Bulls remain atop AAC power rankings after Week 2
Two American Athletic Conference games were canceled as a result of Hurricane Irma last week, and it's unclear either will be rescheduled. Meanwhile, Houston, unable to play its opener because of Hurricane Harvey, kicked off 2017 with a win against a Power Five opponent.
Here’s how AAC teams stacked up this week, as voted upon by a league-wide panel of beat reporters.
1. USF (2-0): The threat of Hurricane Irma prompted USF to call off its trip to Connecticut for a Saturday game against the Huskies that had been pushed to a morning kickoff. But Friday's home game against Illinois will go on as scheduled, with Coach Charlie Strong announcing Tuesday that first responders and their families (up to four per party), as well as any state high school team, will receive free admission. -- Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times
2. Houston (1-0): By no means was it pretty, but the Cougars held on to beat Arizona, 19-16, for Major Applewhite's first win as coach last weekend. While the defense came up with a late interception to seal the game and allowed only a pair of second-half field goals, the offense was vanilla and put together only one impressive drive as QB Kyle Allen threw two interceptions and had a fumble in his debut. The Cougars play crosstown rival Rice this week in the annual Bayou Bucket -- the first game for both teams in the city since Tropical Storm Harvey. -- Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle
T-3. Memphis (1-0): The Tigers boarded a charter flight to Orlando last Thursday only to land and discover their game against UCF the following night had been cancelled. But by the time they were back in the air, returning to Memphis, Coach Mike Norvell already was watching film on the team’s next opponent: No. 25 UCLA. Memphis will host the Bruins on Saturday morning in the most anticipated game of its 2017 season, a matchup that will be televised nationally on ABC. -- Tom Schad, The Commercial Appeal
T-3. Navy (2-0, 1-1 AAC): The Midshipmen escaped Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium with a 23-21 victory against Tulane last weekend. It was a real defensive slugfest, with a safety proving decisive. Navy's defense is much-improved over last season, allowing only 20 points and 296 total yards through two games. The Midshipmen are not playing this week and return to action Sept. 23 against Cincinnati. -- Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group
5. UCF (1-0): The Knights postponed their conference opener against Memphis in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that impacted the entire state and forced the evacuation of more than six million residents. The storm has been responsible for at least 25 deaths throughout the Caribbean. UCF was scheduled to return to its nonconference schedule by hosting Georgia Tech on Saturday, but that game also was called off as the state continues to recover from the storm. -- Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
6. SMU (2-0): The Mustangs handled one of their crosstown rivals Saturday, beating North Texas 54-32 behind the performance of WR Courtland Sutton. The junior gained 163 yards and broke the conference record for single-game receiving touchdowns with four against the Mean Green. Next, SMU will face its other crosstown rival, TCU, in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. The Mustangs have not beaten the Horned Frogs since 2011. -- Adam Grosbard, Dallas Morning News
7. Tulsa (1-1): The Hurricane got back on track with a 66-42 home win against Louisiana on Saturday, relying on a 424-yard rushing performance that included a career-high 262 yards from D'Angelo Brewer. QB Chad President also established himself as Tulsa's starter, accounting for three TDs. In a shootout that featured the most points and yards (667) produced by Philip Montgomery's offense, the defense continued to struggle, allowing 596 yards. Tulsa ranks last nationally in total defense (618 ypg) and next visits a dangerous Toledo team that had one of the best offenses in college football in 2016. -- Kelly Hines, Tulsa World
8. Temple (1-1): The Owls squandered a 13-point lead and needed a career-best 49-yard field goal from Aaron Boumheri to beat Division I-AA Vilanova, 16-13. Temple's Logan Marchi hasn't thrown an interception, but the running game is averaging only 2.6 yards per carry. The Owls now host winless Massachusetts on Friday before their toughest two-game stretch -- at USF and at home against Houston -- to end a difficult month of September. -- Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer
9. Cincinnati (1-1): Bearcats RB Mike Boone said UC hoped to “shock the world” at No. 8 Michigan. The Bearcats were within three late in the third quarter, but a late collapse resulted in a 36-14 loss. Boone rushed 12 times for 44 yards and a TD. QB Hayden Moore was only 15-for-40 for 132 yards, with one TD and two pick-six interceptions. Up next is neighboring rival Miami (Ohio), which the Bearcats have defeated 11 consecutive times. -- Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer
10. Tulane (1-1, 0-1 AAC): For only the second time in his coaching career, Willie Fritz lost a game when his team was plus-two or better in turnover margin. Both have come against Navy. Despite losing QB Jonathan Banks to an injury in the second quarter, the Green Wave almost ended the Midshipmen's 14-game regular-season home winning streak, holding them to 326 yards but picking up only 262 of its own in a 23-21 loss. Next up is a trip to No. 2 Oklahoma. Tulane, 0-12 all-time against second-ranked teams, is a 34-point underdog against Baker Mayfield and Co. -- Guerry Smith, The New Orleans Advocate
11. Connecticut (1-0): With their home game against USF canceled, the Huskies practiced for two hours on campus Saturday. Aside from having no game film to review nor recent corrections to make, UConn fell back into its typical game-week pattern with a light workout Sunday. The Huskies opened Aug. 31 with a victory against Holy Cross and won't have another home game until Oct. 6 (vs. Memphis). UConn plays Saturday at Virginia, followed by a bye and a game Sept. 30 at SMU. -- Mike Anthony, The Hartford Courant
12. East Carolina (0-2): The Pirates reached a new low when they trailed West Virginia 49-3 at halftime in Saturday’s eventual 56-20 loss in Morgantown. Coupled with ECU's opening-night loss to James Madison, the Pirates are desperate for change and Coach Scottie Montgomery made one Sunday, removing defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson and replacing him with defensive line coach Robert Prunty. Things won't get easier for ECU, which already has been outscored 90-34 in two games, as the Pirates take on No. 16 Virginia Tech next. -- Nathan Summers, The Daily Reflector