning ones.Problem is, these Bulls never can follow a se...
Published: 10/20/18
Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-UConn

Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-UConn

The offensive procrastination must end for USF — now. The Bulls have totaled 26 first-quarter points in their past five games, lowlighted by a scoreless opening period Saturday. That won't cut it against the Houstons and Temples (or even Tulane...
Published: 10/20/18
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USF’s messy, at times ugly, but still perfect

TAMPA — They're not Alabama. Oh, are they not Alabama.They might not even be UCF.The USF Bulls are the least-respected unbeaten team in Division I-A, and they're also second banana in the AAC to those perfect scoundrels 80 miles down I-4.And th...
Published: 10/20/18
Nico Sawtelle joins USF injury list

Nico Sawtelle joins USF injury list

The Bulls, who haven't had their full complement of tailbacks all season, entered Saturday's game down a tackler also.MLB Nico Sawtelle, nursing an upper-body injury, was not suited up for the Bulls' homecoming game Saturday against Connecticut. The ...
Published: 10/20/18
USF kicker Coby Weiss  emerges as clutch ‘cast’ mate

USF kicker Coby Weiss emerges as clutch ‘cast’ mate

TAMPA — There's no skirting the laws of physics and gravity. All kickers, regardless of the amount of horsepower harnessed in their respective quads and calves, have a ceiling.For most, it's a sobering reality. For USF walk-on Coby Weiss, ...
Published: 10/19/18
USF hoops journal: Women’s rookies shining, Yetna on mend for men

USF hoops journal: Women’s rookies shining, Yetna on mend for men

Heralded Bulls 6-foot-8 sophomore Alexis Yetna, whose collegiate debut already has been delayed one year by the NCAA, potentially faces another brief postponement.Second-year men's coach Brian Gregory said Yetna, who played on France's under-20 natio...
Published: 10/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Matt Baker on USF, UCF, Florida, Florida State

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Matt Baker on USF, UCF, Florida, Florida State

Times college football beat reporter Matt Baker joins Rick Stroud to discuss whether USF and UCF can make it to their matchup in November undefeated.Plus, they talk about how the Gators are preparing for Georgia next week. And, what can we expec...
Published: 10/18/18
Houston slips past USF in AAC power rankings

Houston slips past USF in AAC power rankings

While the American Athletic Conference's East Division remains a three-team race, Houston is in the driver's seat as the only remaining unbeaten team in the West.Houston, which has won its first two league games by an average of 18.5 points, moved to...
Published: 10/18/18